A Distiller and An Author: Jeff Duckhorn and Paula Moulton.

On this podcast I’ll take a detour from the wine road to talk whiskey. It’s another adult beverage that has really be exploding in the last decade or two. In the California town of Graton, head distiller Jeff Duckhorn and his team are crafting Redwood Empire Whiskey. They’ve gone through a transformation with new branding and adding two more whiskey’s to their line-up.

Then you’ll meet author Paula Moulton. This multi-faceted woman gave up city life to become a grape grower, an author, an accomplished chef, a winemaker and all while raising children. She tells you how you can do it too! Maybe not all of it but even some of it would be cool. Her first book and follow up are called Seasons Among the Vines: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country. Strap yourselves in for another ride On The Wine Road.

The Lost Monarch photo is courtesy of Mario Vaden.  I thank him for allowing me to share that stunning image. 

Half of Redwood Empire Whiskey’s warm barrel room

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Monarch Giant Redwood

The Lost Monarch with the lovely Kiera providing reference to the size of this giant redwood.

 

It’s another day on our incredible, beautiful and struggling planet. This podcast focuses on the positive impacts people are making as I present Part Two of my Earth Day celebration.

Much like the Slow Food Movement, Italy’s Slow Wine crusade promotes sustainable practices within the winemaking industry. The Slow Wine Guide features those who operate within those parameters. The 2019 edition contains 370 wineries from Italy, 121 from California, and new this year, 50 Oregon wineries. I chose two from Northern California who have been selected by Slow Wine; Larkmead Family Estate in Calistoga, Napa Valley, and Littorai Wines of Sebastopol, Sonoma County. They’re both highly respected in the industry. You’ll be impressed with the efforts they put forth to create their exceptional wine. Cheers to that! Happy Earth Day.

It’s hard to imagine that since the late 1600s nothing has been discovered or invented that seals a bottle of wine better than the all natural product of cork. Sure, now there are screwcaps and synthetic closures but neither provide the positive aspects that cork can deliver. To learn more about this fascinating, timeless product I hooked up with Peter Weber of the Cork Quality Council. Together, with ETS Laboratories, they are conducting exhaustive research to discover and eliminate TSA, or cork taint, in wine. In this podcast you’ll learn a little about this research and the many environmentally beneficial properties of cork.

To see a video with Dr. Eric Hervé of ETS Laboratories explaining part of the detection process, visit YouTube.

Here are links that will provide even more interesting facts about cork – Cork Quality Council    100% Cork

 

ETS Laboratories

The machine in the middle is the gas chromatograph with mass spectrometer detection at ETS Laboratories. It can detect 1 part per trillion of TCA.

ETS LaboratoriesETS Laboratories

 

ETS Laboratories

The many bottles of wine sent in to ETS Laboratories for testing.

She’s been called “the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world” by Decanter magazine. Jancis Robinson recently honored the UC Davis Shields library by donating her personal writings, papers, photographs, and even tasting notes. Her long list of credits include co-authoring The World Atlas of Wine with Hugh Johnson, editing The Oxford Companion to Wine, and co-authoring American Wine with Linda Murphy. She is founder of the award-winning JancisRobinson.com. Naturally, I jumped at the chance when offered the opportunity to interview Jancis at the Shields Library prior to the event celebrating her donation. As you’ll hear she was quite gracious.

To learn more about Jancis, her donation, and to watch a video of the the event click here.

To dig deeper into the collection and to locate the department of Special Collections click here.

 

Jancis Robinson and Jeff Davis

This is a sample of the numerous writings and personal notes donated by Jancis now on display at the Shields Library

Jancis Robinson and Jeff Davis

I read that Garrett of G. Love and Special Sauce is a fan of wine and that his sister imports Burgundian wine for a distributor in New York. This gave me a good reason to set up an interview prior to a show at the Fillmore in San Francisco a while back. I’ve been a fan for many years and it was very cool to spend some time with him. We talked wine, music and family. After the interview he asked if I wanted to hear a song he’d been working on called “Drinkin’ Wine.” It was a great start to an extraordinary evening.

