Technical sheet


Rutherford and Clarksburg


Our Rutherford Merlot block is an old vine block planted back in 1985. It is cordon trained with no wire. The vines produce a consistent 5 tons per acre and are the base of our California Merlot. Our Clarksburg Merlot is a newer planting (2001) and is cordon trained with a VSP lyre system. It produces about 7-8 tons per acre and yields fruit forward wine with soft and silky tannins.


 The grapes are sourced within two appellations. The base is from Rutherford in the Napa Valley well known for producing quality Cabernet and Merlot. To soften the massive tannins from Rutherford, we source Merlot from the cool inland climate of the Clarksburg delta which is where much of the soft cherry fruit comes from. The wine is aged in 1, 2 and 3 year old Saury French oak barrels for a period of 14 months.

Alcohol: 13.0% – refreshingly balanced in today’s world of high-alcohol wines.

                         TA: 0.61                       pH: 3.77                        RS: 0.13%


This dark plum colored Merlot displays ripe black cherry fruit and subtle French oak and vanilla notes in its generous aromas. The palate shows its varietal correctness with soft plummy flavors followed by cassis and pomegranate. The wine has grippy tannins that are balanced with the acidity from its cool climate selection. The wine finishes with balanced acidity and cherry fruit flavors with medium bodied tannins and a supple, silky finish.


An unconventional childhood – living in mining towns on four continents – fostered Laely’s love of travel, adventure, and a desire to explore and to experience the cultures, foods, and wines of the world.  Wanderlust and curiosity have led her on many paths, including studying winemaking in Bordeaux, opening a restaurant and importing wine in Denmark, and pursuing Master of Wine studies. 

With this love of wine and an entrepreneurial spirit, she started Heron Wines in 1994 with little more than a credit card, a "business plan" sketched out on a napkin, and an idea to make great and affordable wine.  When she started Heron Wines, it was unusual for an American woman to be making her own wine in France. Now Heron Wines is making wine in three countries. From the beginning, the goal has been simple: for each wine, find the best vineyards and the best regions wherever in the world they may be. 

Even today, Laely continues her global exploration to make distinctive and delicious wines from the best places on earth.