NYC to Napa Valley – A Winemaking Journey UnfoldingPublished by Carrie Schuster on Fri, 09/25/2015 - 12:47
“A first step, fueled by a passion and possibilities puts one on the path of adventure.” Words that we, Adam Hersly and Stacy Soberalski Hersly, live by!
After spending many years in New York City we made the move cross-country to pursue a lifelong dream of living and making wine in the heart of California wine country. Leaving our family, friends and everything comfortable, our journey led us from Madison Avenue in Manhattan to Main Street in Napa Valley. It was time to stretch our arms, push ourselves and make this venture happen. Our style of winemaking is simple - make what you enjoy and share it with friends and family accompanying good food and lots of joy. We are family owned, and make extremely limited, handcrafted wines.
We are some of the new kids on the Napa AND Sonoma wine block, making wines from both Napa and Sonoma County. We make a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. We are unknowns. But we’re starting to make our own mark, our way. Just who are we?
Adam, our winemaker, has had food and wine in his veins since he was a young boy in NY. He grew up cooking for his family, and wanted to be a chef. But he also had the passion for technology. Following in the footsteps of his father, an engineer, Adam graduated with a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. He has spent many successful years of product management at Google, where he continues with his “day job.” With the love for food and wine still in his heart, he pursued a Certificate of Winemaking through the prestigious UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, at the urging of his original mentor, Mr. Joe Phelps. Adam has also studied under some of the finest winemakers in California during internships at August West/Sandler with Ed Kurtzman and Joseph Phelps Vineyards with Ashley Hepworth and Damian Parker. In 2012, it was time to start on his own path and Hersly Wines was born!
Charity and giving back has been an integral part of my background since I was young, thanks to my mom and Nonie. Following a BA in Psychology from DePaul University and a Masters in Occupational Social Work from University of Illinois at Chicago (Jane Addams College of Social Work), I spent the majority of my career as a Senior Leader in Human Resources, with a focus on Sales, Marketing and Business Development. But working to make a the world a better place is never out of focus. Both Adam and I are avid volunteers with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital working on numerous wine and food events in NYC and Napa. After moving to Napa, I have taken on local causes as a Development Committee Member with Aldea Children and Family Services in Napa, The Teacher’s Resource Center of the North Bay, and the Napa County Family and Foster Parent Association. Now you see why working with Cellar Angels is SO important to us.
Of course, every winery has to have a winery dog, and Hersly Wines is no exception. In August of 2012, right as we started harvest of our very first vintage, we adopted Mae, a Yorkie Schnauzer (Snorkie) rescue dog. She’s unique, with her ears being her “signature look,” she is well known with family, friends, and internet followers and fans alike.
Moving to Napa from NYC has been a bit of a culture shock. Going from the “city that never sleeps” to small town has been an adjustment. But, the Napa and Sonoma communities are so tight knit. There is always a neighbor to extend their hand to help. This has been (unfortunately) evident over the last year. On August 24, 2014, Napa was awoken at 3:20am by a 6.1 earthquake that rattled us to the core. Homes were destroyed, property lost, buildings crumbled. Our town was in shambles. But Napa never lost it’s soul, it’s spirit. The community came together, no questions asked. We cleaned up glass, boarded up windows, fed those without power or shelter, opened our hearts and wallets, all through many tears of fear, sadness, and some laughter, together. We became “Napa Strong!” Now, we are banding together again to help our neighbors to the north in Lake County as they battle a devastating fire that has claimed 1300 homes to date. We don’t question, we jump in. We are one community.
As we come to the close of another harvest, one marked by drought, low yields and high heat, we are thankful. We are thankful to be able to do what we love with strong passion, living up to the integrity that we promise, and share the fruits of our labor with you! As we say on the back of our bottle, “enjoy Hersly Wines in good health!” Cheers!
Adam Hersly and Stacy Soberalski Hersly