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Oliver Ranch is a unique 100 acre preserve dedicated to Site-Specific Art.

In 1985, Steven and Nancy Oliver commissioned their first piece. Since then, the Olivers have added 18 works that rise up over the rolling hills of the ranch’s landscape. The most recent addition is Ann Hamilton’s The Tower where commissioned dance, poetry, theatre, and music performances take place. 

Oliver Ranch
You are invited to join the Friends of the Sonoma County Wine Library as we spend two and a half hours
at Oliver Ranch on April 6th. This is a rare opportunity as the ranch is not open to the public. Tours are strictly for the benefit of non-profit groups such as the FOSCWL.
We will meet at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, 300 Via Archimedes at the 101 freeway. We will gather at 9:00 am, leaving for Oliver Ranch at 9:30. Park near the bus. The tour will be completed about 12:30pm. Your ticket includes a wine tasting at Coppola following the tour if you’d like to join us!

Tickets are $100 and are limited to 50 people. This tour will sell out!
We are excited to have you join us for this one-of-a-kind experience at Oliver Ranch!
For tickets please click this link to Brown Paper Tickets.
Please keep in mind there are no bathroom facilities at Oliver Ranch. However, the bus will have one.

 

Oliver Ranch

Proceeds from all tickets sales benefit the Friends of Sonoma County Wine Library, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Your attendance will help us continue our mission to support the Wine
Library and all it has to offer. Thank you!

 

 

On this podcast you’ll meet Nate Belden of Belden Barns.

He grew up on a farm but spent a number of his adult years working in New York and San Francisco. After a while he felt the unrelenting tug of country life once again. Although his wife Lauren grew up in New York City, surprisingly, she had a similar dream of living a rural life. But grape growing and Belden Barns wine isn’t their only focus. They partnered with Jenny and Vince Trotter to offer Farmstead Goods. Visit their website here.

Hear how Nate and Lauren’s yearning for country life came true as we talk…in the barn.

 

Belden Barns

The set up in the milking barn.

Belden Barns

There’s a good story about the reason for the Poetry Room. Ask them if you ever see Nate or Lauren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belden Barns

Their vineyard atop magical Sonoma Mountain

 

As we approach the end of another year, now my 6th On The Wine Road, I’d like to reach back to share a version of this previous post. It’s been an extreme pleasure to meet many fascinating personalities in the wine business. This recording highlights those who have expressed their passion about the wine industry. The winery owners, winemakers and growers I have chosen speak eloquently, philosophically, poetically, and often spiritually about wine and vineyards. I’m confident that if you listen it will make the wine you love taste even better. Cheers!

Guests include Greg LaFollette of Alquimista Cellars, Julie Johnson of Tres Sabores, Ulysses Van der Kamp of Van der Kamp Vineyards, Mark Topel of Topel Wines, Jean-Charles Boisset of Boisset Family Estates, the late George Macleod of MacLeod Family Vineyard (who we lost earlier this year), Delia & Janet Viader of Viader Vineyards and Winery, Gary Breen of Campovida, and Randy Ullom of Kendall-Jackson/Jackson Family Wines.

Click image for larger view

The Passion Expressed Within the Wine Industry

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an effort to take you behind the scenes at a wine judging competition I recorded a couple of interviews with fellow judges. This is from the recent 2018 Harvest Challenge wine competition that took place on November 13 & 14th in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA. It was an international competition that featured about 900 wines.  Click the play button to hear the interviews, click the Best Of Awards link to see the winners. It’s quite a list!

Congratulations to all who pick up awards!

 

Harvest Challenge Best Of Awards

 

Harvest ChallengeHarvest Challenge

I’ve known these guys at Kokomo Winery over five years now. Winemaker Erik Miller was on my first show back in October of 2013. Winegrape grower Randy Peters was kind enough to by my guest every other month a couple years ago when I presented a feature called From Bud to Bottle. And as you’ll hear, my wife and I belong to their wine club.

When I heard they achieved a perfect 100 point score in the North Coast Wine Challenge, I was thrilled for them. Like a friend would be. Sure, it’s not quite the same as receiving 100 points from some international wine critic but when you consider the wineries entering are from six of the most respected wine regions in California, well that’s sayin’ something.

By the way, I knew that wine was special the first time I tasted it, before the award. I remember the moment. It’s sublime. A true representation of the nectar of the gods. Here’s your chance to find out how they did it.

