Edna Valley’s Tolosa Winery is welcoming a French-born winemaker with extensive experience around Sonoma and Napa Valley.
Frederic Delivert’s hiring follows a series of multimillion dollar improvements aimed at elevating Tolosa — and the Edna Valley overall — into the upper tier of the wine world since Robin Baggett took the reins two years ago.
“As we look to continually up our game at Tolosa, it is important that we bring in a winemaker of Fred’s caliber,” said Baggett, who co-founded the winery in 1998 but spent many years focusing on other efforts, including Napa’s well-regarded Alpha Omega Winery. “The combination of his experience gained in France and Napa Valley and the exceptional terroir of Edna Valley has the potential to create some very special wines.”
Delivert, who replaces Jim Kress, will work with consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger from Alpha Omega, who will also consult with another winery Baggett just acquired a stake in, Perinet Winery in Spain’s Priorat region.
After earning a master’s degree in Toulouse, Delivert worked at Napa wineries including Far Niente, Duckhorn Vineyards and Hafner Vineyard and was assistant winemaker at PlumpJack and CADE. After leading winemaking at Martin Estate and Tuck Beckstoffer Wines, Delivert consulted for several labels including Clark-Claudon, where he met Hoefliger and assisted in a few Alpha Omega vintages.
Delivert acknowledges that he was not familiar with Edna Valley but was blown away by the vineyards, the winery and the wines at Tolosa.
“I am excited to delve into the soils and the climate, fine-tune farming in the extensive estate vineyard and bring forth nuanced, balanced wines that showcase the character of Edna Valley,” he said. “Robin’s commitment to making exceptional wine is boundless. He has high expectations of his winemaking team, but he provides the resources necessary to reach that high bar.”
In the cellar, Tolosa has upgraded its tanks and presses and added a high-tech optical sorter and temperature-controlled barrel fermentation room.
The guest experience at Tolosa has also seen a recent makeover, with a renovated member lounge and private tasting room offering views over the vineyards and a new barrel-tasting loft for sampling pre-release single vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnays.
An expanded patio offers seated tastings, bottle service and plenty of places to sit among olive trees overlooking both the vines and winemaking operations.
The renovations have allowed Tolosa to offer options ranging from walk-in tastings to in-depth, educational programs with dedicated staff, said general manager June McIvor. “We have the opportunity to get every guest into the appropriate tasting experience,” she said.