With this podcast you can join me on a trip to the Hospice du Rhone event. It’s not a typical wine tasting. The Côtes-du-Rhône region in France features a great number of delicioius wine varieties. Twenty two of them were featured, and 125 wine producers from California, Oregon, Washington, and France were on-hand sharing their versions. The orginization’s slogan is “Twenty-two Varieties. One Vision.”

I spoke with General Manager and family member Jason Haas from Paso Robles’ Rhone winemaking pioneer Tablas Creek Vineyard. The co-Founder Robert Haas had the foresight to partner with Rhone Valley producer Château de Beaucastel.

Just off the Paso square I met up with winery owner Ted Ross of Hayseed and Housdon. I liked his wines, especially the La Macha Spanish blend, and Warrior. When you listen to the podcast and you’ll be impressed with his charitable generosity.

I also visited with Elena Barrios, who with her winemaking husband Stanley, are gaining attention with their outstanding Rhone varietal blends at Top Winery.

In conclusion, if you like Grenache, Syrah and Viognier but haven’t tried Picpoul Blanc or Bourboulenc, you’ll want to join the fun next year. Otherwise, visit Pas Robles for their own style of popular and rare varietals. Listen to the podcast and get inspired!

 

Tablas Creek

Hospice du Rhône

With Jason Haas at the event

The distance to their French partner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The large neutral oak French barrels behind glass in the tasting room

Hayseed and Housdon

Hospice du Rhône

Ted Ross with 3 of his wines that benefit charity partners

The back half of the tasting room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The building of Heyseed with versatile garage door

Top Winery

Hospice du Rhône

Sharing a taste with Elena

The clever labels of Top’s wine blends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospice du Rhône

My wife Meredith with a majority of the tasting room behind her

 

I think of Alicia Sylvester as a shooting star because, to me, she appears to be speeding through life…even when she’s standing still; when she can stand still. Her passion is invigorating. Her energy is inspiring. And at times you could even say she glows.

This podcast can serve as a sort of Master Class on how to rise through the ranks. You’ll get a kick out of how this small town central Cali girl ended up working harvests across the globe, playing a role in winemaking with respected brands, then landing her current gig at Banshee Wines. Alicia Sylvester crafts small vineyard designate wines for their club, and up to 70,000 cases wholesale. Any aspiring young winemaker should take notes!

 

 

Alicia Sylvester

This post with Ravenswood Winery founder Joel Peterson is a bit different than my usual podcast. As the Visual Oral Histories Chair of the Sonoma County Wine Library Association, you may be aware that I began videotaping oral histories as a way to capture the stories of those who made major contributions to the wine industry. We feel it’s imperative to preserve these stories for future generations. Joel Peterson, the founder of Ravenswood Winery and now Once and Future Wine, certainly deserved to be included. This is the audio from his Visual Oral History. If you’d like to see the video click here.

You may have heard the radio interview I posted in 2017 but this interview delves much deeper into his past. Join me in the historic Bedrock Vineyard in Sonoma County with Joel.

 

Although I am slow to get this Women in Wine podcast posted to my website, it did reach world wide podcast platforms in March.  That was my intention as it was Women’s History month, International Women’s Day was March 8th, and the 25th was the Second Annual Women in Wine Day. A week before the release I met up with Katie Madigan of St. Francis Winery in Kenwood, CA. Katie was lucky enough to develop an intertest in wine as a result of her parents love and enthusiasm about the beloved nectar. 

Pam Starr is the president and co-founder of Crocker & Starr in St. Helena. She has great enthusiasm about working in all aspects of the wine industry and has made quite a name for herself. As you’ll hear, both ladies share some common experiences.

It was a real pleasure to spend time with these ladies, and I hope you enjoy their stories of working in the male dominated wine industry. Although, that seems to be changing with each passing year.

 

 

Women in Wine

Katie Madigan

Women in Wine

Pam Starr

 

 

It’s Down To Earth Month.

Spring is here, we’re getting out to enjoy it, and many are considering how to thoughtfully take care of our beauiful planet. Each April California Wines presents Down to Earth Month celebrating Earth Day.

In this podcast you’ll  hear about events that are occuring across California. Guests include Allison Jordan of the Wine Institute, Jenifer Freebairn and Danielle Langlois of Lasseter Family Winery, and owner Dario Suttui of Napa Valley’s Castello di Amorosa. Celebrate our planet and enjoy the spring season!

