A Day in the Life of Winemaker Faith Armstrong

Faith Armstrong Foster fell in love with the world of wine early on. After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture & Enology, she honed her skills at Frank Family Vineyards.
In 2009, she launched her own acclaimed label, Onward Wines, her 'love letter' to Pinot Noir. Last year, she joined up with her best friend and fellow winemaker, Angela Osborne, to create Farmers Jane Wine Co.  In addition to being a talented winemaker, Faith is also the mother to three boys, a baby girl, a dog, a cat and a hen. 

What’s your favorite thing about making wine? I absolutely love that it is never the same thing twice--every vintage,every stage in ferment and élevage, every moment of bottle age, every sip. Monotony does not exist in wine-making which is a wondrous thing to be true in a job. Also making wine just makes me happy…I don’t know why it just makes me smile and feel good!

What three things are you most passionate about other than wine?
First, my family; my own and the one I was raised in. I grew up in a big family--one of five kids--and I have four kids of my own. My family is my everything. Second, my community of friends; the way my neighborhood gathers in my courtyard for shared meals and merriment. Also my garden; it feeds the first 2 things and makes me smile.

How would you describe your wine-making style in three words? Respect, balance and heart.

If you could make wine anywhere in the world (other than where you are) where would it be?
I would love to experience making wine in Burgundy

What is your favorite place in the world (can be a country, a city, a place in your hometown, or a spot in your home)? I grew up on the ocean and it always give me a incredible sense of calm to sit and look out into the ocean. If I can sit with my family piled around me and smell the sea air that is a happy spot.  If I had to chose one spot it would be a private nook somewhere on one of the Canadian gulf islands, a cove that you can only access by water--meaning we would have to take our own boat to get there. Of course we would have a lovely bottle of wine and some fresh caught salmon that we would cook over the open fire roasting on a cedar plank…oh my, that was a nice daydream break! 

What’s on your playlist for long days in the cellar?
It's a real mix! Jimmy Cliff, the Black Crowes, new stuff from Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline always comes in there. Plus, hits from the 80’s which are key when I am really getting tired. 

What’s your favorite wine-drinking experience or memory? 
I have so many I don’t think I can pick just one, but I will share one of my earlier experiences:  I was with my mom and my 2 sisters and we were traveling in Italy. We had chosen a few wineries to visit and this one was very remote with a long dirt driveway that was very steep. Our little rental car could barely get up the the hill! We got there and the owners brought us in and tasted us through all these wines, none of which I remember the exact details of (the blend etc), but their passion I will never forget. They loved what they did and were so proud of the wines and so wonderfully open and kind to us. After our tasting they said we were welcome to stay and enjoy the sunset. We sat on this majestic hillside in the country side of Tuscany and ate olives and cheese and drank a bottle of wine made from grapes grown the very hillside on which we sat and it was magical.