Merry Edwards is like her wines – an intricate blend of artistic vision and scientific training, with a passion for the natural environment.
Merry began her training with an MA in Food Science and Enology from UC Davis and was the only woman from the course to go on to become a winemaker, facing gender discrimination throughout her studies and for many years that followed. Despite these challenges, in 1974 she was awarded the post of Winemaker at Mt Eden Vineyards, which she helped to transform alongside Wine Consultant Richard Graff, who went on to become her mentor. She then moved on to become the founding Winemaker at Matanzas Creek and later became a Consultant herself, while carefully exploring and acquiring vineyards of her own in the Russian River Valley, discovering small sites which, with the right rootstock, clone and farming techniques, produce exceptional quality grapes.
As well as her farming her own vineyards (Coopersmith, Meredith Estate and Richaven) Merry has long-term contracts with likeminded growers in the Russian River Valley and plays an active role in the management of grape-growing and stewardship of their vines and natural environment.
Sustainability is ‘a way of life’ at Merry Edwards, who have been Certified Sustainable since 2017. Merry believes that “terroir is not simply longitude, latitude and soil type, but also reflects the input of the farmer”. These ‘inputs’ include organic composts, biodegradable vineyard products, ‘a bevy of roses’, insect-friendly cover crops, flower borders and floral borders, which act as natural pest control. Deficit irrigation only feeds the vines during times of water stress, all green waste is recycled back into the estate and the winery has been 100% powered by solar energy since panels were installed in 2010. As well as this, all wines are vegetarian and vegan.
With five decades of winemaking experience behind her, Merry has proved those who overlooked her because of her gender wrong and has long had the universal respect of winemaking peers, grape growers and scholars alike. Her pioneering work in clonal research has forever changed the Californian wine industry, and her UCD clone 37, or “Merry Edwards Selection”, has been a star performer in the Russian River valley since she established it in 1975.
Family remains at the heart of production at Merry Edwards, which was family run until it was taken over by Champagne Louis Roederer in 2019, who are committed to maintaining the same core values of Estate driven, quality production, family ownership and a passion for sustainability and stewardship which unite the two wineries: “In Frédéric, I have found a true soulmate to pass on the company to which I have devoted my life these past 21 years. I know my legacy is in good hands”.
2004: Winemaker of the Year, San Francisco Chronicle
2004: One of the “50 most influential Winemakers in the world”, Wine and Spirits
2005: Named one of “America’s top 50 most influential Winemakers” by Forbes
2005 Pioneer Woman Winemaker by National Women’s History Project
2013: Inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame
2013: Named Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional by the James Beard Foundation after 6 consecutive years of being named as a finalist
2013: Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine: Top 20 most Admired People in North American Wine Industry (wins two years in a row)Download PDF Print
Russian River Valley, California, USA
58% Sauvignon Blanc
42% Sauvignon Musqué
Yellow peach, melon, guava and crisp Fuji apple are accented with hints of tropical mango and pineapple. Lime, Minneola tangelo and orange blossom lend citrus notes. Accents of dry summer grass, vanilla-toned panna cotta and toasted crème brûlée create complexity. An underlying minerality adds further sophistication.
The rich palate coats the tongue balanced with hints of yummy Creamsicle and Ruby Red grapefruit. Refreshing acidity and a mouthwatering finish cap the sensual experience of this exceptional Sauvignon Blanc. Delightful now, with bottle age, this wine will be a knockout!
Sonoma Coast, California, USA
100% Pinot Noir
The exotic aroma shows off spicy notes of cardamom, tamarind, allspice and cinnamon. This expands into mouthwatering candied red cherries and berry fruits: red raspberries, wild strawberries, ripe boysenberries and juicy blackberries. Cocoa nibs, cola, white chocolate, candied violets, crème brûlée, caramel and just a hint of blood orange add layers of complexity. The palate echoes the theme of the aroma — intensified. The tannins are round and full, accented by bright acidity. Finely integrated oak complements the fleshy, succulent fruit mouthfeel. Unctuous flavors then taper into a satisfying, spicy black pepper finish.
Russian River Valley, California, USA
100% Pinot Noir
Warmly opulent and sophisticated, this is an intense, inviting Pinot. It’s packed with ripe cherry, strawberry fruit leather, brambleberry and blueberry. This fruit expression is heightened by anise, earthy notes, well-integrated toasty oak, and a whisper of violets and white flower blossoms. Upon opening, the highly structured palate shows an energising interplay between bright, lively acidity and generous, silky tannins. It then broadens and mellows into a lingering, satisfying finale. Aromas follow through, providing a dynamic flavour spectrum and a peppery finish.