Our Wine Philosophy
At Herzog Wine Cellars, winemaking is centered around one idea: “Let the grapes speak for themselves.” Each grape has a story to tell, and we believe that truly great winemaking gives language to their stories.
The head story-teller is Joe Hurliman. He orchestrates the team combining the artisan craft of premium California winemaking with the Herzog family heritage of excellence.
PROPRIETOR, VICE PRESIDENT
As an eighth-generation member of the Herzog family, Joseph Herzog knows the business of wine. Prior to coming to California, Joseph worked at the Kedem Winery in upstate New York. He eventually left the snow for the sunny shores of the Golden Coast and moved to California in 2005 as Vice President of Operations for Herzog Wine Cellars.
He, more than most, knows how special Herzog wines are. First, every bottle of wine carries the family name, and that means something. If they weren’t proud of what they do, they wouldn’t put their name on it. Second, Herzog has a spectacular winemaking team that operates as a family, but is always willing to change and adapt fast. And that is another reason Herzog wines are so special—the winemakers aren’t set in their ways. The Herzog team tastes widely to ensure they are not only keeping up with the trends and tastes of all wineries, but also leading the way in creating something new. He thinks it’s vital to always be open to innovation.
As the family’s onsite representative, Joseph oversees everything from Herzog’s California vineyard partnerships to the winery’s special events, tasting room as well as its in-house, fine dining restaurant, Tierra Sur. His personal philosophy is to make sure Herzog can stand the test of time. “I believe we are all links in a chain. It’s my job, as the chain gets longer and longer, to make it strong enough to hold the weight. We need to be our best now in order to leave a company that the next generation can build upon.”
Joe Hurliman began his winemaking career in the mid 1980’s, working with Alban Vineyards and Sine Qua Non Winery. He first came to Herzog Wine Cellars in 1998, playing a central role in the design and construction of the Herzog Wine Cellars winery. He knew when they were designing Herzog that they wanted to be able to do both very small lot and large production winemaking. So, he took a lot of time and effort designing the cellars to accomplish both of those things.
Having a hand in all aspects of the grape growing process inspires him. And being able to allow the grapes to perfectly represent themselves is what drives him as Herzog’s winemaker. He really feels fortunate to work with Herzog Cellars entire winemaking team. “I’m truly in awe of what they all accomplish and how they work tirelessly to vault Herzog forward.”
Barry Henderson joined Herzog Wine Cellars in 2008. He worked his first harvest at Justin Winery in Paso Robles in 1997 and became the assistant winemaker of Adelaida Cellars in 1999. What he loves most about Herzog is the variety of wines produced because of the diversity of regions where they source their grapes. He really appreciates that Herzog is invested in every part of the winemaking process.
Currently, Henderson manages Herzog Wine Cellars’ popular Baron Herzog brand of wines. He believes winemaking is absolutely a collaborative effort. The people managing vineyards, the people trucking the grapes, the people at the winery, the cellar workers: all of Herzog’s team knows that every step matters and every part of the process matters. “Always do what’s best for the wine. There are no shortcuts.”
Alicia Wilbur joined Herzog Wine Cellars in 2013. She is also a certified sommelier and holds a degree in Enology and a minor in Chemistry from California State University, Fresno. With those qualifications, she could work anywhere, but she loves creating the Herzog wines that sit on tables at so many family events, like weddings and bar mitzvas. She finds it both humbling and empowering that Herzog wines touch so many people’s lives.
Wilbur is responsible for the Variations series as well as the sought-after brand Jeunesse. She believes that wine is for everyone, and that people should drink what they enjoy most, no matter what the industry rules say. “If you want to have a sauvignon blanc with your steak, then you should do that.”
The Herzog Cellar Crew shares the Herzog family’s commitment to excellence; carefully guiding the grapes from tank, to barrel, to bottle. Cellar Master Josh Goodman has been with Herzog Wine Cellars for 23 harvests and leads a cellar crew that has a combined experience of over 50 years. That time has taught the team what it takes to make great wine, and illustrates their commitment to quality wine making.