Meet Our WineMaker: Gerardo Espinosa
Inspired by his family’s agricultural roots, Gerardo Espinosa began his winemaking journey by making wine using his family’s grapes. In 2008, he launched his own brand, Vinedos Aurora, which has since been rebranded to Anaya Vineyards. In 2015, he and business partner Mark Nureddine opened Lodi Crush, a custom crush facility.
Since then, Gerardo has devoted his full-time attention, imagination, creativity, and talent to the art of winemaking. In April 2020, he moved Lodi Crush into a larger facility in downtown Lodi, where he helps craft award-winning wines for Campos Family Vineyards.
How did you get started working with Campos Family Vineyards?
Gerardo (G): I had been working with the prior owner of the vineyard, and I was introduced to Ric and Michelle Campos when they purchased the property. We immediately connected and agreed I would help them develop their brand.
Our goal when we started working together was to introduce an intimacy to the wines. I wanted to focus heavily on quality, and make wines as unique and special as their family.
How would you describe your approach to winemaking?
G: I like to focus on the quality of the farming so that when the grapes get to the winery, very little intervention is needed with the wines. In fact, all of the grapes are hand-picked because I want only the best to make it in.
I also prioritize sustainability – which is why I’ve helped Campos Family Vineyards become a Lodi Rules Certified Vineyard.
Is there anything that comes to mind that you’d like to share about the Contra Costa wine region that people might not know about?
G: The soil! The soil is soft, rich, and high-quality. The grapes grown here make wines that are so flavorful and complex.
Most of us are glued to our computers all day long. What does your typical day look like?
G: It depends on the season. During harvest, I’m in the vineyard most of the day. Walking the vineyards is always very important to me.
In the off-season, which is now, there’s little activity in the vineyards besides pruning. So when weather permits, I like to go out there and see the pruning and how the crew is working.
Right now, we’re bottling, so I’ll check in on how that process is going. I put the wines together, make sure they’re nice and solid, and see if they need any additions or blending.
So every day is different! Even though I have great staff, I like to be hands-on and involved in the process.
That leads to the next question. What do you love most about your job?
G: I love that I don’t have to go to a desk every morning. I love that it’s different every day. I love the connection with nature. There’s so much that goes into making wine, and seeing the process from start to finish is incredibly rewarding.
What would we find if we took a look at your personal wine collection?
G: I have such a variety! My wines range from very affordable to pretty expensive, and they come from all over the world. I like to explore and taste different things. When I drink wine, I like to think about how it was made and explore different kinds of winemaking. So you will see a good mix of varieties and regions.
How would you describe Campos Family Vineyards wines to someone who has yet to try them?
G: What I like about Campos is the elegance of the wines. The rich soils in the Delta make for such interesting and complex flavors.
It’s wine you can feel good about drinking, too. Most wines have a meaningful story behind them, or a cause they donate to when you purchase them. For example, a portion of the proceeds from Gigi’s Blend goes to the Temple Grandin – Eustacia Cutler Autism Fund. Lou gives to the ALS CURE Project.