Post Photo: copyright California Wine Institute

 

 

Earth Month

Allison Jordan Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Wine Institute

Earth Month

Jenifer Freebairn V.P. Marketing and Sales, Lasseter Family Winery

Earth Month

Danielle Langlois, winemaker, Lasseter Family Winery

 

Lasseter tasting room and winery

 

One of Lasseter’s colorful labels. This is for the Rhone Grenache blend.

 

Dario Sattui, owner, Castello di Amorosa

The Castello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 450-kilowatt solar and battery microgrid

This podcast blog with feature recorded interviews with Carlos de Jesus of Amorim Cork, Sophia Renqvist of Quinta De La Rosa alongside the Douro river, and Fabiano of Quinta da Aveleda in the Vinho Verde region. Join me for the story, the sights and the people we met along the way.

My wife Meredith and I decided to explore Portugal in late spring, 2020. As we began making plans they were kicked to the curb as COVID began grabbing all our attention and gathering time. You can relate. A year later, the fog began to lift and the future looked bright. Our flights were still available, the world was slowly opening up so we dived back into our plans to travel in October and November of 2021.

Fortunately for us, Portugal had just begun receiving travelers, however, they could not yet travel to the U.S. or a few other countries. They were thrilled to see new faces.

As we expected, lodging, restaurants, even car rental, were quite affordable. We wanted to get a real feel for Portugal and the people, so we planned our route with the intent to see as much of the country as we could within 12 days, (14 counting travel).

If I say so myself, we did an awesome job planning our schedule. We balanced short jaunts and stays in lesser known places with quality exploring time in Lisbon, Pinhão in the Douro River Valley, and Porto, to avoid wearing ourselves out.

Source: Google Maps

And this is how it played out….  

Lisbon/Lisboa

We wanted to stay near Lisbon’s older areas of Barrio Alta and Alfama so we chose Hotel Lisboa. It was just off the main corridor, Ave. de Liberdade. A perfect location. The hotel was modern, fairly small, yet offered an extensive breakfast. Referring to it as a “continental” breakfast wouldn’t do it justice!  The hotel clerk offered a car service to pick us up at the airport which was a welcomed option. The local gal shared helpful details during the 20 minute ride.

Just around the corner from the hotel and down a few blocks we found Sr. Lisboa. We were anxious to dive into the local fare. They offered Portuguese versions of Spanish tapas which hit the spot. It was like a country diner with excellent food and the crew made it more enjoyable.

 

In July of 2021, I was invited to join an international online event sponsored by Wines of Portugal. Rather serendipitous, I thought. It featured the Portugal Wine Ambassordor to the U.S. and interviews with winemakers from various regions, a couple of which made it on to our itinerary. As we ventured through Lisbon we came across the Praça do Comércio, a large square on the coast. On the western row of buildings was the Wines of Portugal tasting room. It featured wines from every Portugese region along three walls of bottles – an unexpected discovery of which we took full advantage! Later, we came across the 2nd location in Porto.

 

We really enjoyed walking around the Alfama neighborhood, one of Lisbon’s oldest areas, lined with shops, cafes, and convenient historic trams. If you go, try to catch Tram 28, which carries tourists and locals on the most popular route. My sweet tooth couldn’t resist the local pastry, Pastéis de Nata. That with cafe…uhhh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic Rossio Railway Station, circa 1890

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go to Lisbon, or any other foreign city for that matter, try to set up a dinner or a tour WithLocals, or something similar. You’ll learn much about the country’s culture and they’re favorite things to do. It’s worthwile insight. They may cook up a dinner you wouldn’t find anywhere else, like Isabel did for us. She offered multiple courses that included fried salted cod balls, fruit and vegetable items, and a local delicacy, black pork. Isabel also provide a selection of cheeses and two wines. She turned us on to Porta da Ravessa white wine, and the red Vila de Frades, both produced in the large Alentejo wine region east of Lisboa and Tejo. Isabel was a delight to spend time with, and her dog was pleasant and chill…sleeping at my feet while we ate.

Exploring Portugal

This vinho branco was an ideal starter wine. The blend of Roupeiro, Fernão-Pires, Arinto was light and fresh, and a bargain at 2.49 Euros!