An excerpt of  “Drinkin’ Wine” is featured in the interview but you can see the longer video here: https://youtu.be/OwoMtgxm–c

 

G Love

Not long after college, and with a degree in French Language, Michaela Rodeno talked her way into getting hired as the second employee at Moët & Chandon’s new American winery, Domaine Chandon. It was 1973 and the office was in a garage on Mt. Veeder. After 15 years of helping Chandon become a success, she left as a V.P. and became Napa Valley’s first female CEO at the newly established St. Supery Vineyards and Winery. While there she formed Women for WineSense with Frog’s Leap Winery’s Julie Johnson, to combat the rising anti-alchohol movement of the 1990s. Michaela is now retired from the industry and focuses on the family’s Villa Ragazzi Wines, while Women for WineSense has continued to grow across the country. When you hear this interview you’ll understand why she is a beloved member, if not an icon, of the Napa wine industry.

 

michaela-interview

The University of California at Davis has undertaken a wine label transcription project called “Label This” and you can participate. Imagine, lending your time to this prestigious college which is considered by some to house the greatest wine library in the world. They have digitized 5,000 historic wine labels which were collected over a period of decades by Maynard Amerine, a professor of viticulture and enology at U.C. Davis. To make them searchable and accessible to the world, they need your help. If you appreciate wine you’ll enjoy this simple task which will open a window into the history of wine. Listen in as Amy Azzarito explains the project.

 

 

label-this_fountaingrove1934 label-this_inglenook label-this_laquesta label-this_paul-masson

I had a feeling of great anticipation before meeting this international wine icon. Agustin Huneeus began his career by saving Concha y Toro in Chile, a brand now recognized across the globe. He also worked for Seagram’s, eventually overseeing their international brands. That position brought him to Napa Valley which led to his decision to get back into running his own winery again. He’s done very well and continues to do so at Quintessa and with other successful wineries here and in Chile. Like me, I’m sure you’ll be captivated by his voice which resonates with the wisdom he has gained and the miles of dusty roads he has traveled.

 

 

quintessa        the-prisoner      casillero-del-diablo

Last fall I had the chance to chat with travel guru Rick Steves prior to his talk Lessons from a Lifetime of Travel, the content of which seemed to rely on his books, The Value of Thoughtful Travel and Travel as a Political Act. Why feature him on a show about wine? He’s been fortunate enough to enjoy wine in the world’s most beautiful places. Plus, why not take advantage of the opportunity to talk with this travel guru? It’s a short conversation but well worth it.

 

 

Rick & Jeff closer

 

 

If you enjoy a glass of wine while reading a good mystery you’ll appreciate this story. Zinfandel has been in the U.S. since the early 1800s yet no one knew for sure where it originated. Is it related to Primitivo? Finally in 2001, with help from others around the globe, U.C. Davis professor Carole Meredith solved the mystery and in turn helped save the heritage grape from extinction. Carole shares her exhaustive research and discovery with me in this in-depth interview. You’ll also hear about her own vineyard, Lagier Meredith, which sits high atop Mt. Veeder overlooking Napa Valley.

Pour yourself a glass, it’s a good story.

http://www.lagiermeredith.com

 

bottle shot

This legendary winemaker still holds the world record for the most money raised for one bottle of wine at auction. She talks about that experience, her family, and the many clients with whom she continues to work, which includes La Sirena Wines: Heidi Barrett’s Own Winery.

Heidi Barrett glass

In this music related show you’ll hear my interview with two guys who were at Woodstock. Graham Nash was one of the first major acts to play the new City Winery venue in Napa. During the same week Rolling Stone photographer from the 60s, Baron Wolman, appeared at Markham Vineyards for his 40th Anniversary of Woodstock exhibition. I talk with Greg Strange about the exhibition, then Baron by phone prior to his arrival.

 

Baron Wolman

Kerry is a sought after wine consultant in California, India, Israel and now Costa Rica. Join me as I talk with Kerry about his travels and experience while enjoying his wine, Palmeri.

 

The girl and the fig is nationally, if not internationally, recognized as a pioneer in the farm to table experience. The French country themed restaurant fare pairs nicely with their wine list which highlights Rhone varietals. I speak to wine manager Brian Casey and chef, creator Sondra Bernstein about their ever-popular Sonoma, CA location and the fig cafe and wine bar in Glen Ellen.

Dave Grohl was in town to promote his fairly new movie “Sound City”. It was featured during this year’s Film Festival. Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch to have the Nirvana/Foo Fighters rocker on my wine show but…he is a fan of wine and enjoys visits to Napa Valley. That’s good enough for me. We talk about the movie and the incredible musicians who played a part of it.

 

 

Dave Grohl 2