Heather Pyle-Lucas

Heather Pyle-Lucas

Ilsey Vineyards (Winemaker)

Lucas Winery (Winemaker & Owner)

Heather Pyle-Lucas is an owner, grower, and winemaker. She was born in 1960 in Scotland to British and Australian parents, who moved to California when Heather was eight years old. Heather wanted to be a veterinarian, went to the University of California, Davis, and spent the next six years there. As a 22-year-old student, she realized that winemaking, not caring for animals, was the career that offered her the perfect blend of science and art.

In 1985, she left in the middle of graduate school to work on a harvest at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. In 1988, she was put in charge of the winery’s Pinot Noir program, and from 1990 to 1996, the winery’s Cabernet and Merlot programs, including the Mondavi reserve wines. In 1996, she oversaw Mondavi’s La Famiglia program of producing Italian varietal wines in California. After 17 wonderful years, Heather decided to leave Mondavi in 2001 to become a consulting winemaker for start-up wineries in the Lodi appellation, Napa Valley, and throughout the rest of the state.

Heather has combined her winemaking consultancy with tending her own two-acre vineyard. She is also the winemaker for Ilsley Vineyards, and Lucas Winery and is the consulting winemaker for St. Jorge Winery and Acquiesce Winery. She was also the winemaker for Vicarmont until its owners decided to focus on viticulture rather than winemaking in 2017. Ilsey offers two wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot; Lucas Winery produces Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, among other varietals.

Heather describes herself as a traditionalist whose own vineyard and winegrowing yields organically grown grapes. Her mantra is to make seamless wines that are distinctive and age-worthy. She is appreciative of the many mentors she has had over the years, which include Tim and Robert Mondavi.

When she’s not doing what she loves professionally, Heather is an enthusiastic runner, traveler, and animal lover. She enjoys the outdoors and good wine and food. Her husband David has been there to help her through all the tough times with humor and empathy. Heather and David have three children, all now grown.