A very nice red blend of Aragonez (Tempranillo), Trincadeira & Alicante Bouschet. It paired very well with the black pork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could create a full post on the day trip we took to Sintra, located on the Portuguese Riviera. A 45 minute train ride drops you into the magical, wonderous mountainous area with magestic castles, royal palaces, historic structures and mansions. And then there’s the Quinta da Regaleira. It’s dazzling archecture and grounds are “condusive to the contemplation of the Beautiful and the Sublime.” To avoid the tourist groups and lines we chose a zippy way to tour Sintra – the electric Twizy from Go2Sintra Eco Tours. It’s a kick!

The night before we left Lisbon we searched for a bar or restaurant that offered live fado music. It’s the country’s mournful folk music expressing loss, the sea, struggles of the poor and it can nearly bring a tear to one’s eye. Due to the slow recovery of the pandemic there were no live performances in the area. However, luck was on our side. As we wandered and searched, we came across Fado & Wine (the link is to their Facebook page). There was no one in the place but Fado filled the air. Shelves of wine were on every wall. Finally, a young gal came in. She was working across the walkway at her father’s restaurant. He also owned Fado & Wine. After discussion of what we liked in wine, she provided a couple of options. I fell in love with the 2010 São Domingos Garrafeira from the Bairrada region. (Remember that region, it comes up again).  She also served us some tasty tapas, then left us alone to enjoy the music and delectable wine and fare. She returned to let us try other libations she thought we’d enjoy. One of which was Ginja wild cherry liqueur was fantastic! Such long lasting, intense flavor. I wish I made note of  her name. She was sooo cool.

Exploring Portugal

Meredith enjoying her gooey entrada.

This bold blend of Touriga Nacional, Merlot and Cabernet featured floral and spicy notes, and blanketed the my tongue with red and dark fruit, with a touch of toast and spice. Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Évora

After two and a half days in Lisbon, we rented a Peugeot SUV and headed east to the ancient walled city of Évora. It’s also the capital of the Alentejo region. A larger town has since grown around the walled city but the interior has maintained its history. In the city’s historiccenter stands the ancient Roman Temple of Évora (also called the Temple of Diana). Nearby, whitewashed houses surround the Cathedral of Évora, a massive Gothic structure begun in the 12th century. The  features . Not far is the must see skeleton-adorned Chapel of Bones. It’s as fascinating as it is creepy.  All four walls were completed with the bones from the dead of the 17th century. Apparently, the use of the bones guaranteed the absolution of their sins. Those zealous Franciscans!

The ancient Roman Temple of Évora, also called the Temple of Diana

The Franciscan Gothic and baroque Igreja de São Francisco dating from the 12 century

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The skeleton-adorned Chapel of Bones, as fascinating as it is creepy. Apparently, the use of bones guaranteed the absolution of the sins of the 17th century people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To our delight, a half block from the Catherdral was the Rota Dos Vinhos-Alentejo (wine route – Alentejo) which offered a good number of wines from the region. Helena poured us a couple of whites and two reds. Grape varieties included Antão Vaz, (that was a new on on me!), Bical, Grand Noir, and the regions traditional Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, and Castelão. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coimbra

You know how sometimes you see a photo and you say to yourself, I would love to see that in person? That’s how I felt when I saw this photo of the University of Coimbrahigh about the city. It’s among the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world! At night, it’s stunning.

Fortunately, we found the Hotel OIslo Coimbra with a rooftop terrace, and lucky enough to have a room facing the university. The University was established in 1290, moved locations a few times and in 1597 it ended up in Coimbra at the Alcaçova Palace, previously owned by the Royal Family. On the drizzly evening following our dinner of Portuguese inspired pizza, we walked the parkways along the rows of shops. There next to the Igreja de Santa Cruz was a cafe and stopped in for a drink. What luck, a fado group was performing and the sound reverberating through the same architecture as the Igreja was mezmerizing.

Click here to see it for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year to pop some bubbly, and a good time to find out how the Korbel brothers eventually created California “champagne” 139 years ago. In this podcast, owner, president and chairman Gary Heck shares the story of Korbel Champagne Cellars. It’s a multi-layered history full of drama and perseverance. The Hecks are only the second family to run the business, and as a result of their decades of determination the brand can be found across the U.S. and internationally. Click here to visit Korbel Champagne Cellars.

