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Celebrating Women's History Month: Merry Edwards and Heidi Von der Mehden

Because we believe in our heritage, every week during this month of March we will introduce you to a Grande dame of American viticulture, who contributes to our wine heritage. 

Photo Credit Matt Morris

Merry Edwards & Heidi Von der Mehden

Queens of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc 

Merry Edwards was one of California’s first woman winemakers. Now in the fourth decade of her winemaking career, she has earned the universal respect of her winemaking peers, grape growers, and academicians, and is now a California winemaking legend who has left an indelible mark on the American wine industry. In recognition of her many contributions to and accomplishments in the wine industry, Merry was inducted to the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame in 2013. (She is only the fourth woman to be honored in this way). That same year, she also won the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional in the United States. In 1970 she was integral in putting Russian River Pinot Noir on the map. It wasn’t until 1997 that Merry launched Merry Edwards Winery and Vineyards, and much critical acclaim followed. After 47 vintages as a winemaker, Merry Edward tapped Heidi von der Mehden as her successor, and the two worked side by side until Merry’s retirement in 2020.

Heidi von der Mehden, a Sonoma County native, is a trained scientist who spent more than two years in the Peace Corps in Africa. She is both determined and open-minded in her approach to winemaking. After receiving a degree in chemistry from Santa Clara University in 1997 and teaching high school chemistry in Tanzania, she returned to Sonoma County to work as a lab technician and then enologist for Kenwood Vineyards. After three years as assistant winemaker at Mauritson Winery, Heidi jumped at the opportunity to work with Richard Arrowood as associate winemaker in 2007 before taking over as winemaker in 2010.


Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, CA

$50 (375ml)

Sauvignon Blanc Musqué clone from Meredith Estate. Certified California Sustainable. Aged 18 months new French oak before bottling. 

Pure orange in color like a ripe Physalis. Its brilliance and density herald a sweet wine. Yet its leg is long, fast, and not very fat, the announcement of an aromatic wine, explosive, but without too much sugar and alcohol. A dream…

The power of the nose reminds me of its old women perfumes, so exuberant and provocative, but at the same time exude an uncontrollable attraction through their carnal voluptuousness and their elegance of the Arabian Nights. This wine is a tribute to Sauvignon Blanc when it is sweet, without being botrytised as in Sauternes. Scent of sun-ripened white summer fruit salad. white pear, vine peach and nectar, honeysuckle flowers, Turkish delight, orange blossom and rose water Lokum, beeswax, white almond, and frangipane, with a refreshing and dynamic hint of alcohol. The palate is fat, voluminous, syrupy, but not square. The acidity conveys a sensation of freshness in the mouth and leaves its notes of fruit too hot that calls for a vanilla ice cream refreshing like granita. The finish is long and far from mushy. If I had to prescribe it in medicated syrup, I would recommend a teaspoon every five minutes. Beware of emotion, it could push you to finish the bottle. Only women could create such a beautiful piece of jewelry, thank you Heidi, thank you Merry. 

To let you share this experience and celebrate the value of this legacy.

We offer you to acquire this wine on special for $50 instead of $71 (375 ml), a very limited quantity available.

Shop the Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest wine here.