Like father, like daughter

By Matt Villano

Three generations of the same family crush grapes

All commercial wineries must be bonded to sell wine in the state of California. But a family-owned winery in the Anderson Valley is operating with the power of an additional bond: a paternal one.

The winery, Fathers & Daughters Cellars, represents three generations of the same family — two fathers and three daughters.

Guy Pacurar is one of the fathers and is essentially running the show. Pacurar, 64, has two daughters: Taylor Lyons, 35; and Ella Pacurar, 11. His wife, Sarah Schoeneman, is 53 and is the daughter of 82-year-old Kurt Schoeneman, who owns the famous Ferrington Vineyard in a town called Boonville.

Ferrington is renowned for premium pinot noir. The senior Schoeneman has been selling grapes to well-respected wineries such as Williams-Selyem and Arista for decades. When Ella Pacurar arrived, her parents decided it was time to leverage some of the grapes to make a wine that would commemorate her birth. The wine grew from there.

“We had always thrown around the idea of having our own wine because of the grapes my dad grows,” says Sarah Schoeneman. “We didn’t want a Ferrington label because we didn’t want to compete with the wineries who bought our grapes. So we went with a name that described what we were instead.”

The first vintage was 60 cases of a pinot named Ella’s Reserve, bottles with an image of a father holding hands with a young daughter on the front. Over the next decade Fathers & Daughters used Ferrington fruit to produce its flagship pinot, as well as other varieties such as sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and a gewurztraminer.

Production has stayed small — Fathers & Daughters made 500 cases in 2021 and bottled about 750 cases last year.

Everyone in the family is involved with the wine in some way: Kurt Schoeneman in growing the grapes, everyone else in selling and marketing it. Pacurar and Sarah Schoeneman conduct tastings by appointment on a hill at the back of the vineyard.

“I look at it as a stair-step approach,” Kurt says. “We’re ready to grow, but we’re all about growing slowly, in a way we can manage ourselves. We know who our audience is. We know we’ve got a good product. Now it’s just about getting [the wine] introduced to more people. That’s my objective, to broaden our reach outside of the immediate area. I love knowing we’ll be doing it as a family.”

Matt Villano is a writer and editor based in Healdsberg, Calif.

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