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

 

Korbel Champagne Cellars

The Korbel brothers

 

Korbel Champagne Cellars

The original Korbel building with the Brandy Tower in the background

 

 

 

 

 

In this podcast you’ll meet Nate Miles, who with is partner Matt Nagy, created Groove Wines. It’s a thoughtful, stylish brand that believes in transparency. If you prefer wines that are made with little intervention; if you’re concerned about the environment, preferring less impactful alternatives, then you’ll want to hear about Groove Wines.

These intriguing varietals and blends feature names like Joyride, The Daydreamer, The Wild One and The Raconteur. What’s more, they’re ready for home or on the go!

As they suggest…Find Your Groove.

 

Groove wines

 

Gracianna Winery was built on a history that stretches back to World War II. His great-grandmother’s perseverance helped her escape Europe to start a new life in California.

Gratitude was the result of what the New World had to offer. There were struggles, but maintaining a farm and living a full life was rewarding. Owner Trini Amador speaks lovingly of Gracianna, the woman who taught him gratitude. He so appreciated and respected his great-grandmother he captured her story in a book (pictured  below).

In her honor, with their son’s unintended coaxing, Trini and Lisa have created the successful Gracianna Winery, which also took some perseverance. They’re grateful for the appreciation expressed by their club members and the many who have paid a visit to their Sonoma County tasting room. Hear Trini tell the tale of Gracianna in this podcast.

Click Play to listen now:

Click to listen later: OTWR_Gracianna

Gracianna Winery

Gracianna – The book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcription:



You may recall I interviewed owner John Balletto a few years ago. His story is a perfect example of perseverance. He was only 17 when his father died, leaving 5 acres of vegetables to John and his mother. Now, 43 years later, Balletto has grown to include 800 acres of estate vineyards across Sonoma County. The wine is excellent, their prices are moderate, and have been referred to by wine magazines as a “Best Buy”.

The man responsible for the wine is Anthony Beckman, the subject of this interview, although John chimes in as well. Anthony hit pay dirt when he left his newspaper career behind to pursue his other love – good food and excellent wine. His journey to Balletto Vineyards is fascinating, and what he and John accomplish together is remarkable.

Click here to listen now:

Click here to listen later: OTWR_BallettoAB

 

Balletto Vineyards

Owner, John Balletto

On today’s podcast you’ll meet Matthieu Mangenot of Domaines Albert Bichot. It was a pleasure to head back to Beaune, France, albeit this time by telephone. 

Matthieu will talk about his background and the wines they sent me (aren’t I the lucky one?). He’ll also touch upon the vineyards of Albert Bichot in areas of the three main appellations of Burgundy – village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru. 

You’ll also hear about some experiences you can enjoy if you plan to visit in the Burgundy Region now that the world is beginning to open up.

 

If you’d like to see the wine I received, click the links:

The 2018 Chablis Domaine Long-Depaquit

The 2018 Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Murot”

Click to hear now:

Domaines Albert Bichot

Matthieu Mangenot in his element

Domaines Albert Bichot

Our 2013 trip on the Véloroute (cycle route)

Domaines Albert Bichot

…one of the many things you can do in the Burgundy region.

Join me on a road trip to southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley wine region.

I met up with Dan Marca of DANCIN Vineyards, who offer a great variety of excellent Pinot Noir from around the region, Italian varietals, and a food menu that’s nearly as long as their wine list. They’re west of Medford near the historic town of Jacksonville.  As you occasionally hear in my interviews, serendipity often plays a key role. Dan has two stories that play into that theme. 

And I sat with Eric Weisinger of Weisinger Family Winery. He’s the winemaker and G.M. of the well established family winery where he’s held numerous positions since he was a kid. His father moved his family there from Texas to pursue a dream. I’d say he captured it!  Now Eric  bottles a good number of Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, a Tempranillo and a few surprises; which includes Caldera Lager of IPA beer.
If you decide to visit, be sure to consider their Vineyard Cottage. It’s very attractive. 

We enjoyed staying at the historic Ashland Springs Hotel. It’s in the center of Ashland with many excellent restaurants just blocks away, and off the lobby.

These interviews will give you insight into what I found to be two of the best wineries in the Rogue Valley. Let’s hit the road! 

Listen now:

Listen later: OTWR_RogueValley

 

Rogue Valley

Dan and Cin Marca

Rogue Valley

Eric Weisinger during my interview

 

The front Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyard at DANCIN Vineyards.

