At the cusp of the 45th anniversary of the Paris tasting, it’s clear that the winery’s history would read quite a bit differently if Jerry Luper hadn’t met Brad Webb at a social gathering back in 1969. As it stands today, their coming together—and the eventual arrival of Steven Spurrier on the Napa scene—signaled the dawn of a new era at Freemark Abbey.
Kristy Melton takes the reins on Freemark Abbey's 2019 Chardonnay by giving it her own unique touch as she was faced with a pandemic, stay-at-home orders, and an office relocation. Learn more about how Kristy mastered the 2019 Chardonnay from her within her own kitchen.
On her winery office wall, Kristy Melton keeps a large black-and-white photograph. The blow-up is a reproduction of a nearly 130-year-old picture of Josephine Tychson, founder of the St. Helena property that would eventually become Freemark Abbey winery. That photo of Josephine isn’t just for decoration. “It reminds me of all of the hard work that went into this place getting to where it is today. It's no small notion, the history of the winery or taking over at this point. And that is by no means lost on me.”
When Ted Edwards was offered the head winemaker job at Freemark Abbey 35 years ago, Napa Valley was on its ascent to becoming a world-class wine region. As Kristy Melton takes the helm of Freemark Abbey, now an established Napa Valley icon located in one of the most idyllic growing regions in the country, she faces new challenges like navigating harvest in the midst of a global pandemic. Though the times may be different, Ted and Kristy share a genuine passion for winemaking, a requisite for bearing the badge of Freemark Abbey Head Winemaker.
Wait, there's a time capsule? Part two of our historical series features memories of long-time Freemark Abbey veteran, Sue Cottrell, who reminisces of the times spent with the seven partners who brought Freemark Abbey back to life in the late 60s and 70s.