Laely Heron is the owner and founder of Heron Wines. She is a woman who has lived around the world, sharing cultures and experiences with her family and friends in many far-flung places. Through the course of these adventures, one of the things she has come to value most is the moment of sitting down at the table to share in food and wine and most important, the camaraderie of those around her. The most poignant conversations and moving memories for her have been shared over a glass of wine. It is for this reason that she has involved herself in making wine. “I cannot think of a more diverse, creative, and satisfying world in which to follow my passions,” she says. After spending years in France deep in the study of the nuts and bolts of winemaking and oenology, Laely felt compelled to see the other end of the spectrum – how wines get from the vintner to the table. She began work at Lindeman’s, helping them crack the US market and establish themselves as a leading importer of Australian wines in the United States; she then moved to Copenhagen, Denmark and began a small import business. From this venture she brought California and other New World wines to the Scandinavian market. Heron also opened a restaurant in Copenhagen that became known for its progressive menu, wine pairings, tastings, and wine education programs. This was a way for her to express her love of the experience of the table and to share her passion with others. Some time later, Laely returned to the States directed by another vision. She wanted to make beautiful, well-crafted wines that everybody could enjoy. The idea of creating special occasion wines at everyday prices was not new – but she was certain that she could do it better. She continued traveling, trying to locate the best of a combination of elements: great vineyards, great people and great prices. She found some like-minded souls in France and began her first producing adventure. To sell the wine she literally walked around San Francisco with a bottle of Heron Merlot in her purse, stopping in on restaurants and asking them to sit with her and try the wine. Since that small and exhausting start, Laely has grown her brand and expanded it to include a wonderful Chardonnay and California Merlot. “I still like to visit with those same wine lovers who have since become friends and mentors, she says “We sit over a glass of vino, and share in that experience I value the most.” Fortunately, Laely’s journey is far from over. She vows to continue bringing more fabulous wines to the market and to share with everyone the pleasures that wine can bring to the table. So this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for Laely Heron and the few like-minded souls in California who refuse to pass off an excellent $15 bottle of California Merlot on us for $50 – now isn’t that refreshing?