Heidi Barrett grew up in the Napa Valley in a winemaking family and was destined to become one of California's leading winemakers. It is said that winemaking is a combination of science and art. With a scientist-winemaker father and an artist mother it is no big surprise that Heidi was drawn to the wine industry. With great enthusiasm, a love for what she does, and an incredible wealth of experience, Heidi blends the art and science of winemaking like few can.
Since 1988 she has developed a stellar client list of super and ultra-premium wineries. She is currently winemaker for Amuse Bouche, Jones Family, Barbour Vineyards, Paradigm Winery, Showket Vineyards, Lamborn Family, and two newcomers Lynch and Revana Family Vineyards. Past clients include Screaming Eagle, Grace Family, Vineyard 29, Hartwell/Grace, and Oakford Vineyards.
Heidi also started making her own wine, La Sirena in 1994 with a tiny production of Sangiovese. "I was looking for a name for my wine which would be as magical as I think wine is. La Sirena which means "the Mermaid" in Italian and Spanish is a way of representing two of my great passions". In 1996 she made the first Cabernet Sauvignon for La Sirena and in 2000 the first Syrah.
She has been a wine judge at various competitions over the last 20 years, was president of Napa Valley Wine Tech, and has graced the covers of both The Wine News and The Wine Enthusiast. She has been a featured guest on several television programs, was winemaker of the year, made Parker's list of wine personalities of the year 1994,1995 and is on Parker's wine heroines list of 1998 (one of two from the US). Parker has dubbed her the "first lady of wine".
In 2007, Heidi partnered with longtime friend John Schwartz to create Au Sommet, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from mountain vineyards on Atlas Peak.
When we purchased the 7-acre vineyard on Atlas Peak in the Western Vaca Mountain Range in Napa Valley, we knew that great mountain fruit would come from its volcanic soils.
The vineyard, part of the 45-acre property perched atop Atlas Peak, is one of the highest vineyard sites in Napa Valley, rising 2,100 feet above sea level. The eleven year old Cabernet Sauvignon (clones 7 and 337) and Petit Verdot (clone 400) vines are exposed to a unique microclimate and soil.
Unlike the Napa Valley floor, which is often covered in morning fog, the mountain vineyard is exposed to more sun during the growing season. Refreshing mountain breezes cool the hot summer days, protecting the fruit from overheating. The nights are much cooler than other areas and can sometimes experience a 20-degree drop in temperature. These cool nights allow for slower maturation of the fruit, resulting in well-balanced, complex wine.
The shallow volcanic soils limit vine growth, producing small amounts of fruit with exceptional, intense varietal character.