Winemaker Ted Edwards
Director of Winemaking Ted Edwards
“I like comparing winemaking to cooking. Like a chef grows his own herb and vegetable garden to ensure quality ingredients, it is ideal for a winemaker to actively participate in the vineyard. We call this ‘winegrowing’ versus ‘winemaking.’ I spend a lot of time out in the vineyards throughout the season, working with the crews to the myriad of decisions that affect the flavors and quality of the fruit. We pick at the last possible moment, when the grapes have reached full complexity and flavor development. We bring this amazing produce to our ‘kitchen’ to begin the slow and exacting process of crafting full-bodied wines with layers of flavor. Though I’m now the ‘head chef’ with many years under my belt, I continue to be a passionate student of winegrowing, always learning about regions, climate, soils, varieties and new techniques.”
Ted Edwards, Freemark Abbey winemaker since 1985, is leading this historical Napa Valley winery into the future with absorbing vision and commitment to Freemark’s respected reputation. His innovative winemaking ideas have enhanced the entire line of Freemark Abbey wines. Edwards’ winemaking accomplishments include establishing the style of the single-vineyard Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, introducing a Merlot to the Freemark Abbey product line, as well as a Viognier, and bringing Petite Sirah back to the property. While most noted for making claret style wines, he has captured the essence of Chardonnay each year and in the right years and made the Beerenauslese style Riesling called Edelwein Gold. He has continued the thirty plus-year legacy of the vineyard-designated Freemark Abbey Cabernet Bosché, while raising the wine to new heights of critical acclaim. Edwards attended the University of California at Davis where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and then a Masters in Food, Science and Engineering. He explains, “I like comparing winemaking to cooking. Just like a chef would grow his own herb and vegetable garden, it is ideal for a winemaker to actively participate in the vineyard, to see the grape growing through harvest and bring this abundantly juicy produce to the winery (our kitchen) to make a full bodied wine with layers of flavor. To develop the flavors that we want, it is important to use the right varietal, rootstock, and the selected clone for the soil. Then the appropriate trellis system with shoot positioning, must be used to maximize the most desirable effects of the sun… turning that precious sunlight into wine.” In 1980, Edwards began his winemaking career in the cellar at Freemark Abbey, but after two harvests, took a position at Rutherford Hill as associate winemaker, a post he held for three years. In 1985, he returned to Freemark Abbey Winery, in the capacity of winemaker, where he has been managing the grape growing and winemaking ever since. In 1992, the pioneering partnership of Freemark Abbey named Edwards as the new, eighth partner. It was in 1996 that the original founder and Managing Partner of Freemark Abbey winery, Chuck Carpy, passed away, and Edwards took over his former boss and dear friend’s duties. Today the winery is under new ownership and Edwards continues to oversee the operations as the Director of Winemaking. Residing just north of the town of Napa, Edwards’ home is on the border of vineyards near Oak Knoll cross road. Born in New Mexico, he was raised partly on an apple farm in Colorado, and then in the Russian River District of Sonoma County, California. Edwards has called the Napa Valley home for more than thirty years and has raised his three children among the natural splendor of wine country. A prominent member of the Napa Valley winegrowing community, Edwards participates in the Vintner’s Association as a grower and winemaker. He is a past president of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group, past board member of the Rutherford Dust Society, and a long time member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture.
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