I’ve known these guys at Kokomo Winery over five years now. Winemaker Erik Miller was on my first show back in October of 2013. Winegrape grower Randy Peters was kind enough to by my guest every other month a couple years ago when I presented a feature called From Bud to Bottle. And as you’ll hear, my wife and I belong to their wine club.

When I heard they achieved a perfect 100 point score in the North Coast Wine Challenge, I was thrilled for them. Like a friend would be. Sure, it’s not quite the same as receiving 100 points from some international wine critic but when you consider the wineries entering are from six of the most respected wine regions in California, well that’s sayin’ something.

By the way, I knew that wine was special the first time I tasted it, before the award. I remember the moment. It’s sublime. A true representation of the nectar of the gods. Here’s your chance to find out how they did it.

 

 

Kokomo Winery

Randy Peters (left), Erik Miller (right)

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The winning 2016 Pinot Noir

Kokomo Winery

The Kokomo Winery Tasting Room at Timbercrest Farms, Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, CA

 

I’ve been seeing Breathless Sparkling Wines around more and more lately. They’ve been winning awards, and I hear people say it’s their favorite bottle of bubbles. It was time to find out more about this burgeoning winery. The three sisters who share ownership and responsibilities pursued the endeavor inspired by their mother’s zest for life. I enjoyed a tasting and interview with Sharon, and admitted to her that I prefer still wines over sparkling. The one they have now captured my heart…the silky, lightly sweet Ratafia. Like liquid gold. Speaking of which, they’ve already picked up 10 Gold medals in 2018, four of which were Double Golds. To that I say “Cheers!”

 

 

Breathless Sparkling Wines

(Garagiste – A French term used to describe a garage-based winemaking operation. Once seen as a negative, garagiste wineries are now treated with cult-like status.) Ben Papapietro was a garasite in San Francisco. His desire to get into the wine business found him living in his van in a vineyard for months at a time. Some how he managed to keep his newspaper job during his decades-long venture. Along with friend and partner Bruce they managed reached success in Sonoma County with Papapietro Perry Winery. Ben shares his tale with me in this podcast.

 

 

 

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Susie Selby has been a winemaker in Sonoma County for 23 years now but following the loss of her father, who happened to be her partner, she was nearly talked out of pursuing the venture. Facing an uphill battle she chose to forge ahead. Along the way the community has supported her and Selby wine has been served at White House functions more than any other winery in the country. Without a road map she’s found success. As you’ll hear she has maintained her sense of humor and humbleness. Join us for our conversation in Healdsburg on the edge of Dry Creek Valley.

 

 

 

This is the second of three harvest I’ll be participating in this season. This time I join winemaker Ashley Herzberg of Amista Vineyards as they pick Syrah for sparkling wine in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. You’ll learn how picking for sparkling differs from still wine. After harvest we head to the crush facility for the second segment where you’ll hear how the juice gets it’s red color. It’s a specifically timed process. Tag along with me, won’t you?

 

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Winemaker Clay Mauritson is part of a six generation winegrowing family, however he’s the first to try his hand at winemaking. His experience in the vineyard has led him to an enlightening project that shows how much the soil has an impact on the flavor and mouthfeel of the wine. In this case he bottled Cabernet Sauvignon grown and managed identically in three different vineyards to express the variances the loam soil can impart on the finished product. Each are uniquely fantastic. In this segment you’ll learn about his Loam Wines project and a bit of the Mauritson Wines family history.

 

 

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In the two weeks following the 2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair I featured several Best of Class Winners on my show. Here are two of them. Joe Benziger of Imagery Estate Winery likes to make the lesser grown varietals, especially those from Northern Italy. Diane Wilson of Wilson Artisan Wineries seems to win the most awards each year. I’ve been wanting to talk with her for a while now. We finally hooked up.

 

Joe Benziger_BarDiane Wilson

Shelly is the fourth generation Rafanelli winemaker.  After considering a career of her own she returned to Dry Creek Valley.  Now with her sister Stacy and husband Craig they continue to improve the wine and carry on the family tradition that began over 110 years ago.

 

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Owners Bruce and Cheryl Lawton have big plans for a wine cave. In the meantime they’re serving out of their tasting lounge at 21001 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville. Pech Merle may be small but with winemaker John Pepe they’re piling up the awards. I joined them under the oak cathedral to talk about their success.