Interview: winemaker Tiffinee Vierra (Derby Wine Estates)

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Photo courtesy of Derby Wine Estates

Ray and Pam Derby moved to the Central Coast to retire, but were soon swept up by the surrounding wine community. They acquired Derbyshire Vineyard in 1998, then added Laura’s Vineyard and Derby Vineyard. They founded Derby Wine Estates in 2008 and hired winemaker Tiffinee Vierra to help them “Make Great Wines…Without Pretense.”

Joshua Lurie: What’s your first wine memory?

Tiffinee Vierra: I think the year was 1996. I had dinner with my boyfriend (now my husband) and his employer. I drank red wine for the first time. It was a 1985 Estrella River Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. I think the alcohol was around 12.5%. It was delicious.

JL: When and why did you make your first wine?

TV: I made my first wine in 2000. I was given the opportunity to receive Syrah grapes at no charge if I picked them myself. I picked them with my husband on my 25th birthday, September 22nd. The price was right.

JL: What’s a wine trend that you’re excited about?

TV: It’s exciting to hear that consumers are gravitating toward the idea that “less is more” when making wine buying decisions. Less alcohol, less oak, less handling.

JL: How much value do you see in rating wines using a 100-point scale?

TV: At this point for Derby, it really is difficult to quantify the value in such ratings being as though we just launched the brand in July 2008. Perhaps as we grow, we will have a better idea of how big of a role they play from a sales point of view.

JL: If you could only drink one more bottle of wine, what would it be and why?

TV: It would be my bottle of 2000 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. I would enjoy it with my stepdad who has said to me that his bottle is worth too much money to drink.

JL: What food would you pair with the bottle of 2000 Chateau Lafite Rothschild?

TV: Not having any experience with this wine, I think it would be safe to say it would be enjoyed with a meal from a favorite restaurant.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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Good read, love learning about others in the business. Keep up the good work!

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