John Falcone, formerly of Rusack Vineyards, has joined Gainey Vineyard as General Manager and Director of Winemaking. Situated in the Santa Ynez Valley, Gainey Vineyard is a family-owned estate winery and ranching operation that has been operating for nearly three decades. Recognized as a flagship Santa Barbara Country producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sta. Rita Hills, as well as for their estate-driven Bordeaux-variety program in the Santa Ynez Valley appellation, the Gainey family also farms organically grown vegetables, fruits and flowers, sold at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. In addition to their farming operation, they run cattle and grow hay crops on a commercial basis for California ranches.
Falcone began making wine in Santa Barbara County nearly a decade ago, following a 13-year winemaking stint in the Napa Valley. Having garnered consistent critical acclaim for his wines over the years, Falcone remains focused on “making wine in the vineyard”, and spends most of his time away from the cellar in the vineyards, where, he says, “the core of winemaking actually takes place.”
Falcone continues, “After I visited Dan Gainey’s vineyards, especially his estate vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, I realized just how seriously Dan and his crew take their farming and winegrowing. It’s funny…America is the only country that refers to winemakers as….well….winemakers. Everywhere else in the world, you’re a vine grower…a vigneron, if you will. Dan and his team understand the crucial dynamics in the vineyard that lead to what’s in the bottle. When I understood his level of commitment, I knew I wanted to work with him.”
Owner and farmer, Dan Gainey, views Falcone’s appointment not only as advantageous for the entire winery staff, but also as beneficial to his bid to better prioritize his time, “With John on board, I am now able to move away from some of the day-to-day administrative duties that I’ve been handling for decades and spend more time doing what I love most; visiting our vineyards, tasting with our cellar crew, and spending time with our customers.”
Falcone will over see all operations at the winery as well as direct the winemaking programs. Winemaker Jeff LeBard will continue to manage all winemaking activities and will be assisted in the Bordeaux varieties by consultant, Jon Engleskirger.