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Ferment Well: Tips from the Pros

Ask most home winemakers where to find America’s best wines, and they will probably say California. Ask for the best region, and they will almost certainly say Napa Valley. And if you follow the Napa River into an area that three hundred residents call home, you will have reached a winemaker’s Nirvana: Rutherford. This California appellation sits in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley, consists of well-drained soil and enjoys a beautiful climate of hot days and cool nights. Rutherford residents can hardly avoid the winemaking bug. Napa Valley native Cheryl Emmolo was even more susceptible than most. Her grandfather started a rootstock nursery in the valley in 1923, and the family has owned a 51-acre vineyard in Rutherford for more than 70 years. Include her former 15-year marriage to Chuck Wagner, winemaker at Caymus, and it’s obvious that Cheryl Emmolo was born and raised to make wine. Birth of a Winery Nineteen ninety-four marked the beginning of Emmolo Vineyards. Recently divorced, Emmolo had been toying with the idea of starting a business, but she was looking for something