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Cru | A Wine Industry Podcast
61 minutes | May 4, 2020
How to Visually Tell Your Story with Heather Daenitz
Heather Daenitz is the founder and photographer of Craft & Cluster, a photography and social media consulting company focusing on brands in the wine and beer industries! It was while working for a vineyard management company in Santa Barbara County that Heather rediscovered her love of photography and found a previously unknown interest in social media management. She was asked to start an Instagram account to showcase the practices of the company and decided that if she was going to do this social media thing, she was going to do it right; opting to only post high quality, original images that told a story. After almost two years of photographing, upgrading her camera equipment, and learning everything she could about social media management for the company she worked for, she decided it was time to create her own business. She wanted to help wineries and breweries create beautiful imagery that would tell the stories behind their brands. Thus, Craft & Cluster was born! In this episode we dig into the years of learnings, practices, experimenting, and trial and error that Heather has gone through to now being a sough after wine industry photographer. There are only a handful of incredible photographers in the California wine industry that I consider to be top notch, and Heather is one of them. She’s going to give us some very useful strategies and tactics when it comes to visually telling our stories in an authentic manner, how to take your own gorgeous photos when you can’t hire pros like her, and some fantastic resources to use as a constant reference. We previously recorded this chat via Instagram Live, so there are a few times were we take audience questions from Instagram and the interview lends itself to being more of a natural conversation. Some resources • StoryBrand • Later App • Plan That Find Heather On... Website Instagram JOIN THE CRU SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST SEE THE SHOW NOTES
94 minutes | Apr 27, 2020
Chatting All Things Chillable Red Wines with Kathryn and Tug Coker
As you know, I generally interview amazing wine folks to learn about their stories and coax out a bit of knowledge and advice. Today’s podcast is a little bit of a different format however. Here’s what’s up. The other day I reached out to an incredible power couple of the wine world, Kathryn and Tug Coker who together are married with two tiny humans running around the house, operate all things Esters Wine Shop & Bar in Santa Monica, and have recently launched a new wine podcast called The Long Finish where they take time to unwind, recap the week, what’s inspiring them in this time, and of course pop a bottle to enjoy and discuss. So we hoped on an ever so handy Zoom call and spent a while hanging out to record a collaborative podcast episode chatting about chillable red wines and life to co-publish it on both of our podcasts. Fun, right? The question that led to The Long Finish starting is, “What are we drinking tonight?” So, what did we drink? 2019 Las Jaras Glou Glou from Mendocino. A super gulpable, hence the name, refreshing chill able red wine blend of mainly Carignan and Zinfandel that I very quickly consumed the entire bottle of. You should definitely snag a few bottles of this guy either from Esters, the winery itself, or your local wine shop. I grabbed mine from Miracle Plum, a cute little boutique market & goods shop here in Sonoma County. Towards the end our chat we’re talking about work and inspiration an I mention a new project I’m launching called SommTable. It’s a new kind of online wine shop where you can shop my entire wine list from Barndiva made up of a lot of very well priced Burgundy & Champagne, join our wine club that’s not really a club more just fun way to discover delicious wines for $75 per month for three killer bottles of vino, and my favorite part, a daily wine deal texted to you. Simply, you text me to signup, I text you a wine at an insane value everyday. The prices on these wines are well below any other retail prices that I see and they all have a sustainable focus. It doesn’t cost anything until you actually buy wine too. To jump on that list text SOMMTABLE to 31996. You should also go follow my new instagram handle for the shop @sommtablehealdsburg. Follow The Long Finish On… SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR PODCAST INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKWEBSITE
77 minutes | Apr 20, 2020
Sculpting a Truly Coastal Wine with Rachel Martin & Marbue Mark
