Don Hartford, CEO and Co-Owner, Hartford Family Winery
Don Hartford grew up on a small strawberry farm in western Massachusetts, and later attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. To cover the cost of tuition and expenses, Don worked as a "straw boss" on a cigar wrapper tobacco farm, a degreaser in a bicycle factory, and a lifeguard at Congamond Lakes in Massachusetts.
After earning a BA, Don spent a year teaching English as a second language in Spain and later taught Spanish for four years in Massachusetts. Don Hartford met his wife, Jennifer Jackson-Hartford, at Santa Clara University in Northern California in 1979. (Shortly thereafter, Jennifer's father, Jess, started a modest 16,000 case winery called Kendall-Jackson.) In 1982, he graduated from Santa Clara Law School. Don's legal career included a Tokyo law firm, a large San Francisco-based firm, Jess Jackson's practice of constitutional law, and work at the California Supreme Court. He also was a partner in a small country law partnership, and served for a time as a winery general counsel and vice president.
For more than twenty-five years, Don has been immersed in winemaking and winery management. In the process, Don has returned to one of his first loves—the land and farming. In addition, he and Jenny personally own and lead the farming of the winery’s vineyards, including a small old vine Zinfandel vineyard behind their home. Don and Jenny are co-owners of Hartford Family Winery along with their children, Hailey Hartford Murray and McLean Jackson Hartford. Don works "hands on" at all levels of the business, including work in the vineyards, winery, marketing, hospitality and sales.
Hailey Hartford Murray, President and Co-Owner, Hartford Family Winery
Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray’s passion for wine is born from the joy she experiences working alongside her family to craft something lasting & beautiful. Wine enjoyed with others nurtures the bonds between one another and when sustainably farmed provides a unique opportunity to also nurture & protect the land it’s sourced from. As the granddaughter of Jackson Family Wines founder Jess Jackson, and daughter of Jennifer Jackson Hartford and Don Hartford, she’s grown to love the wine business from a young age and is particularly interested in its existence at the intersection of farming, community & family.
Hailey was only four years old when her parents founded Hartford Family Winery and grew up with an eight-acre Zinfandel vineyard in her backyard. Some of her fondest childhood memories are playing amongst the century-old vines and feeding apples to her neighbor’s horses. As a teenager, Hailey worked a harvest in France before attending Scripps College where she earned a degree in Biology. Her intention was to go on to veterinary school, but the allure of a new harvest – this one in the Russian River Valley – proved too exciting. Her enthusiasm for winemaking galvanized, she immersed herself in the family business. She became a Certified Specialist of Wine in 2015 and worked two more consecutive harvests at Yangarra Estate in McLaren Vale, Australia, and Château Lassègue in Bordeaux, France. “The wine business is so multi-layered – from winegrowing to winemaking to sales and hospitality – the opportunities it provides for growth, learning & collaboration with others is endlessly fascinating!”
Hailey, together with her brother MacLean and her parents, is the owner of Hartford Family Winery, located in the Russian River Valley. Hailey looks to blend her personal affinities – interacting with people, a love of science and nature, and a fascination with the winemaking process – in her work at Hartford Family Winery. She lives with her husband, Max Murray and their two children in Sonoma County.
Jeff Stewart, General Manager & Winemaker, Hartford Family Winery
Born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, California, Jeff Stewart is, not surprisingly, an avid skier. But it was a summer trip to France and an enthusiastic chemistry teacher that enticed him away from the mountains and into winemaking.
"My summer in France was really my first experience with wine as part of the family meal. I was fascinated with the lifestyle and the importance of wine in that culture," says Hartford Family Winemaker and General Manager, Jeff Stewart. "I knew I wanted to pursue a career in science and after several conversations with my high school chemistry teacher, I was soon enrolled in the Viticulture and Enology program at UC Davis. The idea of combining agriculture, science and the creativity of making wine, something celebrated and revered in many cultures for thousands of years, was mesmerizing."
A UC Davis graduate with a degree in fermentation science, viticulture, and enology, Jeff has been making Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and old vine Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma County for over 25 years.
Tiaan Lordan, Winemaker, Hartford Family Winery
A part of the Hartford winemaking team since 2010, Tiaan Lordan has become completely immersed in the intricacies of growing and tending Pinot Noir. However, the South Africa native and nature enthusiast had originally planned a career in conservation. While completing his degree in Conservation Ecology at the University Stellenbosch, Tiaan was drawn into the wine world while working in the tasting rooms of friends’ family wineries. In 2005, two years after graduation, he officially entered the wine industry and worked a South African harvest, as well a harvest at Limerick Lane in Healdsburg. While in California, he met his wife, Deirdre, and the two returned to South Africa wherein 2006, Tiaan enrolled at the Elsenburg Agricultural College for a degree in viticulture and enology.
After completing his second degree in 2008, Tiaan was hired as Associate Winemaker under Christian Dauriac at the French-owned Marianne Wine Estate. When the time came for Tiaan and Deirdre to return to California, they knew exactly where they wanted to go. The couple returned to Sonoma, where Tiaan interned at Hartford Family Wines during the 2010 harvest under Jeff Mangahas. "I quickly learned the attention to detail involved especially in the making of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, from vineyards to bottle. The sensitivity of the grape and the wine, and then the subsequent show of character so specific to site keeps me forever intrigued!"
In 2011, Tiaan was appointed Assistant Winemaker working with Jeff Stewart, in 2014 became Associate Winemaker, and in 2018 became Winemaker, where today he is working along with the rest of the production team on crafting exciting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah and finally Chenin Blanc that show their traits of origin.