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The Creator of Cult Wine, Michael Browne – CIRQ

On this podcast you’ll hear my intimate conversation with winemaker and iconic wine producer, Michael Browne.

He gained fame with the highly respected Kosta Browne over the last 20 years. He has since moved on to a his own project Cirq. In this interview you’ll really get to know Michael, what drives him, why he loves Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, and hear about past experiences that inspire his winemaking and fearless pursuit of his passions.

And what’s  up with those early 20th Century wine labels? He’ll explain…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Backyard Conversation About La Pitchoune Winery

In preparation for this year’s Taste of Sonoma event I spoke with Tracy Nielsen of La Pitchoune Winery. Part of the interview was about Taste, but the remainder concerned her winery and their unanticipated success.

As you’ll see below by the artistic photo from their blog post they picked up a Best of Class Award at the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. 7000 wineries entered the contest! A six year old winery just isn’t expected to take the top prize in their category. Hear how Tracy struggled to get into the business, met her winemaker at a party, and at the behest of her husband (and chief strategist) decided to start their own winery. Their motto? Nothing is impossible.

Find their website here.

 

La Pitchoune     La Pitchoune

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Pitchoune

Peter Joachim Nielsen, Tracy Nielsen, Andrew Berge

 

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On The Road to Spirit Works Distillery

This week I’m traveling off the wine road and on to the spirit trail. Spirit Works Distillery has been on my radar for quite some time. I’ve heard nothing but good things about what they craft and witnessed them win an award one evening. It’s an interesting story how Timo and Ashby Marshall came together under extraordinary circumstances and ended up where they are today. That is, creating finely crafted variations of gin, vodka, whiskey, even sloe gin in a sustainably conscious manner with their grain to glass philosophy. I’m impressed with what doing…I even like their gin! (That hasn’t happened since that one night in high school). Learn so much more by clicking the play button.

 

Spirit Works

Ashby and Timo

 

Spirit Works

Lauren Patz, Head Distiller

Spirit Works

The line up

 

Spirit Works

The CARL distillery system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Russian River Valley Winegrowers Single Vineyard Night

Join Russian River Valley Winegrowers for an amazing tasting experience of Russian River Valley single vineyard wines. More than 30 wineries will be pouring small-lot, single vineyard wines from the Russian River Valley, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Guests will dine on delicious appetizers while enjoying single vineyard wines.

This year the event takes place at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country

My interview with RRVW Board President Giovanni Balistreri and Executive Director Wendy Hilberman is below. I apologize ahead of time. We were drinking Russian River Vineyards Rosé.

I hope to see you there!

Russian River Valley Winegrowers

Single Vineyard Night Single Vineyard Night Single Vineyard Night

 

 

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The Respected David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars

As you’ll hear in this podcast, David of Ramey Wine Cellars is well known by most in the biz. His name came up three times in the last few months while talking with other winemakers. A lot of wineries have tapped into his knowledge by hiring him as a consultant. I’ve also heard he doesn’t hold back his opinions. Those spring forth concerning a bit of a controversy he’s in the midst of here in Sonoma County. Meet the winemaker who utilizes old world methods with modern innovations…when necessary. Here’s David Ramey…

 

ramey wine cellars

Photo compliments of Mark Spivak

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Kendall-Jackson’s Winemaster Randy Ullom

Hear how a ski trip to Chile, which turned into a three-year adventure, inspired Randy Ullom to take his appreciation for wine and make a career out of it. Eventually, he would join Kendall-Jackson, travel the world, and make what has become the number one selling Chardonnay in America for 25 years in a row. You’ll hear about Randy’s career and learn about Jess Jackson, the maverick winery owner who took the world by storm.

 

Randy Ullom

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Radio-Coteau, A Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Winery

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

 

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Russian River Valley Winegrowers “Paulée”

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

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A Conversation in the Vineyard with Steve MacRostie

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

 

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Paul Mathew Vineyards, Worth Discovering

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

 

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Celebrating National Rosé Day with Distinctive Wines

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

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Hobo Wine Company

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.

 

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Experiencing MacRostie Winery and Vineyards

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.

 

 

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Historic Foppiano Vineyards

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

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The Extensive, Most Unique Field Blends of Acorn Winery

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

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A Grape Harvest at Bucher Vineyards

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.

 

 

john-bucher2

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2015 Harvest Fair Winners

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

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Joseph Jewell Wines

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…

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Kosta Browne Winery

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.

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Martinelli Winery

Learn about the history of the Martinelli Winery, founded by 19 year old Italian immigrant Giuseppe Martinelli and his young wife, Luisa in the 1880s.

George and Regina Martinelli and their families are keeping the legacy alive with their wine making and historic tasting room in Russian River Valley.

Regina Martinelli                martinelli web 2

Martinelli-Tasting-Room