A Virginia native, Martin was present at the inception of what is now considered one of that state’s premier wine producers, Boxwood Estate Winery, in 2005. As Executive Vice President of Winery Operations, Martin’s job was to oversee all facets of production, sales and marketing of Boxwood’s award-winning whites, rosés and Bordeaux-style red blends. Martin’s forward thinking led directly to Middleburg having its own wine identity separate from the more generic Virginia designation, making her well suited to again start from scratch with Oceano Wines. Jancis Robinson noted Martin’s marketing savvy in her book “American Wine.” Marbue Marke earned his enology degree from Davis and, subsequently, added to his academic resume with an MBA from Sonoma State University. His practical experience began at J Winery in Sonoma, followed by a series of moves, each adding another piece to the puzzle that is winemaking. At Cosentino Winery, he learned about the rarefied world of high-end Napa wines. He was then a barrel enologist at R.H. Philips. For two years, Marke was charged with cooperage studies, an offshoot field that many winemakers are not experienced in. During a stint at Benziger, he was immersed in that family’s heightened concern for soil and winemaking purity. From there, Marke made a seemingly counterintuitive jump to Gallo. He reasoned that it’s always a good idea to revisit the basics of one’s craft, and given Gallo’s depth and breadth of resources, it was the perfect place for him to hone all of the skills associated with the production process. But perhaps the most pivotal move he made, at least in terms of his future connection to Oceano, was his decision to sign on as John Caldwell’s winemaker. That Marke began working with Caldwell turned out to be prophetic for Rachel . She met Marke by way of her very own connection to Caldwell. She sourced the plant material for Boxwood Estate Winery’s first vineyard block from him. Marke has since taken over as the Director of Winegrowing at Italics Winegrowers in Coombsville, one of Napa Valley’s cooler climes and another serendipitous similarity with Spanish Springs Vineyard. SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST LEAVE A REVIEW JOIN THE CRU
62 minutes | Apr 14, 2020
Re-imagining the Path from Grapes to Glass with Brian Smith
Winc is a unique winery in that they make over 100 individual SKUs of wine from around the country at a range of price points. On top of that, their direct-to-consumer first model and mass utilization of Digital marketing mixed with a heavy dose of customer feedback has enabled them to continue to craft wines that their audience is looking for. With a 684% increase in new member sign ups between March 15 2020 and March 28 2020 and an 80% increase in revenue in March over February, the company is seeing some incredible growth. Previous to founding and growing Winc with his partners, Brian founded successful finance and fashion startups. Additionally, he created the wine program for the tech-enabled Clo Wine in New York and founded the millennial cult brand Jolie Folle rosé. SEE THE SHOW NOTES HERE: https://crupodcast.com/show/reimagining-the-path-from-grapes-to-glass-with-brian-smith GET 10% OFF FROM EPISODE SPONSOR, BRICK & MORTAR AND DELTA WINES WHEN YOU SHOP NOW! ENTRE CODE CRU AT CHECKOUT. LEAVE A REVIEW ON APPLE PODCASTS
57 minutes | Apr 9, 2020
Carey Vanderborg Interviews Cru Host, Chappy Cottrell
This is a bonus episode of sorts. Recently I sat down with Carey Vanderborg @careydrewsomm on Instagram Live to turn the tables and interview me, Chappy! For those who don't know Carey he is a sommelier at Press Restaurant in St. Helena, California. In this down time he's started interviewing some of the top talent in Napa Valley Kellie White, Chris Phelps, Carlton McCoy, and many more. He's going live at 5pm each week day on Instagram. SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST HOP ON THE EMAIL LIST JOIN THE CRU ON INSTAGRAM
65 minutes | Apr 6, 2020
Exploring the Crossroads of Farming & Winemaking with Natalie Bath
A native Californian, growing up in St. Helena, Natalie came back to the Napa Valley after graduating college and fell back in love with the beauty of the Napa Valley. Growing up with a Master Sommelier father, she knew if she wanted to change career paths to the wine industry she would need to do something different. Natalie did a harvest at Etude in 2010, embracing the long hours, manual labor, and comradery that comes with cleaning. She was hooked! Natalie spent the first part of the 2011 vintage in the Southern Hemisphere at Villa Maria in New Zealand and the second part of 2011 at Littorai in Sebastopol, getting her first experience with biodynamics working under Ted Lemon. Not knowing where to go next, a conversation with her longtime friend, Samantha Rudd, turned into an opportunity to work harvest at Rudd Oakville Estate in 2012. “It was like finally coming home”, Natalie says. “I grew up playing in the vineyards and running around the property as a kid. Something just felt right.” When harvest finished, Natalie began hosting guests who were visiting the Estate, hoping to continue working at Rudd in any area she could. In 2014, Natalie joined the Winemaking team fulltime as a cellar hand and became the oenologist in 2016. An opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, allowing Natalie to travel overseas to work harvest at Château Pétrus in 2016. Coming back from her travels refreshed and rejuvenated, Natalie became the Assistant Winemaker in 2017 at Rudd Estate, and the following year the lead Winemaker for Crossroads. If you haven't already listened to the round table discussion on the Wine Business x COVID_19, listen to it here! READ THE SHOW NOTES https://crupodcast.com/show/exploring-the-crossroads-of-farming-winemaking-with-natalie-bath SUBSCRIBE TO CRU MAIL https://www.crupodcast.com/crumail FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM https://instagram.com/crupodcast
