Gary Farrell (born 1952) is a California winemaker, specializing in the production of Pinot noir and Chardonnay from Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. Until 2013 he was producing his luxury line of wines under the Alysian (ah-liss-ee-uhn) brand, which he co-founded in 2007 with investment banker Bill Hambrecht and Denise Sanders.
Early life and education
Gary Farrell was born in Pasadena, California on April 20, 1952.
His scholastic interests in Political Science and Criminal Law led him to Sonoma State University in 1970. This relocation to Sonoma County placed him in the heart of one of California's most promising wine regions, and this local industry prompted a new career path for Farrell in wine production.
Gary Farrell's early mentors included Joe Rochioli, Robert Stemmler, Davis Bynum and Tom Dehlinger. After several years of apprenticing, he landed his first head-winemaker position at Davis Bynum Winery in 1978. Soon thereafter, he produced inaugural releases for Rochioli Winery, Limerick Lane and Moshin Vineyards.
During the mid-1990s, Farrell purchased land and developed Starr Ridge and Cresta Ridge vineyards. In 1998, he constructed Pinot noir facilities on a secluded hilltop near Healdsburg for the production of his wines.
In 2004, Farrell sold his namesake “Gary Farrell” brand and winery to Allied Domecq. Four years later, he sold his vineyard properties to Jeremy Baker.
In 2007, he partnered with longtime colleagues Bill Hambrecht and Denise Sanders to micro-produce Pinot noir and Chardonnay under the new Alysian label.