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Heitz Joseph

The one out Illinois Joseph "Joe" Heitz (1919-2000) was born alongside Robert Mondavi (1913-2008) as one of the pioneers of the terroir concept in California, In his youth he worked as a helper at a winery and discovered his enthusiasm for viticulture. After studying enology at the University of California he was at different wineries like for example Beaulieu Vineyard active. There he was seven years and assisted the famous oenologist André for some time Tchelistcheff (1901-1994). In 1961 he started his own business and bottled bought-up wines, which he marketed under his label. In 1964 Joe and his wife Alice bought a small vineyard with a stone cellar built in 1898 east of St. Helena in California Napa Valley, The stone cellar is still the significant landmark of the winery today. Heitz began experimenting with the seven hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay planted by the previous owner, which were still rare in California at the time, and produced Burgundy-style wine with barrels.

In 1974 he presented Cabernet Sauvignon wines from individual locations belonging to three family friends. These were Bella Oaks Vineyard (Rutherford), Fay Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard (Oakville). The latter in particular caused a sensation and developed into a cult wine. Later Trailside Vineyard (Rutherford) was added. In addition to the Fay Vineyard, these wines are still produced today. Most Heitz wines mature in barriques for at least three years, using barrels of different origins (America, France). Today the winery “Heitz Wine Cellars” is run by the children David Heitz (cellar master) and Kathleen Heitz-Myers (biologist). It covers around 140 hectares, mainly with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir Grignolino are planted. A rosé and an à la dessert wine are also made from the latter variety port wine manufactured.

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