74 minutes | Mar 30, 2020
Making Contemporary Wines of Israel with Guy Eshel
Born in Tel Aviv, Guy grew up between California and Israel, building a strong bond with both lands. After a harvest internship in Napa Valley, Guy decided to pursue winemaking professionally, and he graduated from the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology in 2013. He has worked at Cliff Lede Vineyards and Whetstone Wine Cellars in Napa Valley, Domaine Francois Villard in the Northern Rhone, and Clonakilla winery in Canberra, Australia. Most recently, before moving back to Israel to join Dalton Winery as head winemaker in 2015, Guy worked at Broc Cellars in Berkeley, one of California’s preeminent urban wineries. GET THE SHOW NOTES: https://crupodcast.com/show/making-contemporary-wines-of-israel-with-guy-eshel JOIN THE CRU: https://crupodcast.com/crumail FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/crupodcast CRU COLLECTIVE WINES: 2019 Delta California Chenin Blanc There are only a handful of producers in California making stunning Chenin blanc and Delta is one of them. This wine full of characters classic to Chenin like lemon verbena, jasmine, Bartlett pear, apricot, blood orange, and my favorite tasting note that for me is the sign of a quality Chenin blanc, fresh persimmon. An odd one, I know! Super tasty! This Chenin is sourced from some chilly-willy vineyards way out on the Cali coast and fermented partially in stainless steel tanks and partially in neutral wood barrels which allows for a micro oxygenation during fermentation to develop more texture and provide a bit more lees contact. It’s also 12.5% alcohol so if you’re trying to stay a bit healthier, this is a solid wine for you. So Delta is the new project from Alexis and Matt Iaconis, who just happen to be friends and neighbors of mine. Matt & Alexis first met while both working at the three-Michelin starred The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa and now have a beautiful family, own and make wine for there primary label brick & mortar, and now have Delta. What I love about the Delta wines is that they are California appellation, but that in no way means that they are of a lower-quality than the higher-end brick & mortar. Production is still small and their commitment to sustainability is even more so in focus while $1 of every bottle sold is donated to their non-profit partners like the The Surfrider Foundation and Cool Effect to help fight for environmental change, something that is near and dear to my heart having studied sustainable development in college. What’s even better though is that this Delta Chenin is $15 a bottle, a steal of a value! But, as a listener of Cru and because I love this wine so much, you get it for $13.50 a bottle when you shop on the Delta Wines website, winesforchange.com. Just enter the promo code CRU at checkout and Matt & Alexis will give ya that 10% off. Also, if you are yearning to explore the brick & mortar wines, which the 2015 Sweet Water Springs Vineyard Blanc de Blancs from the Russian River which drinks like blanc de blancs from my favorite village in Champagne called Vertus, you can snag 10% off all of the brick & mortar wines at brickandmortarwines.com too! I’m stoked, I hope you are! And I hope that you’ll enjoy this Chenin cause it is yummy!
67 minutes | Mar 25, 2020
Wine Business x COVID_19: A Roundtable Discussion
A few days ago I had the idea to get a handful of amazing wine professionals together to discuss what’s actually going on in the wine industry right now during this COVID_19 quarantine time. I wanted to get a pulse on how everyone is feeling, what sales are looking like in various markets, how this immediate transition to everyone pushing sales online is both working and not working out for folks. I wanted to understand what people are doing to authentically connect with their audiences while offering support and where these professionals think the industry and market as a whole will be when we come out of this thing. I sat down with 9 incredible professionals from Sonoma and Napa Counties to enjoy a quarantini, but more importantly to have a real conversation of the trials and tribulations we’re going through. These amazing folks provide a lot of insight and new perspective along with actionable tactics, strategies, tools to apply to any kind of wine business you’re running or working in. We also discuss the programs that have been setup to help those who have now been rendered unemployed, are homeless, or have shut their businesses all together. PANEL INCLUDES Blair Guthrie, owner/winemaker of Guthrie Family Wines and Stewart Cellars in Sonoma and Napa Amanda McCrossin, former wine director of Press restaurant in St. Helena and long-time YouTuber, Instagramer, and marketer Dan Petroski, owner/winemaker of Massican and winemaker at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga