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WINEMAKER: DANIELLE CYROT
Average Farm Girl?
When winemakers interview for jobs, they typically bring
along a bottle of the best wine they’ve made at some other point
in their career. But when Danielle Cyrot interviewed at Napa Valley’s
venerable Stags’ Leap Winery in 1999, she was just a few years
out of college. So she brought winemaker Robert Brittan the next best
thing: a bottle of her home-brewed beer.
eclectic early experiences turned out to be ideal preparation for her
current position as winemaker for TwoTone Farms. The founders wanted
to launch a Napa Valley-based brand with a fresh personality, including
screw-cap packaging. They had the vineyards and the grapes. What they
needed was a serious winemaker who could still relate to young, adventurous
“You will taste exactly the wine I made, without
any cork taint,” Cyrot declares about her screw-capped wine. “People
need to become aware that wine can taste better with screw-caps and we’re
trying to make that education fun.” For example, TwoTone Farms’ marketing
campaign includes a series of music CDs (“I got my two cents in
there,” Cyrot says of the eclectic musical selections).
The first TwoTone Farms releases (made with Tres Goetting, now departed) were a 2001 Napa Valley Merlot and 2002 Napa Valley Chardonnay. A Napa Cabernet Sauvignon joins the line-up this year. Cyrot’s also still working at Stags’ Leap Winery, while remodeling her house and learning to play golf. Still, she finds time to pour her TwoTone Farms wine for the public at fairs and farmers’ markets. “I enjoy it,” she says, and laughs once more. “I like people, and I don’t mind talkin’ about wine!”