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From Napa to Nevada City

We are excited to welcome our new
winemaker, Hal Hanifl, to the team.

When Nevada City Winery opened in 1980, it was the first winery to operate in Nevada County since the 1950s. Since then, we have made over 600 wines and served thousands of customers, locals and tourists alike. In the 41 years since opening, we have had but three Winemakers, the latter being employed for the last 29 years. Mark Foster officially retired in November 2021, leaving behind a legacy of award-winning wines, a leadership in local winemaking, and big shoes to fill. In the uncertain times we live in today, the odds of finding someone to fill those shoes was a little daunting. However, we are confident that we have found the perfect replacement.

Hal Hanifl started his career in the Paso Robles area of San Luis Obispo County in 1994 where he got decidedly interested in the production of wine and the vast cultural influence it has throughout the world. Very soon after, he started his winemaking education by attending the highly regarded Enology program at the California State University at Fresno. While attending Fresno State, Hal participated in two different winemaking internships. The first was at Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, and the next in Tattendorf, Austria where he spent six months working at Johanneshof Reinisch – 30 miles south of Vienna. This reinforced his love for the amazing culture of wine, food, and the hard work that goes into them.

After graduating, Hal got the opportunity to work at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, CA. For eight years, he honed his production and winemaking skills under the direction of Winemakers Steve Reeder and Margo Van Staaveren. This prepared him for the great opportunity to work as the Assistant Winemaker for Columbia Winery, located in the Yakama Valley of Eastern Washington, under the direction of Winemaker Kerry Norton. Hal not only seized this opportunity to create some amazing wines but also to hone his public relations skills and build lasting relationships with vendors, growers, and winery customers.

Hal returned to the North Bay Area of San Francisco in 2012 where he spent the next nine years in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at various wineries including Silenus Winery, ConeTech, Adler Fels, Clos Pegase, Laird Family Estate, and Dunnewood Vineyards in Ukiah. 
In December 2021, Hal Hanifl joined the Nevada City Winery team as a 25-year veteran of the wine industry. He brings with him a vast and diverse array of work experience focused in production and winemaking that is sure to benefit the entire region.

“It's a real team effort here at Nevada City Winery and I'm looking forward to being a part of it while creating some amazing wines. It is my objective to make wine that is very memorable and different from the mainstream, while still being very approachable, lively, food friendly, and fun to drink.” – Hal Hanifl, Jr.

Hal's experiences and honed winemaking skills have been invaluable in preparing him for his new position, and we could not be more thrilled to have him. 

Please help welcome Hal by stopping by for a visit!

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