Josh Phelps, owner/winemaker of Grounded Wine Co. in St. Helena Sara Morgenstern, former Sonoma County beverage director and director of operations for multiple small brands such as Ruth Lewandowski Wines Michelle Lipa, owner of Trig Collective a marketing and branding agency based in Napa Chelsea Boss, a marketing and management consultant based in Napa Woody Hambrecht, co-founder & co-CEO of Haus, a venture backed low-alcohol aperitif All of the questions that we discussed will be in the show notes along with the links to all of the recourses we mention throughout our chat. RESOURCES Ship Ohi: Ohi enables same-day delivery for e-commerce brands by building the ‘Amazon Prime Now’ experience with next-generation technology. Kevin Kelly's One Thousand True Fans: If you could get 1000 True Fans to support you by buying $100 worth of what you create every year, you would earn an income of $100,000 a year. That sounds a bit like a get-rich-quick scheme. 1000 True Fans is not that. It's a get-a-good-income-slowly income model. It requires hard work, but once you’ve built up 1000 True Fans, you are free forever to live as an independent creator earning good money making what you love. A Theatre Guide to Technology (or How I Learned to Live with Corona): Dear wonderful humans, artists, entrepreneurs and educators, you are heroes. Fuck this shit. Let’s make things, shall we? Deep breaths, follow the bullet points, and when you feel confident enough… Get creative. It’s what we do best. Right? You got this. Compline Wine Bar: Buy our health care workers and first responders a meal! The Independent Restaurant Coalition: formed to the save local restaurants affected by COVID-19. IRC is founded on the simple belief that there is power to affect legislative change if we unite our voice. This national movement is quickly growing and EVERYONE is welcome to join. Together, as small businesses across this country, we represent up to 4% of the nation's GDP. Dining Bonds Initiative: Due to the impact that the coronavirus COVID-19 has had on the restaurant community, a collective of restaurant industry professionals have set a global initiative in motion to get funds into the hands of restaurants NOW, even if they are temporarily closed. A Dining Bond works like a savings bond, where you can purchase a "bond" at a value rate to be redeemed for face value at a future date. ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants): ROAR stands united to act immediately. We know that decisions are being made right now. These decisions will shape the future in ways both known and unknowable. We must act swiftly to give our community the best possible chance for a positive outcome. Here’s is our 8 point plan to be in a position to reopen, rehire, and eventually help our community: QUESTIONS -At the end of the first week of shelter-in-place here in Northern California, Carlo what is the general feeling from the consensus of people in your peer groups? How about for you Sara? -Michelle and Chelsea, on the communication front how are you and clients communicating with client’s current customer base offering them reassurance and how are you asking for support? What’s the language you’re using? -As we all know, tasting rooms are closed which make up roughly 28% of sales for many companies and in-person tastings are obviously no longer occurring as with restaurants, which make up roughly 20% of sales for businesses, have essentially halted. In an effort to pivot and keep driving sales and cash flow, Blair, what are you all implementing in your businesses and seeing other companies doing? -Josh, how are retail sales currently factoring into your sales mix and are those sales holding on? -Dan and Josh, at the higher-end price point of the market, are we seeing a shift in sales of bottle prices say over $50? -Many people are bottling this week and last week which means that many people will be sending out their spring releases soon. Woody, Haus launched a brand new product last week. First, what was the response like from your customers and secondly, is there anything that you learned in launching during this time that has differed from previous launches? Is there anything that brands should be aware of when sending out new releases and launching new SKUs over the next six months or so? -Amanda, currently the cost of paid advertising has gone down. Facebook Ads for example are very affordable currently for the . How are we seeing more companies utilizing these cheaper resources right now for both paid and organic marketing? -How does a brand balance retaining a level of exclusivity while still getting it's name out there in a bigger way through virtual tastings, etc? -If we look at China and their timeframe of the economy coming back online, we’re looking at a 4-5 month runway. With those projections we’d be looking at June 1st coming back up for air. Michelle, how are you in your businesses planning for the next 4-5 months and what are some of your predictions of what the market could look like come June 1st? -What are some benefit and/or aid programs that are starting that people who have been laid off can take advantage of?
