The March 17 San Francisco Chronicle included a special article on our long-time friend and business associate, Chuy Ordaz. Chuy runs a vineyard management company in Sonoma County, and Neyers Vineyards has bought grapes from him for over a decade. His is a great story, one based on the essence of the American Dream. Being a part of his life has been one of the greatest honors ever accorded me. Here are some highlights from the piece by Esther Mobley:
Chuy’s formidable client list includes Neyers Vineyards among others, and locally Chuy is known as a genius. There’s no one farming vineyards who commands more respect. So closely has Ordaz become associated with his vineyards that winemakers have taken to labeling their single-vineyard bottlings from them as “Chuy’s Vineyard,” instead of with the actual vineyard names. He is likely the first vineyard manager ever so recognized.
But Ordaz is a grape grower — a farmer. The first thing you notice upon meeting him is his smile, yet he’s reserved — quick to answer questions but content to be quiet. “I’ve never known a man so comfortable in his own skin,” says Tadeo Borchardt, winemaker at Neyers Vineyards. Still, Ordaz assumes the posture of his most junior employee. “Most vineyard owners never picked a day in their life,” he admits. He prunes, thins and plants alongside his crew. Vine cultivation is the language he speaks most fluently. “I’ll drive past and see Chuy’s truck parked outside the vineyard,” describes Borchardt. “And he’s out there alone, tucking leaf shoots.” Borchardt, the Neyers winemaker, has never signed a contract with Ordaz for his fruit purchases: “It’s all a verbal agreement. Chuy just works with people he trusts.”
We are flattered to be able to work with this great man, and delighted to see him begin to receive the recognition he so deserves. We now have two wines available that are made from grapes farmed by Chuy Ordaz: