Which Winery

Simon Faury

winemaker at Merryvale Vineyards

Napa, California

Simon Faury’s early years were divided between Lyon, Champagne and the Alps. Needless to say, growing up in France – especially the Rhone Valley – gave him access and exposure to some of the world’s greatest wines. In 2002, at the age of 17, a tasting of Côtes Rôtie and Condrieu inspired him to pursue a career in the wine industry. 

Simon studied Agronomy and Viticulture in Turin, Italy before earning his Winemaking Masters in Bordeaux. After school he traveled extensively working in some of the world’s most prestigious wine regions including Barbaresco, Barolo, Bordeaux (Domaine de Chevalier, Château Pichon Longueville Baron) and Mendoza (Bordega Michael Rolland). In the Napa Valley his resume includes Robert Mondavi, The Napa Valley Reserve, Harlan Estate and Merryvale. 

Working with a number of varieties under diverse growing conditions has had a major impact on his philosophy and understanding of wine. “Great wines possess refinement, depth, character and personality. They elicit joy and emotion. They are the result of attention to the vineyard and respect for the fruit.” 

As Winemaker, Simon is in charge of production at the St. Helena winery. He works closely with Senior Winemaker Sean Foster, who oversees all winemaking operations for Schlatter Family Wines, and consultant Craig Williams. Simon focuses on terroir and understanding soils, develops and implements winemaking techniques, creates and fine-tunes the blends, and manages quality during bottling. Viticulturally, Simon is very involved in the farming at the Schlatter Family Estate Vineyard and works directly with the growers from whom Merryvale sources fruit. He has input and/or control over irrigation, organic farming, pruning, canopy management and crop loads. 

“Merryvale’s Schlatter Family Estate Vineyard is one of the finest sites in Napa. It is a beauty capable of producing tremendous Cabernets from its diverse terroir. As we expand our understanding of this extraordinary hillside property we can refine our viticultural and winemaking practices to develop even more depth, density and smoothness in our wines.”

Q & A

I love my job because:

It is a constant interaction between what mother nature is providing and the art of making refined wines

I got the passion to become a winemaker from:

Drinking amazing wines and eating fabulous food

My favorite wine is:

Domaine Jaboulet la Chappelle 1996 or 2004

Favorite wine to wind down with:

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi with ceviche

If I could drink it with anyone I would drink it with, where and why:

Steinbeck, it would be fun to have a fireside chat with him

You'd be surprised to know that:

I am passionate about Japanese food and pottery

My favorite vintage is and why:

2010, depth, elegance, freshness and style, a vintage of great race

What I'm excited about this year’s vintage is:

2016 will be a classic vintage and I can’t wait to make wines of soul, balance and refinement one more time.

One thing I hope to accomplish in my life is / my biggest accomplishment is:

I am really proud of 2013 Profile, and I want to make something deeper and even more layered in the future. That’s what wakes me up in the morning.

During harvest, a day in my life is like:

4am coffee start and head to the vineyard, chat with the crew and check the number of boxes we have picked thinking about which tank it is gonna go. 
6:30 I am at the winery briefing with the crew
7:00 reviewing ferments and checking on things
10:00 am vineyard tour to check on what will be picked in the next few days
11:00 write or re-assess the battle plan for the week
12:00 am lunch and nap
13:00 check on pump overs and cellar work
4pm complete work orders
6pm write work orders for the following day
8pm dinner and beer
8:30 last cellar check of the day and listening to the rolling stones
10 pm of to bed (hopefully)

Favorite/Least cooperative grape to work with is:

Favourite Cabernet franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Least favorite by far, grenache

Biggest obstacle I’ve ever experienced in wine-making:

Restraining myself from pushing things to far or taking too many risks.

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