Winery profile: Gilroy winemaker got into the business by chance and is loving it
Ted Medeiros worked at Sycamore Creek before starting family winery
Published in the May 11-25, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Robert Airoldi
Ted Medeiros never considered himself much of a wine aficionado. Then while working in San Leandro in the late 1990s, his boss took him and his wife on a wine-tasting trip to Napa.
“I was talking to the tasting room manager and had a glass in front of me,” he recalled. “It was the first time I had wine and didn’t take a sip for about 20 minutes because the aroma was something I’d never smelled before. It transformed me.”
That’s when he and his wife Tammie — who he has been married to for 31 years — decided to plant vines on her parent’s property in west Morgan Hill. That led to the conception of Medeiros Family Wines located in the former Thomas Kruse Winery site in Gilroy’s eastern foothills.
“It was a Bordeaux I was smelling and so we planted Bordeaux,” he said of his initial foray in 2000 into the wine business. “My loves are Cabernet and Bordeaux.”
Enjoying the outdoors and working on cultivating the grapes during those early years, the couple made a lot of mistakes along the way, learning from books and classes at the University of California, Davis.
In the third season they got their first harvest. “We got some beautiful petite Bordeaux and Cabernet fruit,” Medeiros said.
He tried to sell the grapes, but could only sell a portion to a few small home winemakers. With the extra fruit, he decided to try and make his own wines. To fast-track his learning, he made eight different Cabernets — some with different yeasts, or different maturation times, or different temperatures. He even had his nieces and nephews crush a batch.
“I guess I was just trying to figure out how to do it,” he said.
The next year he again sold grapes to a few winemakers. Using what worked the first year, he followed the same process as the previous year with the leftover grapes but changed the variables, again making eight Cabernets. “Everything was tasting so good,” he said.
After working several jobs, he became the winemaker at Sycamore Creek in 2005. When he left to start his own winery, many of the vineyard owners he purchased grapes from came with him. He also bought a few more.
The family of vineyards that make up the Medeiros Family Wine portfolio range from Old Vine Zinfandel in the Coyote Valley, Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon in the western foothills of Morgan Hill, to the newly planted Bordeaux sites in Gilroy featuring Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc.
“If it fits our portfolio and can grow quality fruit, that’s a win-win,” Medeiros said. “Our goal is to produce quality wines while embracing sustainable farming practices.”
The winery is now part of a co-op called Blended that includes La Vie Dansante Wines and TASS Vineyards, all located at the former Thomas Kruse Winery.
Medeiros said much of the work he does is excessive, checking the fruit in the vineyards daily or altering plans he’d made previously.
“Every year we go in with a plan, but because I’m in each vineyard constantly my plans change constantly,” he said. “I’ve got my finger on the pulse of the vineyard watching how the vines react to weather and checking the soil.”