Winemaker, Larkmead Vineyards
Avery Heelan was born and raised in New England. Fascinated with understanding the basis of all living things, Avery studied Chemistry and earned a B.S. from Northeastern University in Boston. During her time in Boston, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry, first in drug discovery, then on the marketing side. Although fulfilling, Avery was growing more and more interested in the fermentation of foods and beverages. Good food and wine were a centerpiece of family meals growing up and her parents loved visiting Napa. On one fateful visit to Napa Valley, a local in the industry recommended she look into the University of California, Davis and within a few short months, Avery applied, was accepted, and moved to California. She fell in love with wine earning her M.S. in Agriculture and Environmental Chemistry, with a specialization in Viticulture & Enology.
Her career began as a Harvest Cellar Intern at Cade Estate Winery in St. Helena. Avery gained valuable experience working abroad as Vintage Enologist at Capel Vale Winery in Western Australia and as Vintage Assistant Winemaker at Domaine Yves Boyer Martenot in Meursault. Returning to Napa she served as the Cellar Master at Screaming Eagle where she assisted in all aspects of winery operations including the vineyards and ranch. She later received her WSET Level 3 advanced certification and studied the Terroir and Vineyard Management program in Bordeaux, France.
Avery joined Larkmead in 2019 as Associate Winemaker working alongside esteemed former winemaker Dan Petroski. She was instrumental in crafting the winery’s celebrated Cabernet Sauvignons managing the cellar and day-to-day wine production. Employing her wealth of knowledge and scientific background, Avery explored the data and trends in Larkmead’s history, examining grape growing, fermentation management, elevage, and bottle aging over time. She also helped establish Larkmead’s Research Block and develop the winery’s proprietary yeast strain. In July 2021, Avery was promoted to winemaker overseeing all winemaking and vineyards, bringing her keen eye and extensive experience to the wines as the historic estate looks ahead to its next 125 years.
Country born: United States
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years