The Aloria Vineyard Family
Rob and Sheri Hendriks and Family
Owners/Winegrowers/Vintners/Tasting Room Directors
Aloria Vineyards, Calaveras County, Ca.
Rob and Sheri are smack dab in the beautiful rhythm of Harvest 2019. Each day, the two of them and their vineyard pup Tannin, pile into their wagon and truck and head out to the vineyard ready for whatever comes their way: punching down wines, fixing tractor tires, taking samples to measure brix, calling wineries to schedule their pick-ups, crushing, washing, feeding the crew, a quick meet with Vineyard Manager Stephen Collum, bottling (yes, that happened too!), scrubbing again, bringing wine and supplies to the Tasting Room in Murphys, repairing the bin dumper, planning events, you name it, and not without counting their blessings, or ending the day without a moment of gratitude and a glass of wine!
While their backgrounds do not include working and managing a vineyard and winery, their hearts were planted in that dream all along. With their love of wine from small family owned or boutique wineries, they can’t recall a time when they bought a bottle of wine from the market. Getting to know the workings of the wineries they visited while breaking from the rush of Silicon Valley, was their respite and joy. They grew up in the time the Santa Clara Valley, known as, “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”, had its metamorphosis to innovation and technology. Sheri was a free-spirited, curious kid who walked creeks in the once small Town of Los Altos, Ca. There, she picked wild blackberries, and tomatoes from the yard just like today at their home in Murphys. There, she felt connected to the earth, just like she does now. Rob on the other hand, never stops thinking about how to improve production in all areas, and with better technology. Rob and his father both held patents: a wireless chip and specialized farm equipment respectively. The engineering gene Rob inherited, fostered his ability to be the one who can fix literally anything, including Sheri’s nerves when they are running thin when times get tough.
One thing is for sure, they are over-the-moon excited about the future. This year, Aloria Vineyards became a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard, and the Winery is in the pipes. The practices they undertake for wine growing and creating a sustainable enterprise, are never frivolous. All ideas are thought through with these questions in mind: Is it necessary? Can we fix what is broken? Is this taking away from what is good? Is it going to benefit only us, or our community as well? Will paying a bit more for an experience we want to have for our wine family align with our values? Will people smile when they drink this wine?
The vineyard is a place you must see for yourself. “Above the Rush, in Vineyards of Gold” is the motto. Meet Sheri and Rob there, and you’ll get the metaphor. The 120 acre property was simply magical and loved at first sight. Formerly, Canterbury Vineyards, was a well-known and well-established (1996) 52 acres of planted grapes, albeit, needed some TLC. Upon purchasing the vineyard, there was over 20 acres of Syrah. Grafting was first on the agenda starting with delicious food loving varietals Barbera in 2018, then Albariño in 2019. This Spring 2020, they will graft Char Bono and Toro Tempranillo to complete the vineyard’s 10 varietals: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Malbec, Barbera, Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Wineries from Bell Cellars in Yountville, and beyond still purchase the fruit to this day. Tyler Grace, of beautiful Grace Patriot Winery in Placerville, says that, “These Syrah grapes are the finest you’ll find anywhere, and are the secret weapon in our wines.” The walls of ribbons at their winery prove it! Aloria’s vineyard and their wines as well, are now under the right team’s wings, with everyone working with high integrity and a spotless program. They are anxious to share the evolution with wine lovers everywhere.