This is the third time I’ve interviewed winemaker Ted Henry – each time at a different winery. It’s not that I’m a Ted groupie. As a matter of fact, I didn’t plan to interview him when he moved to Groth Vineyard and Winery in 2021. But then I read four wines he produced when he was with Clos du Val winery won awards on an international stage…how could I pass up getting that story? Fortunately, we also cover much of what he’s been doing since moving to Groth. Ted is now the Director of Winegrowing, in addition to being the winemaker. All they ask from Ted is to “continue to make beautiful, elegant wines of place — wines that excite people.”
Join me as I travel to Oakville, Napa Valley to sit with winemaker Ted Henry during this On The Wine Road Podcast.
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!
The old winemaking barn is the first thing you’ll see when visiting Frank Family Vineyards
Todd caught contemplating the answer to a question, and the wine he served us.
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.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Frank-Family_website-1.png6321196Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2021-04-26 12:28:532021-04-27 17:04:54Napa’s Todd Graff of Frank Family Vineyards
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.
Danielle Cyrot in the CADE Estate tasting room
Colleen FitzGerald with her Chenin Blanc+Viognier blend
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/OTWR-Danielle-Colleen-1.png6041000Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2021-03-20 10:17:152021-03-20 10:17:05Celebrating International Women’s Day with CADE Estate and Pine Ridge Vineyards
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.
I traveled 2000 feet above Napa Valley to the peak of Spring Mountain to meet up with the mountain men of Schweiger Vineyards. You’ll find peaceful, picturesque views from their tasting room in the center of their rolling mountaintop vineyard.
As father and son, Fred and Andy have been working the property, with wife and mother Sally, since the 70s. As you can imagine, they have plenty of stories to tell. You’ll find their wines are an excellent representation the complex soil of Spring Mountain – full, flavorful and complex. I am impressed with the close relationship with their club members – who’s suggestions often get put into action by the family. For more details, visit their website here.
As it was planned, this interview aired on Father’s Day weekend. Here’s to the mountain men of Schweiger Vineyards!
The Tasting Room that Fred Built
Inside the tasting room during our recording
A portion of their vineyard, looking west
Their palate pleasing Bordelais blend, Dedication
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.png00Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2020-07-15 18:22:302020-07-15 18:22:30The Mountain Men of Schweiger Vineyards
I’m mixing it up on this podcast with Ace Premium Cider and Harvest on Spring Mountain Vineyard.
For you hard cider fans, you’ll get a kick out of hearing from founder Jeffrey House. The former Brit brought his cider knowledge to the U.S. in the 1970s and opened Ace Premium Craft Cider in 1993. With his sons firmly in place Ace is still a family run business, now in it’s second generation.
Then you can join me on Spring Mountain Vineyard during harvest with their longtime vineyard manager, Ron Rosenbrand. You’ll hear about the unique character of this 845 acre property and how this year’s growing season was for their Bordeaux varieties. Buckle up, it’s time to venture out On The Wine Road.
The Ace In The Hole pub
Apparently Ace In The Hole was the first!
The “harvest” moon early on one of many picking mornings.
Bins to fill with harvested grapes
Harvesting the grapes
Full bins waiting to be trucked to the winery
The sun begins to rise on the vineyard following harvest
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Jeffrey-Ron.png405720Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2019-12-28 15:59:082020-01-03 13:29:02Ace Premium Cider & Harvest on Spring Mountain Vineyard
CK Mondavi and Family of Napa Valley is currently ranked at #16 in annual case production for US vintners. Needless to say, that’s large.
LaRue Wines of the Sonoma Coast region produces less than a thousand cases. Yep, that’s really small.
My guests are Randy Herron of CK Mondavi and Family, and Katy Wilson of LaRue. I thought it would be fascinating to hear the differences between these two brands. Randy crafts more than half a dozen varietals that are priced in the Value category. Katy focuses on cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir priced at the Luxury level. Nevertheless, these two share an easy going nature and make wines that are exceptional for their price range.
A Wine Uncorked feature is also included in the podcast. A little trivia gift from me to you.
It’s not intentional that this podcast was uploaded just a couple weeks after the movie Wine Country was released. Artesa Estate Vineyards and Winery is one of the wineries the ladies visited.
The fact is, their winemaker Ana Diogo-Draper was on my radio show in April, so she was next in line for my podcast. As you’ll hear, Artesa is influenced by Spain, Napa Valley and Portugal. You can taste those influences in the many wines Ana crafts. Varieties include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Alberino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and a sparkling.
Join us in the tasting room to learn about Artesa Estate Vineyards and Winery, the rich history, and their delightful winemaker.