80 minutes | Mar 23, 2020
How to Create Context in Storytelling and Wine with Matt Morris
When you discuss wine, context is everything. Whether the topic of conversation is a specific region, grape varietal, producer, the context in which that topic is discussed leads the participants and audience to understand what the story and purpose is. In order to tell a story, how do you create that context? Insert Matt Morris. For over a decade Matt has been working with some of the top wine and food producers and brands in northern California such as Abreu, Bond, Cornell, Heitz Cellars, Herb Lamb, Lorenza, Realm Cellars, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Charter Oak, Press Restaurant, Quince, Noma in Copenhagen, Goop, Skywalker Sound, and many many more. His work has focused on telling stories visually in a not-so-obvious manner by providing audiences the context of a deeper meaning. In recent years, Matt made the leap into winemaking originally with winemaker Benoit from Realm Cellars and now Francoise Peschon of Arujo, Vine Hill Ranch, and Cornell. Matt & Francoise are focusing on the revival of Charbono, a grape originally from north western Italy, but now only 70 acres remain and they all happen to be planted in Napa Valley. GET THE SHOW NOTES: https://crupodcast.com/show/how-to-create-context-in-storytelling-and-wine-with-matt-morris JOIN THE CRU: https://www.crupodcast.com/crumail FOLLOW CRU ON INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/crupodcast
83 minutes | Mar 15, 2020
Showcasing the Character of Organic Old-Vine Vineyards with Alex Pitts and Marty Winters
Maître de Chai translates to cellar master, or the person responsible for the development and aging of wine. By extension, the humble cellar master is the person responsible for the management of the winery. Established in 2012, Maître de Chai is the personal project of Marty Winters and Alex Pitts, two friends who met in the kitchen of the famed two Michelin star Cyrus in Healdsburg, California. Their focus is on showcasing old-vine, organically farmed classic varietal vineyards. With experiences on the floor of The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood and in the cellar of Abe Schoener’s Scholium Project, Marty and Alex had a tri-fold education with focus on classic cooking and wine producers while experimenting in the cellar with varietals and winemaking techniques. Together they look to make wines of high quality in a way that best showcases the sense of place where the grapes are grown and the personality of the vineyard. From the ground to the bottle, the character of the wine is the focus of their endeavor. They source grapes from unique and distinct single vineyards that are impeccably farmed here in California. Are you ready to more deeply connect with the people and stories on Cru? Browse the show notes with the link below and while you're at it, join the Cru by popping your email into the subscription box under the Cru Mail tab. BROWSE THE SHOW NOTES: https://crupodcast.com/show/showcasing-the-character-of-organic-old-vine-vineyards-with-alex-pitts-and-marty-winters JOIN THE CRU: https://www.crupodcast.com/crumail CRU PODCAST INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/crupodcast
66 minutes | Mar 9, 2020
Learning a New Terroir with Chris Carpenter
Since 2012 he has travelled to McLaren Vale numerous times per year to oversee the winemaking for the Bordeaux varieties at Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard, covers a steep cut of country from the ridgetops above the village of Clarendon to the Onkaparinga River in the gorge below. Since its establishment in 1971, the Hickinbotham vineyard has become a part of Australia’s wine heritage, supplying fruit to produce many of Australia’s greatest wines. GET WEEKLY CRU MAIL HERE! Chris holds a degree in biology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an MBA from the University of Illinois, Chicago. While there, he played big-ten football and worked at the local bars. His friends were Chicago artists and musicians; he packs his trombone when he comes to Australia. During a visit to Napa Valley, Chris discovered a lifestyle that combined his love of the sciences with his growing passion for culinary and wine pursuits. Soon after, he began studying at UC Davis where he earned a master’s degree in both viticulture and oenology. He further studied in Italy at Tenute Antinori, Santa Cristina Estate before returning to Napa Valley to join the winemaking team at Cardinale in 1998. In 2000, Chris was appointed winemaker for Lokoya and he went on to assume that role for Cardinale, La Jota, and Mt Brave. In this episode we mention… UC Davis Viticulture Program Tre Vigne Restaurant Tenute Antinori Solaia Renzo Cotarella, CEO of Marchesi Antinori Thomas Duroux, winemaker of Chateau Palmer Pete Fraser, Yangarra winemaker Rob Mann, winemaker Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) The story of Hickinbotham Follow Hickinbotham On… INSTAGRAMWEBSITE
57 minutes | Mar 1, 2020
Making Products for How Today’s Generation Gathers with Helena Price Hambrecht & Woody Hambrecht
I was first introduced to the powerhouse that is Helena Price Hambrecht a few years back when I was living in England and listening to the podcast Design Details on which she was a guest. Intrigued by her eloquence, her candor, and the sheer number of projects that she was working on at the time, I needed to learn more. From there, I started following her work as a photographer and creative in Silicon Valley. Fast forward several years, I’m living here in Healdbsurg, California and am introduced to a line of vermouths and wines, courtesy of the one and only Sara Morgenstern, made by Woody Hambrecht. Sara introduced them to me as we recorded a podcast episode in what is now Haus’s Healdsburg production facility. At the same time, I met Helena, IRL. The connections came full circle. At the time, I didn’t know Woody’s background, but was stunned by the quality of his products at an incredible value. At Barndiva, where I’m the wine director, I’ve been pouring Woody’s Alysian Sauvignon Blanc from their estate Grist Vineyard for the better part of a year as it is so beautiful and balanced for domestic Sauvignon Blanc. When I heard that Woody & Helena were starting a low-alcohol, direct-to-consumer apéritif to take on the likes of Campari and Aperol providing a product for a more conscious consumer, I knew we had to sit down and record a podcast episode. In their own words Haus began, “…. with alcohol, an industry that hasn’t evolved since prohibition. It’s still ruled by huge liquor companies who spend big to get their products on store shelves and in bars — and you’re stuck with their choices. Sketchy ingredients. Too much alcohol. Too many hangovers. We wanted something better, so we made our own apéritif. This is where our story begins. We’re excited to continue making products for how today’s generation gathers. Forget the polished silver and the perfect plating. We’re about getting together and just hanging out. And if it gets a little bit messy, even better.” I have to say as an alcohol professional, I am not a cocktail person. I drink Champagne and beer with the occasional whiskey. However, Haus has become my go to drink when I get home from a long day to simply unwind with a refreshing spritz of their Citrus Flower with a splash of Topo Chico sparkling water. Follow Haus on Instagram @drinkhaus and buy Haus at drink.haus Join the Cru and get mail here. In this episode we mention… Haus Dagmar Studios, Helena’s Creative Studio Gin Lane Red Antler Gucci Mane Autobiography Y Combinator Great Oaks VC Follow Haus On… INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKTWITTERWEBSITE
7 minutes | Feb 26, 2020
The Human Element: A Brief Discussion with Steve Matthiasson
This is a brief discussion that occurred between Steve Matthiasson and myself before we started recording for the podcast episode published previous to this publishing. In this conversation, Steve and I discuss the human element in wine in regards to terroir. This subject came up after myself speaking to comparative tastings of white Burgundy and California Chardonnay, the differences between the two in terms of minerality and richness, followed by the stylistic differences. Steve argues that the primary difference is the human element and style, which more often that not is left out of the conversation of terroir.
