Each year Wine & Spirits Magazine chooses the Top 100 wineries of the world. Each winery is featured in their Winter Issue and is invited to attend their annual tasting event in San Francisco. It’s quite an event! This is the third year Eric Sussman of Radio-Coteau has been chosen. He makes remarkable cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah, and Zinfandel. As a “pioneering micro-climate negociant” he works with as many as 16 different vineyards. His property in Occidental is quite historic and has its own story to tell. His vineyards there are maturing nicely. I find it interesting that he only has two subject tabs on his website yet it’s deeper in content than almost any winery website I’ve seen. Eric is quite prolific. I was happy to have finally tracked down this highly respected winemaker.

 

Eric Sussman

Eric at the Top 100 event, 2017

 

Join me as I take the drive to Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery perched high atop Spring Mountain. It provides a unique viewpoint of Napa Valley (in more ways than one). Stuart and Charlie Smith have been up there since the early 70s crafting wine the way they feel it should be made. Their style hasn’t always been in favor but as tastes have changed they’ve become fashionable again. If you enjoy hearing opinions on the wine industry from those who have spent 45 years within it you’ll appreciate this podcast.

 

This is one of the most unique winemaker dinners you’ll experience. Attendees are invited to bring a wine to share that has special meaning to you. The winemakers will also be sharing rare and older vintage wines. I’m really looking forward to it! It’s next Friday, Sept. 1st, 2017.

Click the post to visit their website.

Paulee

(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.

 

 

 

papapietro perry

 

 

Hey, thanks for clicking on this event. I’m a member of the Friends of Sonoma County Wine Library, a one-of-a-kind resource for Sonoma County’s wine industry. Please consider joining us for this engaging fundraiser on Thursday, 7/27. Wine and food are included. Click to jump to the website and find the link for tickets click here.  Hope to see you there!

 

FOSCWL

 

You know, one wine country’s best-kept secrets are the smaller, boutique wineries who, more often than not, make stellar hand-crafted wine. Without cruising around Northern California in person you wouldn’t know of most of them. This podcast features one, Paul Mathew Vineyards. Winemaker Mat Gustafson and his wife Barb make a great team, and if you happen to be in Sonoma County they offer fantastic food and wine pairing dinners. The road Mat traveled in becoming a winemaker was long and took many turns, most in the right direction. I think you’ll enjoy his story. Heck, it might even give you hope while you pursue your dream.

 

 

Paul Mathew Vineyards

Paul Mathew Vineyards

 

This is the second time I’ve had the chance to interview winemaker Ted Henry and each time it’s been an enjoyable experience. Now he’s the head winemaker at the historic Clos Du Val winery in Napa’s iconic Stags Leap District. Clos Du Val has recently made some dramatic changes to their wine making philosophy. The timing couldn’t have been better to get Ted’s observation on the changes you’ll be seeing and tasting in the near future. My family happened to be visiting Napa Valley that week from Phoenix and not only were they surprised by getting to attend the interview, they also received the wine tasting from Ted. It’s not often a tasting is provide by the winemaker. As I say, he’s a gracious guy.

 

 

Winemaker Ted Henry

National Rosé Day was June 10th and to mark that occasion I interviewed 3 winemakers who craft distinctive versions of refreshing pink wine. I traveled from Napa Valley (Stewart Cellars) to Sonoma County (Taft Street Winery) and hit Glen Ellen in between (Laurel Glen Vineyard). This is the season for Rosé and over the last few years that style of wine has been getting quite interesting as winemakers search for creative ways to produce it. That’s what you’ll hear on this podcast. So find a warm spot in the sun with a chilled glass of Rosé and let’s get started. Cheers!

 

National Rosé Day

Blair Guthrie of Stewart Cellars

 

National Rosé Day

Mike Martini of Taft Street Winery

 

National Rosé Day

Randall Watkins of Laurel Glen Vineyard

This interview began as a discussion concerning the 40th anniversary celebration of Raymond Vineyards’ first vintage release. Always the innovator, owner Jean-Charles Boisset had it bottled with a gold embossed red velvet label. No, really. This inspired me to sit down with him to discuss his creative inspiration. That led me to present other wine producing innovations he has been offering from Buena Vista Winery (Sonoma Valley) and JCB by Jean-Charles (Napa Valley). I enjoy interviewing J.C. because I never know what to expect from him. I take that back. I do know what to expect and it’s his playful irreverence that tempts me to return. This is the extended version of what aired on my radio show. An EP of JC, if you will. Enjoy.