One of the tasting spaces at Weisinger Family Winery with the Grizzly Peak in the background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogue Valley

The Ashland Springs Hotel standing proud

Part of the attractive hotel lobby

 

The back patio of the Ashland Springs Hotel


 

Edited story from Decanter Magazine

A 200-year-old ‘unicorn’ bottle of the vaunted sweet wine originally destined for Napoleon Bonaparte’s island prison has fetched 420,000.

An intense bidding session saw a single bottle of Grand Constance 1821 sell for 420,000 rand ($30,000) at the 22 May sale, said the organisers of the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction.

‘It’s a true unicorn wine,’ said Charlie Foley, an auctioneer at Christie’s who presided over the CFRWA. Organisers said a UK-based Christie’s client bought the bottle. It is ‘perhaps one of only 12 remaining in the world’.

It was once part of a case of the rare, sought-after sweet wine destined to keep Napoleon company on his island prison of St Helena. But Napoleon died on 5 May 1821, as that year’s harvest was still ripening in the vineyard. 

Napoleon wasn’t the only high-profile admirer of wines from the renowned Groot Constantia vineyard.

Constantia wines had begun to achieve notoriety more than a century earlier. By the 1800s, fans had ranged from George Washington to King George III and Frederick the Great.

Today, Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance is one of the most sought-after sweet wines in the world. 

The Grand Constance 1821 sold at its 22 May auction was one of three bottles stored by South African drinks maker Distell, and its predecessor company, since being acquired at auction in the 1980s.

All three bottles were recorked in 2019, with a seal containing a unique, traceable code added.

Once in a lifetime opportunity.

Niel Groenewald, MD of Nederburg wine estate and head of CFRWA, said of the Grand Constance 1821 prior to last weekend’s sale, ‘A treasure of this calibre presents itself perhaps once in a lifetime, and anyone lucky enough to secure this wine at auction will be rewarded with an unbelievable valuable piece of wine history.’

Total auction sales at this year’s CFRWA reached 2.2m rand (£112,000), according to unaudited results.

Groenewald said after the sale, ‘Following a year that has impacted the South African wine industry like no other, the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction today became a beacon of resilience, showcasing the tenacious spirit of the country’s wine makers – and the massive favour they carry with wine enthusiasts globally.’

Since its creation in 1975, the auction has also supported charitable causes.

This year, organisers said more than 130,000 rand had been raised for the Pinotage Youth Academy, which provides programmes to help young people find employment in the wine industry and related sectors.  

Rare 1821 Wine

Photo Credits: Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction, in association with Christie’s.

This interview is was a bit unusual for me, with good reason. Ehlers Estate is one of the few wineries that possess an on-going philanthropic element. But that came later.

Ehlers Estate has a rich history dating back to 1886. It is arguably one of the top Cabernet producers in the competitive Napa Valley region. The old stone winery has been transformed into a modern, fashionable tasting space. In 2018, they hired Spanish immigrant Laura Diaz Muñoz as winemaker and General Manager. Her talent and willingness to revamp the appearance and winemaking is breathing new life into the brand.
    
In 1996, French philanthropists and owners Jean and Sylviane Laducq, established the Leducq Foundation which supports research for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke. On a small level, proceeds from Ehlers’ wine sales and tastings benefit research as part of the global international network. You’ll hear details from the Foundation’s Executive Board Members, Spaniard Martín Landaluce and American Dr. David Tancredi. It’s a monumental endeavor and one you’ll appreciate if you have a loved one who has suffered from cardiovascular disease. I think you’ll be impressed.  

 

Play now

or download for later:  OTWR_EhlersEstate

 

Ehlers Estate

Laura and the 9 bottles she had waiting for me

 

Ehlers Estate

The historic stone winery building

 

Ehlers Estate

The Red Barn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rustic yet exquisite tasting room

 

Sylviane and Jean Leducq

President of the Board of Directors of Leducq Foundation, Martin Landeluce

Executive Director of the Board of Directors of the Leducq Foundation, Dr. David Tancredi

 

There were two reasons that prompted me to reach out to Todd Graff. First, in October  my step-daughter Jackie told me in that her favorite wine is Frank Family Vineyards‘ Cabernet Sauvignon. Then in December, I watched as Todd received “Napa Valley Winemaker of the Year” from the North Bay Business Journal’s Annual Wine, Spirits and Beer Industry Awards.  That solidified my desire to interview him.

