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.”
The story behind Collier Falls Winery and its owner Barry Collier is straight out of a Hollywood film, just in reverse. Collier was a successful movie producer in Hollywood for more than 13 years before he and his wife Susan made a decision to leave Tinseltown for the bucolic confines of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Both parties had long expressed a true fondness for wine and 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 rating from the Wine Spectator and the rest of the story is, as they say, history.
Today, Collier Falls Winery farms some 20 acres in Dry Creek Valley’s stepped environs and their wines have continued raking in numerous awards and accolades from both competitions and in trade publications. 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 have been very fortunate to have maintained that goal and remain a small, boutique-style winery. It has always been my main passion to grow great grapes, while making wines has always been a secondary concern. Today we sell almost 50% of our grapes to our neighbors and I’m totally fine with that. We have also become a sustainability-oriented company and have received an official designation last year for Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.”
To that end, Collier Falls winery has designated 63 acres of its land as protected Open Space to ensure the ongoing preservation of wildlife corridors and its diverse forest habitat.
Part of Collier Falls Winery’s success can be attributed to the fact that all of its vineyards lie above 1,000- foot level and are therefore above the fog line that envelopes much of Dry Creek Valley each morning. “Our vineyards get 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 get early shade that creates an ideal temperature balance for the grapes — sun develops ripe flavors and cooler periods help the fruit achieve balance and complexity. It’s definitely a win-win situation for us.”
Barry Collier is also quite proud that his son Joshua has remained a part of the business. Joshua handles all the company’s internet sales, keeps up the winery’s website and produces all Collier Falls Winery’s newsletters. Regrettably, his 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.
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. ‘I’m 77-years-old at this time and 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 (The French Laundry), Wolfgang Puck (Spago), Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s), Charlie Palmer (Aureole) and Gordon Ramsey (Restaurant Gordon Ramsey) carry and feature his wines. To any serious wine drinker, that array of famous chefs and restaurant owners is hard to beat.
We know our Platinum Wine Club members will enjoy this incredible Zinfandel from Collier Falls Winery in the manner it was intended by its gracious owner, Barry Collier. Cheers!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I feel very honored that our Collier Falls 2014 Hillside Estate Zinfandel has been chosen as a Platinum Club selection for 2020. I take personal pride in our wines since I am both the grape grower and winemaker at Collier Falls since our founding in 1996.
You've probably heard the phrase "great wines start with the farmer's footprints". I think of this often as I sustainably farm our 19 acres of vineyards planted on 40-degree hillside slopes rising to 1,000 feet above the Dry Creek Valley.
Collier Falls makes estate wines. That means we never buy fruit and only make wine from grapes that we manage on our own vineyard. Our wines are 100% varietal and are intended to reflect the specific characteristics of each grape, and the terroir in which they are grown.
To say we are a boutique winery is an understatement. We produce less than 1,500 total cases from five different varietals - Zinfandel, Cabernet, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Primitivo. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor as much as we enjoy growing the fruit and making the wine.