MEET OUR PEOPLE
Heritage Oak Winery / Owner & Winemaker
WHERE WERE YOU BORN & RAISED?
HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BEEN FARMING WINEGRAPES?
My family has been farming for 55 years; myself for 40.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF WINE AND HOW DID YOU KNOW WANTED TO BE A WINEMAKER?
I quit teaching school and started farming when I was thirty years old. I had a wife and two small children and was in desperate need of alcohol, so I decided to learn how to make wine.
HOW HAS THE LODI WINE REGION CHANGED OVER THE YEARS OR SINCE YOU’VE BEEN HERE?
When I first arrived, Lodi was mostly growing Tokay grapes for the fresh market. When the demand for that disappeared, starting around 1985, E&J Gallo and Robert Mondavi were eagerly waiting to sign contracts with the area’s farmers. Within just a few years, Lodi became a major supplier of grapes for the wine industry.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU’D LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT LODI?
Here in Lodi, we can grow just about any variety to maturity. Because of this, Lodi offers a greater diversity of wine varietals and styles than any region in the state.
WHAT MAKES A "GREAT" WINE?
A great wine stimulates all the senses. It must be pleasing to look at and have an appealing fragrance. On the palate, it needs to have fruit, texture, weight, acidity, and astringency. If any of these components is missing, its absence stands out and diminishes the entire experience.
WHAT WOULD PEOPLE BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I’m fascinated by the piano music of Franz Joseph Haydn.
FORD, CHEVY OR DODGE?
Pictured: Tom Hoffman and dog, Cusco