Monroy Wines is the passion project of two wine enthusiasts – winemaker Adolfo Hernandez, and his wife, Nohelia. Both grew up around wine, albeit in distinctly different backgrounds, but with the same reverence and respect for the efforts involved in every bottle.
Adolfo was named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine “as one of the Latinx experts changing the face of American wine.” A pianist and a biochemist with a love of great food, he was naturally drawn to winemaking’s ageless combination of art and science. A career in luxury winemaking has given him the combined experiences to offer distinctive wines of his own composition.
Adolfo started making wine with his Guatemalan dad when he was seven years old in Saudi Arabia. Adolfo’s family moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the 80’s; a seaside city famous for its culture, Red Sea diving, and souks filled with endless gold. It also housed large communities of expats employed by Saudi Arabian Airlines, oil companies, and defense contractors. While expats were afforded an extra dose of freedom within their closed compounds, alcohol was strictly banned to everyone within the Kingdom. That was of no deterrence to Adolfo’s father. Wine was a necessity for the dinner table, and he would make it himself with the help of his son. Their source was Greek grape juice that coincidentally was sold in glass flip-top bottles. They would empty the bottles into plastic carboys in one of their bathtubs, toss in some sugar and yeast, and let the juice ferment away. Later Adolfo and his father would bottle the wine back into the glass flip-top bottles. Adolfo makes no claims for the quality of the wine produced, but he can say that they became a staple at their compound’s many ex-pat parties.
In 1997 Adolfo and his family moved to California. He went on to graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in molecular biology and began a career as a chemist in organic pesticide production. After a few years in the field, he made the switch into winemaking. Clos du Bois in Geyserville gave Adolfo his ‘in’ to the wine industry as a laboratory supervisor prior to the 2006 vintage. This is also where he metNohelia, his wife.
From there Adolfo spent four years at Araujo (now known as Eisele Vineyard), with other professional stops along the way at Checkerboard Vineyards on Diamond Mountain with Martha McClellan, Pahlmeyer in St. Helena, until finally ending up at the esteemed Russian River pinot noir house Benovia. Concurrently Adolfo has had, and continues to have, subliminal experiences of traveling to different wine regions worldwide to taste various unique expressions of place.
Adolfo and Nohelia started Monroy Wines with the first Cabernet Sauvignon vintage made in 2018.
Combining techniques learned from top Napa Valley cabernet houses and Russian River pinot noir estates, Monroy Wines creates classically-styled cabernet sauvignon of elegance, subtlety, and finesse. Adolfo incorporates a rare wine making technique and barrel ferments all his wines. Barrel fermentation was a technique Adolfo learned at Checkerboard Vineyards. This method is labor intensive and requires special skills compared to placing the wine to ferment in stainless steel tanks.
Adolfo and Nohelia’s first date was over a flight of Spanish white wines at the original Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa. Since then they have embarked on numerous trips driven by their reverence and enthusiasm for wine and exceptional foods. They take great joy in sharing such adventures with similarly passionate people around the globe.
Nohelia is a wine country native whose family is rooted into the beautiful surroundings of Sonoma County. She grew up in Healdsburg and has enjoyed watching it evolve over the years with the growth of the California wine industry. Nohelia follows her father’s footsteps, who has also spent his life working with and around wine. Her childhood memories are of walking through wine cellars, taking in the wine aromas and fermentation smells, and listening to the bottling lines. Nohelia has an extensive history on the business side of the wine industry which makes her the perfect complement to her husband and winemaker, Adolfo.