79 minutes | Feb 23, 2020
The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence in Farming and Winemaking with Steve Matthiasson
Steve dreamt of farming his entire life. He became an obsessed gardener and cook while studying philosophy in college. In 1994, while back in grad school for horticulture after three years as a bike messenger/wannabe farmer, he found a job in vineyards and orchards working for a small sustainable agriculture consulting firm. In 1999 he co-authored the California manual on sustainable vineyard practices. In 2002 he started consulting on vineyard practices in Napa. He still loves the challenge of solving vineyard problems for others, but since 2003 the primary focus has been on his own family farming and winemaking with his wife Jill. Steve is a life-long student of the craft of viticulture. Eric Asimov has said of Steve’s wines, “Matthiasson wines bear an agricultural stamp, as fresh, lively and alive as the best produce from a farmers’ market.” Steve is a James Beard Award Finalist in 2018 & 2019, and has been named Winemaker of the Year by both the San Francisco Chronicle and Food & Wine Magazine. Learn more about Steve with the show notes here. In this episode we mention… Native Seeds Search Organization Gary Nabhan, author on native foods Anson Mills, heritage rices Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar Chef Rodney Scott, James Beard Award Brownen Percival & Steve Matthiasson Sustainability Talks in London on Wine & Cheese Premier Viticulture, Steves Vineyard Company Tenets of Integrated Pest Management • Monitoring • Establishing an Economic Threshold • Cultural Controls 2012 Limerick Lane Pinot Noir 14 Inkas Vodka High Wire Distillery in Charleston, South Carolina Follow Steve On… INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKWEBSITE
77 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Bringing Small Production Wine to the Market with William Whelan
William Whelan is the Vice President of Wine for Winestyr, an online and physical retail space operating on a direct-to-consumer and wine club model. Winestyr gives you unprecedented access to a curated collection of wines from the over 7,000 wineries in the United States. Most of these producers are actually too small to warrant the attention of retailers so they are genuinely hard to find. Until now. They’ve combed the country for the best producers, met with hundreds of winemakers, and tasted thousands of wines. Producers that they work with include Matthiasson, Drake Whitcraft, Katie Wilson, Blair Guthrie, Sandhi, Halcyon, Martha Stoumen, and Julien Fayard. As the Vice President of Wine, Will is responsible for the continual growth of the Winestyr portfolio of incredible producers from around the country, educating staff weekly on wine, and curating the educational materials for each wine that go out Winestyr members. Learn more about Will and WInestyr with the show notes here.
93 minutes | Feb 8, 2020
The Voice of a Site with Cory and Mike Waller
Mike and Cory Waller are brothers raised running around the hills of Hollister, California. After years of work, travel, and discovery, they find themselves crafting wines a mile away from each other in the Cienega Valley with Mike the winemaker of Calera Wines and Cory the winemaker for Eden Rift Vineyards. Cory grew up exploring the forests, canyons and river beds of the Cienega Valley. To this day, he knows the back roads of this remote appellation like few others. He counts local farmers, ranchers and fisherman in nearby Monterey Bay among his cadre of friends and colleagues. To describe him as non-interventionist winemaker would be an overstatement, for Cory possesses a strong point-of-view. While vine health is crucial, Cory favors the fruit of vines that struggle profoundly to produce smaller, yet clearly delineated yields. In the cellar, neutral vessels, native yeasts and varying degrees of stem inclusion, play a strong role in a wine’s elévage, as he prefers to transmit the voice of a site, over a heavily stylized approach. His mentors in wine include Tony Soter, Josh Bergstrom and Jim Prosser, of Oregon. He performed stages at New Zealand’s Neudorf and Martinborough Vineyards, and was Assistant Winemaker at the neighboring, iconic estate, Calera. A master of Pinot Noir, known for his terroir-driven approach to winemaking, Mike Waller has worked alongside legendary vintner Josh Jensen for more than a decade, helping to guide winemaking at Calera. Mike’s winemaking style honors the character and complexity of Calera’s six renowned sites on Mt. Harlan, which are the source for some of the New World’s most revered wines. In the winery, Mike captures the nuance of these grand cru-caliber vineyards to create sophisticated wines renowned for their layered elegance and aging potential. Mike cut his teeth at Saintsbury in Napa, Chalone in the Central Coast as the assistant winemaker, finally coming to Calera to work with Josh. Learn more with the show notes here.