Aside from his history in the industry, Todd shared why he chose to travel early on. His wanderlust was further satisfied when he was chosen by Schramsberg Vineyards for a project in Portugal. For the last 18 years he’s enjoyed working with Frank Family and making a good list of wine varieties.

Why is Frank Family Vineyards often chosen as Napa’s Favorite Tasting Room? As the winemaker and General Manager, he has a pretty good idea. He’ll share that opinion.

As you’ll hear, Todd Graff is a casual guy, down to earth, and a bit humble…like most winemakers I interview.  Enjoy the conversation!

Play now

Download for later:  OTWR_ToddGraff_FrankFamily

 

The old winemaking barn is the first thing you’ll see when visiting Frank Family Vineyards

 

Todd Graff

Todd caught contemplating the answer to a question, and the wine he served us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd Graff

The tasting room Craftsman House from the 1930s

 

Todd developed a taste for sparkling wine during his time at Schramsberg Vineyards. He’s showing off his Brut Rosé as we hung out, literally, on the back porch.

Both wineries featured in this podcast, Mersenne Wines and Capo Creek Ranch, pay tribute to musicians. Mersenne created a wine label for a British Indie-Pop band, and Capo Creek has named a vineyard after a beloved singer, guitarist. That’s one aspect of each winery you’ll appreciate as I get in-depth with their stories of overcoming obstacles.

Mitch Rice of Mersenne Prime Artisan Wines entrance into the industry wasn’t too complicated. He had experience as a home winemaker before taking the leap as a winery owner. Though his beginnings were less challenging, delicate maneuvering was needed to “secure” his partner. As it turned out, their brand features a love story that is wrapped in historical lore…which I greatly respect.

However, if you buy a vineyard there are many more hurdles. Sisters Mary and Nadine Roy of Capo Creek Ranch did purchase land and it took several years to get their footing. They’re strumming along now and offer a wine and food pairing that is par excellence! It was quite an unexpected chapter following their lives as owners of a medical practice in Chicago, when one day an unsolicited pamphlet arrived in the mail that completely changed their life’s direction…eventually.

Join me for these tales of persistence by Mersenne Wines and Capo Creek Ranch, as heard On The Wine Road…

Play now 

Download for later   OTWR_Mersenne_CapoCreek

 

Mersenne Wines logo
Illustration by Michael Gray

 

Robin and Mitch

Mersenne Wines & Capo Creek

2018 Prospére Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 Rutherford, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

 

2020 North Coast Wine Challenge Best of the Best 98 pt. score!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 “SO45” Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon produced in collaboration with the British Indie-Pop band “Scars on 45”. Click the image to learn about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capo Creek Ranch

Mersenne Wines and Capo Creek

Social distancing with Nadine and Mary Roy

All of their varietals feature familiar curves of an acoustic guitar. This is one of our favorites, the 2018 Open Mic Grenache Red Blend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The filling and delicious Ultimate Food and Wine Pairing overlooking Dry Creek Valley

Marsenne Wines and Capo Creek

What we enjoyed that day. Incredible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s plenty of space at Capo Creek Ranch

The Triple Berry Galette with Chantilly Cream. They are not skimpy portions

These interviews were aired on my radio show on March 6th in celebration International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. It was a real pleasure to spend half the day with these two talented winemakers.

My first guest will be Danielle Cyrot who has held enviable positions in her career, the last 12 years of which have been at CADE Estate Winery on Howell Mountain.  Danielle is working with two interesting projects, the details of which we’ll cover.

Colleen FitzGerald is the enologist and a winemaker at Pine Ridge Vineyards in the Stags Leap District. She’s been handed an intereresting wine wine project which led to a sparkling brand that is the first new label for the winery in 25 years.

Has it been a challenge for these women to work in such a male dominated field? You may be surprised by their answers. Join me as I celebrate the contributions these ladies have made to the Napa Valley wine industry.

 

 

International Women's Day

Danielle Cyrot in the CADE Estate tasting room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Women's Day

Colleen FitzGerald with her Chenin Blanc+Viognier blend

In this podcast you’ll hear how you can obtain fine wines from the Far Niente Family and Benchmark Wine Group.

