As a Frenchman in Napa, Yannick is on a mission to introduce Tannat to wine drinking Americans. It’s very popular in the Madiran region of France and is now the “national grape” of Uruguay. Aside from Tannat he’s also educating us about Colombard. Known more as French Colombard to most of us he says with a chuckle, “that’s redundant.”  He crafts other wines as well and does a superb job. I love the images he uses for his wine labels as well which you’ll see below. Y. Rousseau Wines’ tasting room is worth a visit in south Napa at 902 Enterprise Way, Suite O.

To hear my interview with Yannick and Christian Wylie of Bodega Garzon about Tannat click here.

Y. Rousseau Wines

Yannick of Y. Rousseau Wines

On this podcast we’re going to challenge your belief in mystical talent. Marc Mondavi is not only a long time winemaker from the iconic Mondavi family, he is also experienced in the fine craft of dowsing, divining, yes they even call it water witching. Go ahead, scoff if you will, but Marc is paid handsomely for this talent and he wouldn’t have been for decades if he wasn’t successful. It’s no wonder his other wine project, aside from the family’s Charles Krug winery, is called The Divining Rod Wine. You’ll walk with me as he demonstrates his talent and as he talks about his other craft, fine wine.  Ex Aqua Vinum.



jeff-marc-laughing                 marc-divining

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?


Image result for syrah grapes, dry creek valley, amista

Last year I had the pleasure to work a bit during harvest. This year I’ve chosen to work and record during three harvests. The first one was at Bucher Vineyards in Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. The Buchers are wine grape growers but have been bottling their own wine the last few years. I’ve heard their wines compared to Kistler, a highly respected ultra premium producer! In this podcast I talk with John, his wife Diane, and their winemaker Adam Lee about this year’s harvest and their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. (Did I mention they also run a dairy farm?) There’s not much sleeping going on this time of year.




There is so much to do when you visit San Francisco you may not consider the fact that there are wineries and tasting rooms in the bay area. In this podcast I’ll focus on Treasure Island Wines and Winery SF (part of the Winemakers Studio group) on Treasure Island, and Bluxome Street Winery in San Francisco. Their offerings are on par with the wines you’ll find in wine country to the north as they all source their grapes from Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties. Listen in as I talk with those in the bay area.


You don’t meet many Scotsmen in Northern California. There aren’t many Scottish winemakers in the U.S., especially those who focus almost exclusively on Syrah but Steve Law of MacLaren Wine embodies all of those characteristics. He’s doing it well having been lauded by Sonoma Magazine and Wine and Spirits magazine. This inspired me to join him in his tasting room after hours to learn about his passion and wine making.


Steve Law-MacLaren

This episode is my full radio show from our recent trip to Lake County, Napa Valley’s more peaceful neighbor to the north. You’ll hear my conversations with Six Sigma Ranch, Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Steele Wines, and Shannon Ridge Family of Wines. It’s a rural area with many wineries near one another yet the region is quite spread out from Lower Clear Lake to Upper Lake. The warm days and cool nights lend to exceptional wines in the hands of the areas experienced wine makers. This episode may, and should, inspire you to visit.



Six Sigma Ranch      Hawk & Horse Vineyards

Shannon_Ridge_Sign_with_Red_Roses_588_391      Steele Wines_Jedd & Jeff


If you remember Pat Paulsen’s Presidential campaigns then you probably agree with me that this year would have been ideal for him to run as a candidate. We could use his satirical commentary. I talk with his son Monty about his father’s legacy and the wine they make at Pat Paulsen Vineyards. They’re serious wines for fun times!


Photo compliments of Doug Duran/Mercury News


I’m just south of St. Helena in Napa Valley at V. Sattui Winery. As they celebrate their 40 anniversary I talk with owner Dario Sattui about his early challenges, his determination, and how he successfully fulfilled a desire to continue his family’s wine making legacy.


V Sattui Gold Room

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.



Mauritson_edited           Clay Mauritson close-up

In this segment I visit Steve Rogstad at Cuvaison. You’ll hear about their Chardonnay & Pinot Noir from the cooler Carneros region and their Brandlin Cabernet Sauvignon from their vineyard on Mount Veeder. Steve also shares his story of becoming a winemaker. He’s had a successful run at Cuvaison and judging by the wine it’s no wonder.


Steve Rogstad

Bluxome Street Winery is the first fully operational winery to open in San Francisco since Prohibition. You’re sure to enjoy their wine, the design of the tasting room, and facility. In other words, it’s an ideal urban winery. I met up with co-founder Matthew Reidy to learn about the history of the building, to taste the wine they make, and to share their story as we took this trip “South of the Slot.”


Bluxome Street Winery  Bluxome Street Winery

Bluxome Street Winery  Bluxome Street Winery


Earlier this year I finally had a chance to meet with winemaker Morgan Twain Peterson of Bedrock Wine Co. Over the last few years he’s been making some of the best wine in the world according to Wine Spectator. Learn about his past, the family vineyard and his wine making style.


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

In this segment I visit Micah and Adrian in Forestville, Sonoma County. They just opened their tasting room this Spring and have been named a “winery to watch”. If you like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel be sure to add them to your list. Click to hear their story…

Each year the Napa Valley Wine Library Association host an annual wine tasting which is attended by many of Napa Valley’s wineries. 2015 was their 53rd event yet you may not have heard about it. Listen and find out why. (It’s private but there’s a way you can get in!) Michaela Rodeno, a former Napa Valley CEO, now owner of Villa Ragazzi, is my guest.

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

For a unique viewpoint of Napa Valley (in more ways than one) take the drive to Smith-Madrone Winery perched high atop Spring Mountain. 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.



A morning view of Napa Valley from Smith-Madrone before the fog had fully lifted.

I was honored to have a chance to spend time with Peter Mondavi Jr. during Peter Sr.’s 100th birthday celebration. Hear the interview about this iconic Napa Valley family.

Kosta Browne is a luxury tier wine producer. Their reputation for flavorful, intense Pinot Noir and Chardonnay has created a multiple year wait to get on their allocation list. Hear about their background and philosophy from winemaker Michael Browne.