 

 

Kokomo Winery

Randy Peters (left), Erik Miller (right)

Kokomo winery

The winning 2016 Pinot Noir

Kokomo Winery

The Kokomo Winery Tasting Room at Timbercrest Farms, Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, CA

 

I’ve been seeing Breathless Sparkling Wines around more and more lately. They’ve been winning awards, and I hear people say it’s their favorite bottle of bubbles. It was time to find out more about this burgeoning winery. The three sisters who share ownership and responsibilities pursued the endeavor inspired by their mother’s zest for life. I enjoyed a tasting and interview with Sharon, and admitted to her that I prefer still wines over sparkling. The one they have now captured my heart…the silky, lightly sweet Ratafia. Like liquid gold. Speaking of which, they’ve already picked up 10 Gold medals in 2018, four of which were Double Golds. To that I say “Cheers!”

 

 

Breathless Sparkling Wines

Paradise Ridge Winery was one of a handful of wineries that burned to the ground during the October Sonoma/Napa wild fires. Now that some time has past I spoke to family member Rene Byck about that harrowing night and following week, as well as their plans to rebuild. When I spoke to Rene in late February they had yet to begin clearing the debris. That allowed me the opportunity to take and share photos of the devastation. If you’ve been on the property before the photos below will be heartbreaking. The good news is, all but one of their many art installations and sculptures have miraculously survived. As a consumer you can help support the winery by visiting their Kenwood tasting room or buying the fantastic wine they offer from their website PRWinery.com.

Click the player for the interview

Paradise Ridge

 

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Paradise Ridge

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Paradise Ridge

 

Paradise Ridge

 

 

 

 

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

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

It’s always my intention to talk with people who make a difference here in wine country. The couple of weeks during the fires it was two of the hard working firemen who traveled to join the fight. I thought it was important to get to  know them as people, not just firefighters. You’ll hear why they fight fires, about their appreciation for our community, and the loved ones they leave at home to save people they’ve never met. It takes an unusually caring soul to make that sacrifice. Capt. Gilbert Miguel of Kings County Fire Department & Battalion Chief Brian Price of Fresno Fire Department took time during their resting period to share their story.

This is just south of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Just one of the many spots were fire crews had 24 resting periods before fighting another 24 hours. There were so many trucks it wouldn’t fit in one or two photos.

Good day to you,

Here’s my full radio show that was scheduled to air today at 1:05pm on KSRO. With the latest mandatory evacuations announced for Sonoma and northeast Santa Rosa, KSRO’s full coverage of the fires will now preempt my radio show for today. If you’d like you can hear it click the player below.

For details on the latest evacuations you can visit Nixle.us. This is a direct link to the page. Needless to say, our positive thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this on-going fire crisis in Northern California. Thanks to all who have offered their support. Here’s today’s show.

paradise ridge

(Garagiste – A French term used to describe a garage-based winemaking operation. Once seen as a negative, garagiste wineries are now treated with cult-like status.) Ben Papapietro was a garasite in San Francisco. His desire to get into the wine business found him living in his van in a vineyard for months at a time. Some how he managed to keep his newspaper job during his decades-long venture. Along with friend and partner Bruce they managed reached success in Sonoma County with Papapietro Perry Winery. Ben shares his tale with me in this podcast.

 

 

 

papapietro perry

 

 

I talk with winemaker Sandy Walheim about Francis Ford Coppola’s new winery, Virginia Dare. The brands and tasting room pay homage to two events in American history. Virginia Dare is known as the first English child born in the New World to colonists in 1587. It was also the name of an early winery which operated in North Carolina beginning in 1835. You’ll hear about the wine and how they tie in to these historical events.

 

Virginia Dare-Sandy Walheim

Fogbelt brews edit

Remy, (on left in other photo) and Paul have wine making fathers, have worked the business themselves (Paul still helps his father at Hawley Winery) but they followed their passion to brew quality, hand-crafted beer. Hear their story and get more details at FogbeltBrewing.com

Owners Bruce and Cheryl Lawton have big plans for a wine cave. In the meantime they’re serving out of their tasting lounge at 21001 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville. Pech Merle may be small but with winemaker John Pepe they’re piling up the awards. I joined them under the oak cathedral to talk about their success.

Meet winery owner John Saemann and General Manager Scott Schuette of Clouds Rest Pinot Noir. John and his team make exceptional hand-crafted, small production Pinot Noir, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. As John believes, which you may too, the vineyard is a magical place there on Sonoma Mountain where the clouds rest.