77 minutes | Feb 2, 2020
Finding Belonging in the Mountains and Vines with Bertus and Ali van Zyl
Bertus and Alli are the owners and winemakers of Belong Wine Co. based in Napa Valley making Rhône and fringe varietals from the El Dorado Foothills. With 1 ton of fruit and a whole lot of gumption, started Belong Wine Co. in 2017 to celebrate everything they hold dear: love, adventure, and a sense of exploration. They grew up on opposite ends of the globe - Bertus in Cape Town, South Africa and Alli in the Bay Area sugar hamlet of Crockett. Bertus knew he wanted to be a winemaker at the age of 15. He went on to study Viticulture and Enology at the University of Stellenbosch. He has worked in the cellar at Deetlefs Estate, Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Glen Carlou, Hess Collection, Chappellet, and Regusci and has been in his current position as the winemaker for James Cole, Tank Garage, and T-Vine wineries since 2012. His happy place has always been out in the vineyards, where he can be found in short shorts. Alli still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. She has always found great joy in the creative process and is a Jill of many trades. She went to the Harvard of the west, Chico State, where she studied Sociology and learned the beauty of work/life balance. Alli moved to Napa in 2010 with her sister, Holly, who was already working in the wine industry. After managing a wine bar downtown for four years she transitioned to her current role at Whetstone Wine Cellars where she gets to wear many hats, including graphic design, hospitality, events, and marketing.
33 minutes | Jan 26, 2020
On Writing and Wine with Esther Mobley
She writes primarily about California wine, though her beat also includes beer, spirits, drinking culture, cults and, occasionally, doughnuts. In her regular Drink Up column, she reviews Bay Area bars. She leads the editorial team for The Press, the Chronicle’s digital guide to visiting wine country. Her weekly email newsletter, Drinking with Esther, includes a reading digest, product reviews and a behind-the-scenes look into the world of wine. In 2018, the California Newspaper Publishers Association awarded Esther first place in Feature Writing for her story on a winery born from a California cult, and first place in Agricultural Reporting for her examination of Napa Valley's future. The Association of Food Journalists recognized Esther's work as the Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits in 2017 for her profile of farmer Chuy Ordaz. Her work on the 2017 wine country wildfires was vital to the Chronicle earning the Scripps Howard award. She has twice been a finalist in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Awards. When she’s not writing about wine, Esther is often speaking about it. She gives seminars, presentations and classes to consumer groups and corporate clients. In this episode we mention… San Francisco Chronicle Helen Keplinger, winemaker Paolo Lucchesi, former food editor at The SF Chronicle Federal Wines in Boston run by Len Rothenberg L’Espalier Round Pond Estate Bodega Rolland Smith College Jon Bonné, wine writer and former wine editor at the SF Chronicle Esther’s interview with Randall Grahm on selling Bonny Doon The lost civilization of California Wine by Esther Mobely Seavey Vineyards & Jim Duane Interview on Cru Champagne Pierre Peters Josh Phelps Interview on Cru Follow Esther On… INSTAGRAMTWITTERWEBSITE
55 minutes | Jan 18, 2020
Philosophies on Winemaking and Scaling a Wine Business with Josh Phelps
Josh Phelps is the founder and winemaker of Grounded Wine Co. making delicious, all-American, and approachable wines across the west coast while based in St. Helena, California. Josh’s roots run deep in Napa, raised in a winemaking family, he was exposed to the industry from a young age, starting his very first endeavor in the wine world, “Napa Valet”, at age 15. He continued to build his knowledge of the business through college, selling wine, working the harvest and creating wine for friends with his father, Chris Phelps (of Dominus Estate). As a Napa local, his philosophies on winemaking and business are advised from luminaries of the wine world he calls his mentors and friends like Joel Gott, Kimberly Jones and Leslie Rudd, and of course, his own father. With Grounded Wine Co., Josh hopes to build on this legacy and make his own splash in the wine world while exposing wine drinkers of his own generation to his hometown in wine country. As a part of his incredible résumé, Josh has been named to Forbes’s 30 under 30 list, Zagat’s 30 under 30 and Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 – though one of his proudest accomplishments is still the Eagle Scout badge he earned at the age of 18. Grounded Wine Co. is being built to reflect his experience growing up in wine country, and his relationships in the wine community. A grassroots, all-American, wine label, the wines feature grapes from trusted, sustainable vineyards