The Far Niente Family of Wineries and Vineyards has created a lower priced wine called Post and Beam. That led me to interview winemaker Michael Accurso. He’ll take us through the full portfolio which includes Nickel & Nickel, Dolce, En Route and Bella Union. You’ll also learn how Far Niente came to be revered winery that it is today, the beginnings of which go back to 1885. Far Niente helped create the high-end Napa Valley wine market and has continued that role for more than three decades.

Benchmark Wine Group is the leading source of fine and rare wine for wine retailers, restaurants and collectors around the world.  It’s the largest online seller of rare wines and they can be obtained by YOU!  Do you want a 1995 Châteauneuf-du-Pape? A 1999 Antinori Brunello di Montalcino? Or how about a 1977 Graham’s Vintage Port?  Hear how Benchmark can obtain these sought after wines, and how you can buy rarities from a collector’s cellar. David Parker fills us in on this episode of On The Wine Road Podcast. 

 

 

Far Niente Family and Benchmark Wine Group

Winemaker Michael Accurso

Far Niente Family and Benchmark Wine Group

David Parker, Benchmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far Niente Family and Benchmark Wine Group

These fine and rare wines can be yours!

Today’s offering comes to you in a timely fashion. The Stay at Home Order in California has been lifted. As a result, winery tasting rooms opened again last week for outdoor service. However, the order went into affect the day we arrived in the Sierra Foothills region back in December. Nonetheless, both winemakers were happy to meet with us, at a safe distance, of course.

Both interviews in this podcast feature winemakers in Amador County; Bill Easton of Domaine de la Terre Rouge and Easton Wines, and his neighbor Paul Sobon of Shenandoah Vineyards, Sobon Estate and his boutique brand, Paul J wines. I get a kick out of the winding country roads and the small towns of the Sierra Foothills, and the welcoming nature of the people who enjoy the slower pace there.

For years,  winemakers Easton and Sobon have shown you don’t have to live in a world-renowned wine region to make world-class wines. That said, the time is coming when the wine regions of the Sierra Foothills will be mentioned in the same discussion as Napa and Sonoma counties.

Here’s to a return to a more normal year in 2021!

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Download for later:  OTWR_Easton_Sobon_R

 

Winemakers Easton and Sobon of Amador County

The mid-December day we visited was comfortable enough to interview Paul Sobon in his backyard. It wouldn’t stay that way.

Winemakers Easton and Sobon of Amador County

Behind the bar with Bill Easton. Notice the recently received Wine & Spirits Magazine award between us. It’s one of several awarded to him.

 

Winemakers Easton and Sobon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winemakers Easton and Sobon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winemakers Easton and Sobon

Winemakers Easton and Sobon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winemakers Easton and Sobon of Amador County

Later that day, winter arrived. It was welcomed as it brought the holiday season to life in downtown Placerville.

 



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On this podcast I feature Seghesio Family Vineyards & Shadowbox Cellars. Winemaker Andy Robinson and Sonoma County’s Seghesio Family Vineyards are celebrating 125 years of grape growing this year. Seghesio is one of the few that made it through Prohibition and continue to this day.

In comparison, owner Justin Preiser’s Shadowbox Cellars is in its infancy at 11 years of winemaking. His fairly new tasting room in downtown Napa was the first wine entity granted an outdoor space, the parklet, during this covid era.

Seghesio Family Vineyards and Shadowbox Cellars are producing outstanding wines and offer enjoyable experiences. Justin’s Salt and Acid Pairing is nearly one-of-a-kind, utilizing a gourmet food item paired with his aged wine. To hear more details about the Salt and Acid Pairing you’ll just have to listen to the podcast. I’ll tell you this, it was surprisingly tasty.

Hit play to join us under the ancient trees in Healdsburg, and streetside in Napa.

Download for later  OTWR_Seghesio_Shadowbox_R

 

Seghesio’s outdoor lawn. Perfect for outdoor tastings, when it’s allowed.

Seghesio Family Vineryards & Shadowbox Cellars

A line up of some of Seghesio’s varietals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seghesio Family Vineryards & Shadowbox Cellars

Shadowbox Cellars Salt and Acid Pairing

Seghesio Family Vineryards & Shadowbox Cellars

The streetside Parklet in front of Shadowbox Cellars. A fun place to taste, when it’s allowed.



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