Eric Hanson’s initial introduction to winemaking came from watching his Grandfather, who was born in the late 1800s in France and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, make “Old World” style wine in his basement. The seemingly magical transformation of matter led Eric to get a graduate degree in Chemistry and enter the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist. After spending a decade trying to invent therapeutics to treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis Cand other diseases, he finally decided to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker.
Eric enrolled at the University of California, Davis, and two years later graduated at the top of his class with magna cum laude honors. Initially learning ultra-premium winemaking at Stags’ Leap Winery and thenexperiencing large production winemaking in the San Joaquin Valley, he is now honored to be named the head winemaker at Smith-Anderson Wine Group in charge of such noted labels as Stonehedge and Havens. As he says, “I want to uphold the tradition of great winemaking that Smith-Anderson has done for the past 30 years. At the same time, I look forward to bringing in my own experience to hopefully raise the bar and help this company achieve even greater heights. To produce wines that are representative of the legendary appellations of California will always be our goal.”
Don Baker brings a wide range of experience to his role as senior winemaker for Stonehedge Winery. Over the past three decades Don has done it all – cellar work, winemaking, winery design and construction oversight, marketing and international business relations. His portfolio includes positions with Joseph Phelps, William Hill, Merryvale, and Kendall-Jackson’s Vina Calina venture in Chile. Don believes that the winemaker’s role is to bring what nature created in the vineyard into the bottle and onto the table with as little interference as possible. He sums up his philosophy in these words, “Let the fruit show the way.”
Don’s expertise goes beyond the science of fermentation and related advances, such as micro-oxygenation. Don is a master working with oak in all its forms from barrels to in-tank staves. He has worked with oak grown in the many forests of France such as Allier, Never and Vosges; Eastern Europe and the many forests of the United States.
Don is a graduate of the University of California, Davis. Don and his wife Lynne, a registered nurse, reside in Napa. Their five adult children are happily engaged in their own careers.
You can reach Don at email@example.com or (707)257-1068 x401.