Winemaker: Nicolas Vonderheyden


The Winemaker: Nicolas Vonderheyden

Nicolas with Reggie the Vineyard Puppy
Nicolas with Reggie the Vineyard Puppy
2015 was the year when we had to sadly say good-by to Paul and Stefania Romero and wish them well with their new venture. The Romeros sold their house in San Jose and moved to the country, close to Gilroy. Unfortunately for us, their new location is too far from Chaine dOr to allow them to continue their work here. They plan to continue their winemaking under the Stefania label, and to open a small tasting room on the Santa Clara Wine Trail.

On the lucky side we welcome Nicolas Vonderheyden from the Mountain Winery and his small team of knowledgeable experts, including Prudy Fox, the well-known Santa Cruz Mountains viticulture consultant.

About himself, Nicolas says the following:

I was born in the United States, and raised in Bordeaux on the family winery, so vineyards and wine have always been part of my environment.

After graduating from high school I went to a Business School, graduating in Business and Marketing as well as Agriculture Management. Then I started working as assistant winemaker at Verite Winery in Healdsburg. CA cellar master and assistant to the vineyard manager at Chateau Lassegue, Saint-Emilion. FR assistant to the Director at Chateau Monbrison, Margaux. FR consultant for a 1,600 acres winery in Bordeaux to implement sustainable management practices.

In order to complement my Agriculture degree I specialized in Wine Estate Management where I acquired invaluable management skills besides the technical training I got from my past jobs.

Traveling the world opened my eyes to the different terroirs that exist and taught me a lot about the complexity in wines. I deeply believe in what Mother Nature offers us and am really fascinated by all the possibilities we are given to create a very unique bottle. My various experiences, travels as well as the people I met brought me around the world to finally settle in California.

The Mountain Winery in Saratoga is now offering me a great opportunity to put my skills and knowledge at the service of growing great grapes and making superior wines, just like famous Paul Masson used to do it in the mid 1900s. And as a second project, I am looking forward to managing the vineyards and winemaking at Chaine dOr.