Optima Winery is located in picturesque Healdsburg, California, where it annually produces 4,500 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Zinfandel Port and Petite Sirah. Within the next few years it plans to include GewÃ¼rztraminer in its lineup. The limited production allows everyone in the Duffy family (Mike and Nicol, with sons Danny, Chris, Tyler and Will) to be personally involved in all aspects of the operation. And it enables Mike, as winemaker, to employ winemaking techniques such as counter-pressure racking, extended maceration and unfiltered wines.
The Optima label made its first appearance in 1984 on 400 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Over the years, Mike worked full time as winemaker for two other wineries, most notably Trefethen in Napa Valley and Field Stone in Alexander Valley. Gradually, Optima's case production increased and Mike expanded into different varietals. In 1997, Mike left Field Stone to operate Optima full-time in order to spend more time with his family. 17-year old Danny has recently assumed the role of junior winemaker, with his younger brothers Chris and Tyler eager to pitch in and help.
"For us, it's totally a family affair," says Nicol. "Each bottle that leaves the winery represents our hard work, our dreams and our devotion to each other."