According to O’Herron, her now extremely successful winery “just grew out of love and curiosity of wine. It simply came together—out of drinking wine.” O’Herron educated herself on the subtle differences and flavors of wine; spent endless amounts of time reading and researching wine and the industry. The project began in 2000-2001. She took field trips with her husband across the country and even around the world, visiting California, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, New Zealand, France, and Italy in order to learn as much about the industry and various techniques as possible. She “also did three mini internships over three harvests, spending a week at Littorai in Napa Valley, two weeks at Chateau Falfas in Bordeaux, and the better part of 2 months at Paumanok in Long Island. These experiences provided broad exposure.
However, the novelty factor is definitely not why the wines that O’Herron and Black Ankle create are so incredibly well received. The philosophy behind the wine must positively affect the final product. Sarah believes in being self-sustainable. All of the fruit used in the wines are grown on the vineyard, which is fertilized with compost made on the grounds.
Another notable influence is that of a woman’s touch. Sarah is a very successful woman in an industry that consists mainly of men. Her current and continued success must be commended in an industry that is difficult to tap into.