While the history of Failla (pronounced FAY-LA) is short, it is not without its complexities. Our first vintage release was as Failla-Jordan in 1998; the label taking its name from husband-and-wife team of winemaker Ehren Jordan and fellow debtor Anne-Marie Failla. That year, Failla’s first release of Alban Vineyard Viognier (Edna Valley) and Que Syrah Syrah (Sonoma Coast) coincided with planting the first blocks at our Estate Vineyard in Cazadero. The first Estate releases would be years away.
Ehren loves to experiment with his favorite varietals, coaxing out their various incarnations from different climates (cool, cooler, and coolest), soil types, and rootstock.
Ehren Jordan’s wine career began in Washington DC, while he was studying art history and classical archeology at George Washington University. Like many college students, Ehren needed a part-time job. So he walked just a few blocks away to Bell Wine & Spirits, where he convinced the owners to hire him as a stock boy. He enjoyed his time at Bell’s and learned a thing or two about wine, but didn’t yet realize that wine would become his life’s work.
After graduating in 1989, Ehren headed to Denver – working that first summer and fall as a sales rep for a large wine distributor. Like many 20-somethings in Colorado, he headed to the ski slopes that winter, figuring he’d ski all day and work at night. He landed a job at a restaurant in Aspen, and by the end of that first season, he was both managing the restaurant and heading up its wine program.
The love of wine started for Darren Palace many years ago, beginning with the admiration for the feelings he would get during family gatherings. In 2008, Darren quit his full time banking career to help a dear friend from college at Red Hook Winery in pursuing “Serious Enology in Brooklyn.” During the first 6 vintages at the winery he worked his way from cellar rat, to Assistant Winemaker eventually becoming General Manager. He made wine alongside Christopher Nicolson as well as his mentors Abraham Schoener and Robert Foley – learning a great deal from their individual styles in winemaking. After leaving Red Hook in 2014 Darren fulfilled his reality to make wine on two coasts, helping winemaker friends in California. Darren joined the Failla team in 2015, and spends his time in Brooklyn focusing on spreading the gospel of Failla and its honest wines.
Benjamin Richardson comes to Failla locked and loaded with a wine knowledge from various stints as a sommelier at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the US such as Frasca (Boulder, CO) and The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena, CA). He not only helps guide our staff, but creates magical experiences for our guests. Benjamin joins Failla Wines after 12 years in the high-end restaurant industry. As an Advanced Sommelier, he brings his passion for wine and his craft of developing unique and meaningful experiences to the Failla team as their Director of Hospitality.
Saint James Seafood
Chef Matt Kelly’s St. James is a seafood lover’s paradise that’s worth the wait. Matt Kelly has the Midas touch. Everything he has touched as a chef and restaurateur — Vin Rouge, Mateo, Mothers & Sons Trattoria, Lucky’s Delicatessen — has turned to best-in-class gold.
It’s no surprise, then, that when the four-time James Beard semifinalist announced plans to open a seafood restaurant, it was big news. Or that, months after Kelly opened Saint James in the old Fishmonger’s building, lines continue to form out front.
No wonder. The place is a seafood lover’s paradise.