Friday, October 24, 2014



Like Founder Steve MacRostie, Heidi Bridenhagen brings inquisitiveness and an absolute attention to the details that are essential for great winemaking to her role at MacRostie Winery and Vineyards. A dynamic and gifted young talent, Heidi was named MacRostie’s winemaker before the age of 30, and is just the third winemaker in the winery’s storied three-decade history. A believer in the value of explorationand experimentation, Heidi has worked closely with Steve to establish one of the Sonoma Coast’s most diverse and acclaimed vineyard programs, featuring more than 30 Chardonnay sites and over 15 Pinot Noir vineyards. To preserve this remarkable diversity and achieve a layered complexity in her wines, Heidi does as many as 130 small fermentations each vintage. While this is an incredible amount of work, when it comes time for blending, it gives Heidi an amazing palette of flavors from which to craft MacRostie’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Heidi earned a degree in biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After university, Heidi spent half a year traveling through Europe. As she explored local wines in France, Italy, Spain and Germany, Heidi became fascinated by the ways in which wine expressed itself in different regions. Returning to the United States, Heidi was eager to use her scientific skills, but she also wanted a career that engaged her creative side. She found what she was looking for in the enology laboratory of Jackson Family Wines. During her time at Jackson Family Wines, and later at Clos du Bois, Heidi built on her science background to establish a strong understanding of winemaking. She also found that she loved the camaraderie and collaborative spirit of a winery, being in the vineyards, and the constant focus on refinement through trial and experimentation.

Eager to gain a more international understanding of winemaking, Heidi traveled to New Zealand and spent half a year working in the cellar at Oyster Bay, where she was involved with the winery’s reserve and vineyard-designate programs. Following Oyster Bay, Heidi joined the team at Sonoma-Cutrer, where she honed her craft and palate working alongside noted winemakers Mick Schroeter and Cara Morrison.

In 2011, Heidi joined MacRostie as assistant winemaker. At MacRostie, Heidi found a winemaking home that embraced her desire to innovate and work in ever-smaller lots. In Steve MacRostie, she also found an engaging mentor who taught her about winegrowing and shared his decades of winemaking experience. Heidi thrived in this empowering environment, and was soon reimagining MacRostie’s Pinot Noir program, bringing in 50 small fermentation bins, so she could keep even more lots separate. Heidi and Steve also began running numerous small-lot trials in areas that included: extraction levels, the use of whole clusters, tannin management, cold soak durations and temperatures, yeast selection, barrel versus tank fermentation (Chardonnay), use of pump over versus punch down protocols (Pinot Noir), and more.

In recognition of her winemaking talents and her numerous contributions, Heidi was named the winemaker for MacRostie in 2013. Today, Heidi is as active in the vineyards as she is in the winery, traveling to all of MacRostie’s vineyard partners regularly, where she works carefully with the growers to tailor farming techniques, including pruning, fruit drops, harvest decisions, etc., for each block. In the winery, Heidi and Steve are constantly trying to refine their techniques as winemakers. By challenging and inspiring each other, Heidi and Steve are making the best wines in MacRostie’s history.

“Heidi has great vision as a winemaker and a wonderful palate,” says Steve. “I love working with her, and I love what she has brought to our wines.” In addition to her role at MacRostie, Heidi is active on the Sonoma County Vintners Trade Education Committee, where she serves alongside other noted growers and winemakers to help educate and advocate on behalf of Sonoma County.



Mark Tarbell (the only winning competitor on the 5th season of "Iron Chef America") opened Tarbell's in 1994. Previously he had studied in Paris at the l'Academie du Vin and earned a Grande Diplôme d'Etude Culinaire from Ecole du Cuisine La Varenne. Mark and his restaurants (he also owns The Oven in Denver) have earned more than 50 city and industry awards, including a "Best Restaurant" from Food and Wine magazine and a nomination as "Best Chef - Southwest" by the James Beard Foundation.

Tarbell’s is a friendly neighborhood atmosphere that features light woods and white tablecloths, a sweeping bird’s-eye maple bar, and exhibition kitchen. We also offer an award winning wine list and an extensive wine by the glass menu.

Mark Tarbell has opened The Wine Store right next to his award winning restaurant, Tarbell's, on the southeast corner of 32nd Street and Camelback. In a world of big-box wine retailers which specialize in acres of shelving and discount pricing, Mark introduces an intimate, service-driven experience that returns to the celebration of wine not as a commodity but as an art.  Call The Wine Store a gallery...for grapes. His selections bring you the finest examples of winemaking, but rest assured the prices rival, and in many cases are lower then, national retail prices.  Yes, even big box prices.   With these cost-conscious choices you also receive individual and expert guidance from a friendly, enthusiastic staff.  No wine snobs here!  Come in and find out what makes shopping at The Wine Store as enjoyable as a glass of  really good Champagne!

More about Mark Tarbell
Mark's wine wanderings began more than 30 years ago, when he studied at l'Academie du Vin in Paris under Peter Vezan.  His multi-layered career in hospitality has included his position, at age 23, as the youngest Food & Beverage Director ever of a five star resort (The Boulders in Carefree).  He opened Tarbell's Restaurant in 1994 and built an award-winning wine list.  In the past 20 years he has served annually as a judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition and has authored articles in Wine & Spiritsand other national magazines.  He has been the wine columnist for The Arizona Republic since 2004.


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