Jordan Vineyard and Winery is an ivy covered icon. It’s one of Sonoma County’s most stunning wineries fashioned after a French chateau. It stands boldly yet gracefully among the sweeping lawn, beautifully manicured trees, and recently planted cabernet sauvignon vineyard.
Needless to say, it was a pleasure to spend a couple of hours there interviewing CEO and family member John Jordan and winemaker Rob Davis. He and I chatted for 90 minutes, way more than I could squeeze into my one hour radio show. Fortunately, a majority of the outtakes can be heard in this podcast. For you Napa wine history fans you’ll love the stories Rob shares about “the Dean of California Winemakers,” André Tchelistcheff.
As you listen you’ll understand the reasoning behind Wine Enthusiast Magazine choosing Jordan Vineyard and Winery as American Winery of the Year in 2014. Since they produced their first vintage in 1976 their wine has lived up to the elegance of the chateau.
To see their tours and tasting options, wine and so much more click here.
During the tasting and interview with Rob Davis
CEO and family member John Jordan
When you walk through those French doors you’re elevated tasting experience will include award-winning wines and exceptional hospitality.
The directional sign at Vista Point that John and I reference.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Jordan-OTWR-1400x506.jpg5061400Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2019-05-10 17:18:012019-05-13 14:54:21The Story of Jordan Vineyard and Winery
This podcast includes stops at a favorite winery and restaurant; Spring Mountain Vineyard and A16.
As you’ll hear, Spring Mountain Vineyard features three distinct vineyards and a history that makes it a special place. What I love about the experiences are the library wines the offer. In three visits I’ve tasted vintages from 1988, 2001, ’04, ’08, ’10, and ’15. The cabernet sauvignons and their Elivette (reserve) blends are made in the Bordeaux style; meaning not a big, ripe, chewy Cab, but an elegantly complex wine that invites you to enjoy taste after taste. They also bottle a sauvignon blanc. Winemaker Justin Hirigoyen is my guest.
**Update: Wine Spectator just released scores for 2015 Bordeaux Blends in Napa Valley. Spring Mountain Vineyard topped the list with a score of 96. (BTW – 15 of the top 30 are priced higher than Spring Mountain Vineyard). Don’t hesitate, pay them a visit!
A16 Restaurant offers authentic Italian Pizza Napolitana, fresh pasta, and house cured meats inspired by the Campania region. My guest, Wine Director Shelley Lindgren, selects wines that highlight grapes of the Compania and nearby regions. We’ve enjoyed dining there. You’ll find A16 in the Marina District on Chestnut Street and in Oakland in Rockridge. They also operate the Michelin Star restaurant SPQR in the S.F. Fillmore district.
French and Italian wine and food. What’s not to love?
Justin on the day of our interview and tasting
The tasting we did on our first visit. We love those library wines!
The barrel room behind the attractive facade
One of Spring Mountain’s three vineyards
A recent tasting I attended in the beautiful Miravalle Estate
A16 Restaurant on a San Francisco evening
A partial shot of the restaurant. The wood-firing ovens are to the right and the seating wraps around.
Sometimes good things come in twos. It took over two years for me to nail down this interview with Warren Winiarski, I recorded over two hours of audio, and it took two visits to do so. Yet every minute I spent with him was a pleasure. You may be aware that Warren was the founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and it was his Cabernet Sauvignon that outscored the French Bordeaux wines in the famed Paris tasting of 1976. But that was early on. He has accomplished so much in his 90 years and, remarkably, continues to do so. He semi-retired in 2007 but is still involved with grape growing at his Napa Valley Arcadia Vineyard. He continues to learn yet his depth of knowledge is astounding, and the way he looks at life and winemaking is fascinating. Warren is engaging, charming, and kind of like a great uncle you rarely see but when you do you just want to give him a big hug…and drink his wine.
Author’s note: Here are the other California wines that made the final list based on an average of the judge’s scores in the Paris tasting, also known as The Judgement of Paris.
Red Category: Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello (5th), Heitz Wine Cellars Martha’s Vineyard (7th), Clos Du Val Winery (8th), Mayacamas Vineyards (9th), and Freemark Abby (10th).
White Category: Chateau Montelena (1st), Chalone Vineyard (3rd), Spring Mountain Vineyard (4th), Freemark Abby (6th), Veedercrest Vineyards (9th), David Bruce Winery (10th).
A exceptional accomplishment to those who were entered!
Warren’s Arcadia Vineyards was hit hard by the Atlas Fire a year ago October. He lost a barn, the tractor trailer with all of the equipment, and three homes.
The 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
The Arcadia Vineyard. You can still see the remnants of the Atlas Fire’s damage on the hillsides. The grass has grown back but a number of burned trees are evident.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Warren-600x338.jpg338600Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2018-11-11 10:58:212022-08-31 15:06:25A Wine Industry Icon: Warren Winiarski
I’ll bet a bottle of wine you haven’t heard a story about a successful pilot deciding after retirement to move his family to a rural area to raise his family who, without expectation or a plan, became a wine baron. This podcast is the story of Rombauer Vineyards.
