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Industry Icon Doug Fletcher Announces Retirement

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NAPA, CA (March 7, 2019) – Established in 1947, fourth generation family owned and operated Terlato Wine Group (TWG) today announced the retirement of Doug Fletcher, one of the wine industry’s most respected winemakers, after 32 years of dedicated service. 

After graduating from the University of Oregon, Fletcher started his winemaking career at Martin Ray in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. In the mid-1970s he went on to help Steltzner Vineyards launch a small winery in the Stags Leap District. In 1986 he joined Chimney Rock Winery, overseeing the property and managing the replanting of the original estate vineyard, as well as 65 acres of subsequent plantings.

The Terlato family became partners of Chimney Rock Winery in 2001 and fully acquired the property in 2004. In 2006, Fletcher was promoted to Vice President of Winemaking; overseeing the Winemakers and Viticulturists for all of the Terlato’s family owned brands including Alderbrook, Chimney Rock, Rutherford Hill, Sanford Winery & Vineyards, and Terlato Family Vineyards. Fletcher was also a consultant to Terlato’s joint venture with Michel Chapoutier in Australia. 

During his tenure at Chimney Rock, Fletcher created an asymmetrical trellising system, which Dr. Richard Smart – the world-renowned viticulturist – dubbed the “Fletcher lyre” and implemented a “balanced vine” method of grape growing, designed to set only the amount of fruit which a vine can ripen. These innovative methodologies were widely adopted by the wine industry and quickly earned him a stellar reputation as the go-to source for all matters regarding grape growing and winemaking. Fletcher has also served on the board of directors and as president of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association and held similar positions with the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group.

Anthony Terlato, Chairman of Terlato Wine Group said, “We are pleased to have had Doug as a colleague for nearly 20 years. Early on when our family became involved in the art of producing wine, we told Doug what our vision was as vintners, and he helped us execute it. He hired and directed winemakers, chose root stocks and clones, supervised the planting of hundreds of acres of vines at Chimney Rock in Stags Leap District, Rutherford Hill’s estate vineyard, Sanford and Sanford & Benedict, Terlato Vineyards in Colli Orientali del Friuli Italy and Klipsun on Red Mountain in Washington State. He essentially organized each of the properties as we purchased them.” Mr. Terlato noted that every year these brands now earn multiple 90+ point ratings from influential critics. On a personal note he added, “We look forward to continuing our personal relationship with Doug and Janet and wish Doug the very best for a long and healthy retirement.”

Not one to sit idle, Fletcher has big plans for his future which include a deeper exploration in to gourmet baking, traveling to the few places on earth he and his wife Janet have not yet travelled to and working on Janet’s critically acclaimed blog, Planet Cheese. In addition, with more than 40 years of wine production expertise – literally from the ground to the glass – Fletcher looks forward to starting a consulting business, specializing in providing strategic guidance to small vineyard and winery owners as well as helping to professionally develop and mentor their employees.

About Terlato Wine Group 

Terlato Wines has a portfolio of more than 85 wine brands from world class wine producers in more than a dozen countries and is the leading marketer of wines $20 and up in the U.S. Terlato Wines garners more 90+ ratings than any wine company in the world and is a division of the Terlato Wine Group, the parent company comprising several small businesses specializing in the marketing and production of exceptional wines. Owned and operated by the Terlato family for four generations, the Group also includes the family’s winery investments and partnerships in some of the world’s most esteemed wine regions including: Napa Valley; Sonoma County and Sta. Rita Hills in California; Red Mountain in Washington; Victoria, Australia; the Rhône Valley in France; Friuli, Italy and; Montalcino, Italy. For more information, please visit www.terlatowines.com.

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