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Winemaking Tips from Robert Foley

“I think the two biggest things for me were to get out of the science lab and get into the vineyard,” says Californian winemaker Bob Foley, known for decades of top-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Foley is referring to the mid-1970s when he graduated from UC-Davis with a degree in enology and fermentation science. He soon discovered that, beyond scientific know-how, making great wine is dependent on growing great grapes. His career has always been rooted in California’s Napa Valley, these days at Robert Foley Vineyards and Switchback Ridge, where his sought-after bottlings are big and expressive. He also makes wine for Padis Vineyards and Engel Family Vineyards.  Foley came to fame during the 1990s at Pride Mountain Vineyards where he was Winemaker for 15 years. At that time he also made wine for Paloma Vineyard, whose 2001 Merlot was Wine Spectator’s 2003 Wine of the Year. He’s a Food and Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year and wine critic Robert Parker has described his vino as “Virtually perfect.” He’s also known as a strong advocate for Petite Sirah and