Collier Falls Winery
Dry Creek Valley AVA
"We have also become a sustainability-oriented company and have received an official designation last year for Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.”
After twenty five years of growing estate fruit and crafting award-winning wines in the famed Dry Creek Valley, Barry Collier is retiring from the winery business and will soon be closing the chapter to his beloved Collier Falls Winery. This gem of a winery has seen great success over the years and Barry Collier’s career has been one filled with achievement, and that in itself must be applauded and celebrated.
For those who are unfamiliar with the story behind Collier Falls Winery and Barry Collier, know that it is straight out of a Hollywood film -just in reverse - and it is one definitely worth telling.
It all began with Collier, who was a successful movie producer in Hollywood for more than 13 years. He and his wife Susan eventually made the decision to leave Tinseltown for the bucolic confines of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, as they had both long expressed a true fondness for wine. Susan even pursued her dream and achieved her viticultural degree while they searched for property.
The search ended in 1996 when the Colliers purchased a portion of the fabulous Ferrari-Carano Winery that had become available, a setting that already had some eight acres under vine. They immediately set out to produce fruit and wines and their dream of living and enjoying the wine industry became a realization. For the first three years, the Colliers sold most of their fruit to other wineries.
An incredibly beautiful 30-foot waterfall on the property became the inspiration for their new venture and Collier Falls Winery became a reality. The company’s first release in 1998 (a 1997 Zinfandel) received a 90 Point rating from Wine Spectator and the rest of the story is, as they say, history.
Collier Falls Winery grew to farm some 20 acres in Dry Creek Valley’s stepped environs and their wines raked in numerous awards and accolades from both competitions and trade publications over the years. Sadly, Susan Collier passed away in 2007, but her legacy has remained intact through the remarkable wines Collier Falls Winery has produced.
“I had initially set a goal of around 1,500 cases a year for us to produce,” explained Barry Collier. “We were very fortunate to have maintained that goal and remained a small, boutique-style winery. It was always my main passion to grow great grapes, while making wines was always a secondary concern.” Even up until the final 2016 vintage, Collier Falls Winery sold almost 50% of their grapes to neighboring wineries. They also became a sustainably-oriented company and received an official designation for Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.
What’s more, Collier Falls Winery designated 63 acres of its land as protected ‘open space’ to ensure the ongoing preservation of wildlife corridors and its diverse forest habitat. This private estate with its sweeping views across the entire Dry Creek Valley and the unparalleled natural beauty is truly a sight to behold.
Part of Collier Falls Winery’s success can be attributed to the fact that all of its vineyards are perched above the 1,000-foot level and therefore above the fog line that envelopes much of Dry Creek Valley each morning. “Our vineyards receive plenty of great sunshine each day and then are cooled during the night,” continued Barry Collier. “During the warmer parts of the day, our southeast facing vineyards receive early shade that create an ideal temperature balance for the grapes - sun develops ripe flavors and cooler periods help the fruit achieve balance and complexity. It was definitely a win-win situation for us.”
Barry Collier is also quite proud that his son, Josh, has been a part of the business, mostly helping with Internet marketing and sales. Josh is also an excellent screenwriter and will continue to pursue that passion. Regrettably, Barry’s other son, Adam, a Naval Academy graduate and Marine Colonel is no longer with us. It had been hoped that Adam would also become a part of Collier Falls Winery, making it a multi-generational entity.
His greatest winery accomplishment? “I guess it would be to have the ability to have survived the competitive wine business as a tiny, boutique winery and not to have succumbed to or been distracted by others’ successes as wineries,” he verbalized. “Growing grapes has always been my greatest passion. I feel fortunate that this has allowed me to enjoy the real fruits of my labor, and for my customers and close friends to have enjoyed drinking my wines.”
To show how successful Barry Collier’s wines have remained, the likes of Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Palmer and Gordon Ramsey have carried and featured his wines. To any serious wine drinker, that array of famous chefs and restaurant owners is hard to beat.
We hope our Garagiste Wine Club members enjoy this incredible Estate Zinfandel from Collier Falls Winery, Barry Collier’s farewell vintage and a true treasure from this incredible boutique winery we have loved featuring over the years. Cheers!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I am very pleased to offer you the very last bottling of Collier Falls Hillside Estate Zinfandel from our 2016 vintage. This wine represents 25 years of growing estate fruit and making wine. I am retiring, with some regrets, but mostly fond memories, all starting with our 1997 Zinfandel. Fondly enough, that wine received a 90 Point Wine Spectator rating which helped us launch our brand. This wine continues in that tradition.
During that time, I’ve put over 1,000 hours on a tractor and 1,500 hours on an ATV, and the miles are showing on me as well. But, I’ve lived a life that most people can only dream about. If you ever get a chance to do the same, take it. The land changes a person’s soul and a return to nature offers you open skies, fresh air, and a keen appreciation and awareness of the environment that we sometimes take for granted.
I am proud of the accomplishments that the Collier Family has achieved, and both my sons and my wife, have my heartfelt thanks for allowing a city boy like me to become a farmer and winemaker.
Finally, I want to especially thank David and Linda Chesterfield and the team at the Gold Medal Wine Club for allowing us to play a small part in the Club’s success. It’s been a cordial and professional relationship for decades; a perfect kind of partnership.
I hope you enjoy the wine as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.
Collier Falls Winery