 

 

jean-charles boisset

This is the story of Frisco Liquor, an American take on Pisco. I received word that a guy in San Francisco was releasing a new liquor which is essentially a white brandy fashioned after the South American grape liquor Pisco. He’s cleverly calling it Frisco (pronounced Freesco). How Charlie O’Connell came to craft this idea stems from his travels to Singapore, Argentina and Chile. He credits a leather-skinned gaucho with a dusty old flask as the genesis of his inspiration. Click below to hear his tale.

   Frisco Liquor
Frisco Liquor

On Earth Day my guest was Kenny Likitprakong of Hobo Wine Company. He was a good fit. He’s a guy who loves the land, the freedom of the road and wearing out a pair of shoes. It’s no wonder he chose a career that would take him into the vineyards along country roads to produce a product from the soil. Kenny and his wife Lynn are also environmentally conscious and choose to use 100% geothermal clean energy to run the production facility. But don’t let the name fool you. He’s making world class wine and getting noticed.

 

It’s not often, actually only once before, that I’ve interviewed a Hospitality/Tasting Room Manager of a winery. Yet the impressive experience that is offered at MacRostie Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley inspired me to do so. LisaMarie Kennedy is the driving force and we discuss the mindset that sets them apart from other tasting rooms. And, of course we’ll discuss their wine. That’s a given.

 

 

Michael Sebastiani of Highway 12 Winery has been in the vineyards since he was ten, if not younger. In his 20s he began working with Paul Giusto at Viansa Sonoma. While there they hatched the idea of starting their own brand. Highway 12 passes through the iconic vineyards of Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, Los Carneros and Napa Valley. No better name could capture the essence of the wine they wanted to offer. In this podcast you’ll hear what it takes to start and operate a winery as they speak candidly about the challenges and their ultimate success with Highway 12, Carneros Highway and The Highwayman. It’s time to travel On The Wine Road.

 

A Legendary Wine Experience

From the heights of Moon Mountain to the windswept hills of Carneros, Signature Sonoma Valley is an exclusive, two-day immersion into the incomparable wines, acclaimed vineyards and welcoming community of Sonoma Valley. This is the inaugural event and one you will never forget. To learn more click the image below.

 

There were a number of wineries established in the mid to late 1800s in California that still exist however Foppiano Vineyards is the longest continually run family winery in Sonoma County. Some of the original dwellings and structures still exist, even the tasting room is built out of the original old redwood tanks. And if you visit you can still taste their 1996 Petite Sirah. The place is steeped in history. Join me in the Russian River Valley appellation as I talk with the president, the winemaker and self-appointed historian.

 

 

Foppiano Vineyards

On this podcast we talk about Tannat wine grown and crafted by Bodega Garzón in Uruguay and Y. Rousseau Wines in Napa. Joining me in this discussion is Christian Wylie, the general manager of Bodega Garzón, and French American Yannick Rousseau, the winemaker of his namesake winery. We in the U.S. are not terribly familiar with the Tannat grape varietal but it is respected in South America and southwest France. Through the efforts of these two experienced wine masters and other wineries who are giving it a chance we’ll all become more familiar and appreciative of the unique characteristics this varietal has to offer. By listening to this podcast you’ll also become familiar with the state-of-the-art Bodega Garzón winery and the region. You may also be inspired to visit!

 

 

Christian Wylie of Bodega Garzon with his Tannat       Winemaker Yannick Rousseau enjoying the Tannat aroma

To hear my interview with Yannick Rousseau about his wines click here.

The amount of the grape varieties winemaker Bill Nachbaur includes in his field blends at Acorn Winery is mind-blowing. I don’t know of any winery that utilizes so many varieties in their blends. In the image below on the right you’ll see what goes into the Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Syrah (a reasonable amount of varieties). Then there’s the extensive Zinfandel blend. On the left are the all of the varieties that make up his Medley Base which is part of the all-encompassing Medley Blend that includes all the varieties on the right as well! It truly is a grand palette from which Bill creates this unique blends. Somehow it all works well. They are as enjoyable as much as they are complex.

Here’s my interview with Bill –

 

acorn-winery-medley-2012-palette-edit

For a cleaner resolution click this link

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.

 

 

 

You’re invited to join me on a foggy morning in May as I meet winemaker and viticulturist Tom Meadowcroft. We walk through the Louvau Vineyard in Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. We discuss bloom, his winemaking process and those he respects. In this intimate conversation you’ll feel you’re standing and walking along side of us.

The Meadowcroft tasting room is in Cornerstone Plaza south of the town of Sonoma. I really enjoy his Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and the other wines he crafts.

 

 

tom-meadowcroft-tom

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