Napa Valley’s Silverado Vineyards Hires New Winemaker After Foley Acquisition

Alison Crary Rodriguez has been named winemaker for Silverado Vineyards by Foley Family Wines, which acquired the Napa Valley winery earlier this summer to expand its holdings on the North Shore.

Rodriguez will be based in Yountville and oversee all winemaking activities for Silverado and its vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Coombsville, Yountville and Napa appellations, company officials said.

“Alison’s fulfilling career as a winemaker is rooted in respect for different terroirs and sustainable agriculture,” Courtney Foley, second-generation owner at Foley Family Wines, said in a statement. “Alison and her focus on environmental responsibility are an important part of the next chapter in winemaking and Foley family wines.”

Rodriguez’s wine experience includes time at Northern California wineries like Acacia, Sterling, Beringer and most recently The Hess Collection. She graduated from Duke University and the famous German school of winemaking and viticulture Fachhochschule Wiesbaden – Geisenheim.

Silverado was founded in 1981 by the late Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, and her husband, the late Ron Miller. Rodriguez is the third winemaker in Silverado history.

Heidi Peterson Barrett joins Napa Valley winery

Heidi Peterson Barrett has joined Elizabeth Spencer Winery in Rutherford as a consulting winemaker. Barrett will work closely with Sarah Vandendriessche, who joined the winery in 2010 as a winemaker.

Barrett crafted some of Napa Valley’s cult classic wines, as she was production manager at Screaming Eagle from 1992 to 2006 for the luxury label. She is also known for her elegant Cabernet Sauvignons from her time in Dalla Valle in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“I am delighted to join this dynamic team of talented and enthusiastic wine professionals. I hope to build on what came before and elevate these wines to their ultimate potential,” Barrett said in a statement. “I am honored to join the team.”

Elizabeth Spencer Winery became part of the Boisset Winery Collection in 2021 with a portfolio of small-production wines made from grapes sourced from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The Court of Master Sommeliers awards diplomas to 2 local professionals

The Court of Master Sommeliers of the Americas announced that 10 wine professionals, including two local residents, have passed the organizations exam and been awarded the title of Master Sommelier.

The organization said 45 people from 16 states and three countries attempted the exam. New members include Erik Elliott, Heitz Cellar’s estate manager in Napa Valley; and Scott Turnbull, a consultant with Winebow, a wine importer, in Calistoga.

The Master Sommelier degree is the highest honor a wine professional can achieve in the beverage service industry.

The North Bay Business Journal contributed to this report. Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit articles to [email protected]

Elisha A. Tilghman