Ilsley Winery Trade Page

Ilsley Vineyards

Heather Pyle, winemaker for Ilsley Vineyards, was born in Scotland and moved with her family to follow her father's life-long dream to live, work, and raise his family in the U.S.

Heather found her passion for wine in college at U.C. Davis. In 1985, she completed her Masters in Winemaking at Davis and accepted a harvest internship at The Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley. That internship was the beginning of a long learning, tasting, blending, and consequently rewarding career with the "first family" of California wine. "My time at Mondavi did more to shape my views on wine and food than anything else.  In the 80's and early nineties, Mondavi was the ultimate wine university where tasting the world's wines and talking to world famous winemakers was an everyday occurrence,' Heather says. Mr. Mondavi (Robert) was in relentless pursuit of wines that were "as powerful as a Pavarotti and as soft as a baby's bottom", Heather remembers. She caught that fever early on and still believes that wines should be balanced, seamless and above all drinkable. 

In May of 2001 Heather started a new chapter of her career, applying her vast experience to boutique, family-owned wineries in Napa and throughout California. Ilsley is one. Heather's role as winemaker at Ilsley is particularly sweet because of the nearly 30 year friendship has had with the family, starting with Edgar Ilsley, the second-generation Ilsley who infused David, Ernie and Janice with his passion for grapes and wine. Heather met Edgar at Robert Mondavi Winery in the mid-80's when Ilsley fruit was sold exclusively to Robert Mondavi. Mr. Ilsley was always in favor of Heather joining the Ilsley's as winemaker. That became a reality in 2009, with Heather's first Ilsley vintage.

Heather reflected, "Our winemaking philosophies and styles are very similar, in that both the Ilsley family and I pursue the perfect expression of the grapes they have grown for nearly 60 years."

Thank you for enjoying our hand crafted wines!