The term "garagistes" originated in Bordeaux in the 1980's and referred to a group of innovative winemakers who produced exceptional wines in their garages rather than in grand chateaux. Like the renegade French Garagistes, Taft Street began in a garage in 1979, stressing quality without pretense. Mike Tierney with his brother John and Mike Martini turned the Tierney family garage into a winery: barrels, stainless tanks, a basket press and hand corker. With a little quality control and an ever growing following who loved the wine, the house and garage on Taft Street gained a reputation of its own.
In the early 80's, they moved the operation to a town of Forestville in Russian River. Mike Tierney during this time was still working as a teacher by day and selling wine via his pickup at night. During the 1990's their distribution grew nationally with awards for their wines popping up in Wine Spectator and other magazines. However, the focus never derailed from producing wines from grapes sourced by nearby vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Read more about the Taft Street Story as told by Mike Tierney.
Taft Street continues in the Garagistes traditions to this day, producing limited production, handcrafted wines from select Sonoma County vineyards.
About Melissa Kuhn: After moving to Sonoma County in 2005, Melissa decided to transfer her environmental laboratory skills to the wine industry. She fell in love with the wine industry after working as a lab intern, and in 2006 took a permanent lab job at Owl Ridge Wine Services, a custom crush winery with over 30 clients producing Sonoma County wines. In 2011, Melissa was promoted to Production Manager at Owl Ridge. Working directly under John Tierney, Taft Street’s first winemaker, she ran the winery’s day-to-day operations. In this role, Melissa was exposed to over 20 prominent Sonoma County winemakers including Anthony Austin, Hugh Chapelle, Kerry Damskey, Greg LaFollette, and Ginny Lambrix. By observing and executing their winemaking directions, Melissa learned various winemaking techniques. Melissa is excited to use her winemaking knowledge to continue crafting outstanding wines as part of the Taft Street family. When not at the winery, she enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, kayaking, and camping with her husband and three adult children.
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