Theresa Heredia is Crushing it in the Wine World

Written by | Gay Voices, The Lens

From ‘Winemaker to Watch’ to nominee for ‘Winemaker of the Year’ this heralded lesbian winemaker is celebrating 10 years of accomplishments at the renowned Gary Farrell Winery.

This talented lady has made quite a name for herself in the male-dominated wine industry, where only about 10% of all winemakers are women. Along with the team at her winery, they are proving that diversity and inclusion are just good business – along with producing world-class wines of course.

Theresa Heredia hails from the San Francisco Bay Area town of Pittsburg, just a stone’s throw from the famed Napa and Sonoma Wine Country. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and was a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry with an emphasis on enology at U.C. Davis, before leaving to pursue her passion of becoming a hands-on winemaker. Her travels to Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhône Valley certainly furthered her love of wine.

After contributing to many press accolades for vinification accomplishments as a winemaker at Freestone Vineyards & Winery, Theresa moved to Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in 2012 to advance her career. She was recently promoted in 2021 to director of winemaking, after a long list of honors for her creations by well-respected wine authorities including Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, to name a few.

Specializing in cool-climate single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from iconic growers in the Russian River Valley, Theresa has recently earned some high marks for Gary Farrell Wines from the internet’s most comprehensive wine buying resource, Ken’s Wine Guide, as well as these ratings from industry authority Wine Enthusiast:

  • 2019 Chardonnay – Durrell Vineyard: 95 points
  • 2019 Chardonnay – Russian River Selection: 94 points
  • 2018 Pinot Noir – Rochioli Vineyard: 95 points
  • 2018 Pinot Noir – Fort Ross Vineyard: 95 points

Now 20 years after entering the business and making her mark, Theresa is using her star power and influence to help the wine industry break down barriers for others. In addition to her work and support with national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, she has become more involved locally by contributing her talent and vision to the Sonoma County Vintners Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  She has demonstrated a commitment to work with others in the industry to bring about positive change. Theresa was recently honored with the North Bay Business Journal’s Pride Leadership Award which recognizes local professionals for their contributions to the Pride movement.

The LGBTQ+ community feels a sense of inclusion at every touchpoint at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. From the Equality Symbol and Rainbow Flag on their website and advertising material, to the diverse models used in their advertising to the welcoming team at their breathtaking ‘tasting salon’ in picturesque Healdsburg, California, it has one envisioning a world where acceptance is the norm.

We can’t wait to see what Theresa has in store for us over the next 20 years.

Learn more about Theresa Heredia and Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery at

In West Sonoma County on the windy Westside Road that meanders through the scenic Russian River Valley AVA, you’ll find Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Perched high on a leafy hilltop, this vintner has created a legacy of elegant wines in its rich 40-year history. Sommeliers, wine critics and oenophiles alike hold their pinot noir and chardonnay offerings in the highest regard.

We think the optimal way to introduce yourself to these wines is right on site in one of Gary Farrell’s tasting areas, either indoors at ‘The Salon’ or outdoors on ‘The Terrace.’ You’ll experience an elevated tasting of pinot noirs and chardonnays paired with artisan cheeses while enjoying the breathtaking territorial vistas.

For the out-of-towers, Gary Farrell is located between two of the most appealing gay tourist destinations in the county; gay-friendly uber-casual Guerneville with its rustic woodsy charm and the alluring Healdsburg with its bevy of upscale dining, shopping and hotel options.

To reserve a tasting experience, visit

Furthering their commitment to the community, Gary Farrell became an early supporter and member of the newly formed LGBT+ Wine Society.  This group brings together wine lovers, LGBT-friendly wineries, restaurants, hotels and retailers in Sonoma County for a welcoming community experience.

One of the key outputs from this group is the hot-off-the-press Sonoma County LGBT+ Wine Map. “What a great resource for our community,” exclaimed Gary Saperstein, local business owner of Out in the Vineyard and promoter of Gay Wine Weekend. With over 425 wineries in Sonoma County, the LGBT+ visitor can hone in on those establishments that are gay-owned, gay-operated or have demonstrated a commitment to the community through their support and actions.

Charter Sonoma County businesses included:

  • Eco Terreno Wines & Vineyards
  • Equality Vines
  • Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
  • Iron Horse Vineyards
  • Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery
  • Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery
  • Roadhouse Winery
  • Sophie’s Cellars
  • Duncans Mills House – Lodging
  • The Woods Cottages & Cabins
  • Lo & Behold Bar + Kitchen
  • The Spinster Sisters Restaurant
  • The Girl & The Fig Restaurant

Exclusive events, discounts, and special offers throughout the year are planned by the LGBT+ Wine Society. If you love wine and live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or plan to visit Sonoma and would like a complimentary wine map, individual membership is currently free – just provide your name and e-mail.


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Last modified: December 1, 2022