In 1972, Napa Valley was a quieter agricultural area but just a few years later the region was thrust upon the world stage…and it’s been growing ever since. And like many, the wine bug bite the former pilot, Koerner Rombauer. On today’s podcast I talk with his son, K.R., and winemaker Richie Allen about their great success. You’ll also learn of a surprising development that occurred just a week following the interview. I’ll leave it at that.
And if you have heard a story about a former pilot who became a wine baron, reach out to me for your bottle of wine.
K.R. Rombauer, upper left – Richie Allen, upper right
K.R. Rombauer and daughter Sheana
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Rombauer-label.jpg550950Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2018-06-06 17:04:202018-06-06 17:04:20The Story of Rombauer Vineyards
The name Mondavi is synonymous with wine in California, and across the globe for that matter. Riana is a 4th generation Mondavi and is a brand ambassador for CK Mondavi and Family. In early March I had the chance to sit down with her and their winemaker, Charlie Gilmore.
We met at the Sonoma County Wine Library, a true library rich with books on wine history as well as educational resources. There were a few people studying nearby so it may seem like we’re talking in hushed tones. It is a library, after all.
During this podcast we’ll discuss their 75 year history, their decades long relationships that help maintain their incredibly low prices, and keeping the brand relevant with the current generation.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/CK-Mondavi-group-crop.jpg7041400Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2018-04-07 15:21:462018-04-17 18:54:41Riana Mondavi Continues the CK Mondavi Legacy
Yes, for 50 years the Chappellet family has been crafting exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals from their Pritchard Hill Estate high above Napa Valley. It started with a leap of faith when Donn Chappellet and family left a successful business in Los Angeles to make the kind of wine he enjoyed. He may have been a bit naive but determination, and a little help from Napa Valley icons, helped Donn and Molly Chappellet build a well-respected and sought-after brand. Vice President and owner Dominic Chappellet shares his family’s story from the beautiful estate where he was born and raised.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Dominic_HDR.jpg23404160Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2018-02-21 09:43:562018-02-27 08:47:04Chappellet Winery Celebrates 50 years in Napa Valley
When it comes to winemaking you’ll find Cathy Corison at the intersection of Power and Elegance. You won’t locate that intersection on a map but you can find it in a Corison bottle. Cathy has worked at respected Napa Valley wineries such as Freemark Abbey, Chappellet and her namesake winery for 40 years. Not a bad run for a woman who got her start by taking a wine appreciation course “on a whim.” This year she was named a Top 100 Winery by Wine & Spirits Magazine. She’ll be the first to say her success has as much to do with serendipity and luck as it does talent. Meet Cathy Corison on today’s podcast.
Her Kronos Vineyard from the second story porch of her winery barn.
The late season makes its mark on her old vine Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Corison-label-1.jpg5131200Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2017-12-10 17:43:512017-12-13 13:08:50Cathy Corison and her top 100 wine
The Lake County wine region covers a wide area. It’s a bucolic region with stunning views of Clear Lake, the largest lake in California. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, if you haven’t been to Lake County wine country, it’s well worth the weekend trip. There is some fantastic wine being produced there. During our visit I sat down with winemaker Matt Hughes at Brassfield Estate Winery. As you see, it’s a beautiful property and they put as much effort into their wine as they have the facility, the property, and wildlife reserve. The Brassfield 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon picked up the Best of Class Award during this year’s North Coast Wine Challenge, meaning it topped Cabernets from Napa, Sonoma, and Marin! No small feat. Matt shares their story here.
Winemaker Matt Hughes
Just a part of their attractive tasting room
One of the many striking features throughout the property
Lake County features incredible views of Clear Lake like this one from the ridge above Brassfield Estate
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Brassfield-large.jpg4711000Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2017-12-04 14:29:532017-12-04 14:29:53Brassfield Estate Winery, Lake County Getaway
This was only the second time I’ve featured just one guest on my radio show since it began in 2014. Today you’ll meet the Godfather of Zinfandel, Joel Peterson. You may not recognize his name but Joel has been bottling and promoting Zinfandel since he started his brand in 1976, Ravenswood Winery. It’s likely you’ve heard of that name. They bottle other varietals and are well known for their slogan, No Wimpy Wines. Now he’s back at the beginning with his new brand, Once & Future. It’s a fascinating story he shares on today’s podcast.
https://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Joel-Peterson.jpg413620Jeff Davishttps://onthewineroad.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Podcast-Logo-for-website-copy.pngJeff Davis2017-08-15 11:45:142017-08-15 14:38:56The Godfather of Zin, Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery