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 –



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.




I read that Garrett of G. Love and Special Sauce is a fan of wine and that his sister imports Burgundian wine for a distributor in New York. This gave me a good reason to set up an interview prior to a show at the Fillmore in San Francisco a while back. I’ve been a fan for many years and it was very cool to spend some time with him. We talked wine, music and family. After the interview he asked if I wanted to hear a song he’d been working on called “Drinkin’ Wine.” It was a great start to an extraordinary evening.

An excerpt of  “Drinkin’ Wine” is featured in the interview but you can see the longer video here: https://youtu.be/OwoMtgxm–c


G Love

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.




Not long after college, and with a degree in French Language, Michaela Rodeno talked her way into getting hired as the second employee at Moët & Chandon’s new American winery, Domaine Chandon. It was 1973 and the office was in a garage on Mt. Veeder. After 15 years of helping Chandon become a success, she left as a V.P. and became Napa Valley’s first female CEO at the newly established St. Supery Vineyards and Winery. While there she formed Women for WineSense with Frog’s Leap Winery’s Julie Johnson, to combat the rising anti-alchohol movement of the 1990s. Michaela is now retired from the industry and focuses on the family’s Villa Ragazzi Wines, while Women for WineSense has continued to grow across the country. When you hear this interview you’ll understand why she is a beloved member, if not an icon, of the Napa wine industry.



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

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

I mentioned this today on my daily trivia/info feature, Wine Uncorked (104.9 Mix FM, Sonoma County). It’s an article that appeared in Forbes Magazine Monday from contributor Katie Kelly Bell. She has collected what she feels to be some of the coolest wine labels gracing the face of wine bottles across the world this fall. Some are colorful, some are monochromatic, some are images. You may find these to be eye-catching, yet others may find you thinking “Hmmm, really?” See what you think.

Coolest Wine Labels of Fall 2016

As a bonus I’m including the labels she chose earlier this year for Spring.

Coolest Labels of Spring 2016

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.




If you’re sticking around Labor Day weekend through the 11th, or if you’re visiting our beautiful wine country, consider attending the 2nd Annual Vineyards to Villages Wine Safari. During the week 11 boutique wineries in Russian River and Dry Creek Valley are participating in this fundraiser to bring clean water infrastructure to schools and communities in Kenya. Listen to hear how you can turn Sonoma County wine into water. You out-of-towners can help too. See photos and read about their successes at www.gpfd.org.



V2V kids

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

Join the Friends of Sonoma County Wine Library for this enlightening event about Riesling at Cartograph Wines in Healdsburg, next Wednesday, August 10th. Other wineries include Balo Vineyards of Anderson Valley, Gustafson Family Vineyard of Dry Creek Valley, Dutton-Goldfield and Horse and Plow of Russian River Valley. For tickets click the flyer. We hope to see you there!



We’ve been fans of Seghesio Family Vineyards for a number of years now. A recent article in Wine Spectator gave me the impetus to reach out to Ted to discuss the exceptional vintages of Zinfandel we’re experiencing. If you love Zinfandel, or would like to learn to, now is a good time to put Northern California Zins on your list. Also, I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk with Ted about his family’s 121 year grape growing and wine making history. They’re one of only a few who made it through Prohibition and are still in business today.

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


Here are the winners from this year’s competition. Congratulations to Grace Patriot Wines for another impressive showing!  Taste the winning wines in addition to all the other fun at the Sonoma-Marin Fair June 22nd – 26th in the Fair Wine Garden.

Click here to see the results: North of the Gate Wine Competition Winners.



Tim Fish has an article in this month’s Wine Spectator that hails the incredible vintages we’ve had since 2012 through 2014. You can find a synopsis here: California Zinfandel

WS also offers a list of all the Zins they tasted from these vintages and share the points scored and pricing in alphabetical order. You may find something that hits your sweet spot! California Zinfandel Reviewed