Merus and Foley Johnson winemaker, Michael Beaulac, a Vermont native, joined the Foley Family Wines team in 2021, bringing over 30 years of experience working with premier luxury wineries.
Michael began his winemaking career when a chance opportunity presented itself while he was running a Portland, Maine jazz dinner club. There, Beaulac’s career pivoted when Tim Murphy of Murphy-Goode offered him a job one night, partly in jest. The opportunity was one that Beaulac was looking for, and he accepted his offer and moved to Sonoma County, California to work as a Murphy-Goode Winery harvest intern in 1989.
Beaulac spent an interim period at Laurier Winery in Sonoma’s Carneros region working as a cellar master with Merry Edwards from 1989 through 1991. This opportunity gave way to becoming assistant winemaker back at Murphy-Goode, where he spent four years developing new varietal programs for Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. In 1997, Michael Beaulac spent four years as winemaker for Markham Vineyards in St. Helena. Beaulac took his expertise to the next level, becoming Vice President of St. Supéry Vineyards in Rutherford in 2001, working closely with Michel Roland and Denis Dubourdieu. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the Napa Valley, Beaulac became General Manager and winemaker at Napa’s Pine Ridge Vineyards in 2009 where he oversaw the estate’s 160 acres. Beaulac credits his development as a winemaker to working with Michel Roland and Pine Ridge’s high standard for producing quality wines.
Michael’s winemaking philosophy starts in the vineyard. Truly knowing the land, soil, and climate allows him to showcase the exceptionally pure qualities of the diverse vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley. He says of his philosophy for winemaking, “Be proactive in the vineyards. Let the fruit find its balance. Do not force the wine to be anything it’s not. Let it express its typicity. Once in the winery the wine should be touched as little as possible, in a perfect vintage, we really shouldn’t have to do anything.”
Beaulac currently resides outside of Santa Rosa. When he is not in the vineyards, he enjoys hikes with his wife Cathy and their German Shepherd. He also loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen with different recipes.
Country born: United States
Years in the wine industry: 30+ years