Wine Country Personality: August 2011 Archives

Wine Country Personality: Bret LeRolland

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The Wine Carriage - Wine Tasting via Horse & Carriage with Gourmet Lunch
Healdsburg, CA


wcPersonality_WineCarriage_Bret.jpgBret LeRolland is no ordinary tour operator. He's a different kind of guy with a different kind of business. The Wine Carriage is the quintessential off-the-beaten-track winery and tasting tour -- from the conveyance itself, a shade-top carriage drawn by two giant draft horses, to the personalized service, local knowledge and preferred treatment that a tour with Bret guarantees.

Riding with Bret and his matched Percherons, Duke and Pepper, is not only a thrill, it's a real backstage look into the world of California wine. He knows the history of the region and its characters, the lifecycle of the vines, climate, geology, and wine. In addition to a certificate in Biological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz, Bret has experience in farming and logging salvaged redwoods with draft horses, as well as crossing several states on horseback.  As he puts it, "I always knew I wanted to work with horses".  But he had to go pretty far out of his way to do it.

The son of a New York City cop, Bret grew up in the Big Apple, often visiting his grandmother in Harlem.  Growing up with such an urban bias, he decided to try something different.  Relocating to the left coast, Bret worked on ships in Alaska before moving to California to study at UCSC, and later attended the California School of Circus Arts to learn Chinese acrobatics and fire spinning.

Wine Country Personality: Pierre Ehret

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flamingoResort_susan_n_pierre_ehret.jpgWhen asked where he calls home, Pierre Ehret proudly lists two - his main residence in  Tegernsee, Germany and the Sonoma and Napa Wine Country. His life to date has been spent  on both soils. In 1980, he moved from Berlin to Santa Rosa to attend the junior college. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Economics, and moved to Fontainebleau, France  to attend INSEAD to earn his MBA.

 After working in the" big apple "after his graduate studies he returned in 1989
to Santa Rosa to run the family owned Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, a historical landmark building that combines a retro resort architectural style with all the most modern amenities expected at a top class resort.
 
"I am fortunate to be able to raise my family, work and spend time in two of the most beautiful places in the world, Bavaria Germany and the Northern California Wine Country," Ehret said. "It's also a privilege to bring the wonderful characteristics of both places to my wine and hospitality businesses. The traditional Old World charm, organization and value blended with California's casualness, glamour and diversity. Plus the quality and creativity both cultures share in their distinctive ways."

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