in California and Washington and showcase what it means to be a winemaker today. Working with trusted farmers and childhood friends, his company respects his deep understanding of wine, one that can only be developed growing up around the vines. In this episode we mention… Chris Phelps, Josh’s father Dominus Estate Caymus Winery Taken Wine Co. Chambers & Chambers Distributors Trinchero Family Estates Grounded Wine Co. Ad Vivum Cellars, Chris’ wine label Landform Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, newest label from Grounded Work by Gospel, Josh’s design team Terry Wheatly, Vintage Wine Estates the late Leslie Rudd Authentique Wine Cellars, Oregon Dan Petroski (interview 1) / (interview 2) Space Age Rosé of Grenache, Grounded La Gravette de Certan Massican Champagne Vilmart Champagne Pierre Peters Champagne Doyard Follow Grounded Wine Co. On… INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK WEBSITE
65 minutes | Jan 13, 2020
A Radically Intentional Restaurant & Wine Bar with Lauren Feldman and Tanner Walle of Valley Bar & Bottle
Valley Bar & Bottle is a neighborhood restaurant, wine bar, and wine retail establishment that simultaneously reveres and revitalizes Sonoma cuisine and hospitality. Launching as a dinnertime restaurant, Valley will gradually incorporate daytime services. Valley aims for a sustainable approach to all aspects of its business, from waste-reducing and eliminating practices to radical intentionality behind the economy and environment they will create for their employees. As Sonoma locals, they’re looking for creative ways to support and promote the community. They are dedicated to making sure those that work alongside them are able to live fully in the place they serve. Lauren Feldman and Tanner Walle, two of the co-founders, manage the small front-of-house team, while co-founders Emma Lipp and Stephanie Reagor helm the back-of-house. The beverage program includes local producers as well as imports, with an emphasis paid to organic & biodynamic agriculture practices. The menu is driven by the availability of seasonal produce and the offerings of local purveyors, and influenced by the team’s travels and personal history. Lauren was born and raised between Sonoma and Santa Rosa in Sonoma Valley. Her studies took her to Indiana, Italy, and then New York, where she became immersed in the food and wine world. Her professional background is in wine sales and branding with an emphasis on restaurant beverage direction + management, winery hospitality + management, brand development and event production. With over a decade of hospitality and beverage management experience, Lauren has managed restaurants & wine lists from New York (L’Artusi, Anfora, west~bourne), to Nashville (Husk), and back to her native California (Molina, CALA). In 2010, Lauren returned to Sonoma County to develop a closer connection to wine production, starting with launching the hospitality program at Scribe Winery, where she managed the tasting room and events for 4 years. As a harvest intern at Foradori Winery in 2014, Lauren affirmed her passion for biodynamic practices and natural winemaking. In 2015 she started SurPointe, where—with a focus on like-minded producers—she has launched wine brands, grown restaurant beverage programs, and overseen creative collaborations bridging the divide between wine and hospitality communities nationwide. In 2016 she oversaw the creative development and implementation at Napa newcomer Ashes & Diamonds as Director of Sales and Marketing. That same year she received her WSET Diploma certification. After juggling many roles and tasks at once, Lauren is eager to bring her varied skills together to build a program and community in Sonoma, the town where she was raised and has again called her home for the past 9 years. Tanner Walle’s career in hospitality spans over a decade, with rolls as both GM and beverage manager for some of New York City’s most well-known wine establishments. Most notably, under the guide and mentorship of James Beard Award-winning sommelier Paul Grieco, Tanner oversaw operations and hospitality at Terroir wine bars, a quintessential helm for both aspiring and veteran wine professionals alike. There, Tanner would help to craft and pioneer a wine and hospitality program many restaurants and wine bars still model today. In 2015 he orchestrated the opening of The Riddling Widow, a discrete Champagne bar frequented primarily by winemakers and other industry pros. Beyond restaurant work, Tanner spent much of his tenure in NYC as a consultant for many large-scale wine and hospitality events, including with NBC, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, PBS and LinkedIn. Tanner would also contribute on panels for NY Champagne Week, Social Media Week and New York Cider Week. Tanner is excited to bring his New York City expertise and love for hospitality and beverage education to the community of Sonoma.
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