Monday, December 31, 2012

12/31-Encore Broadcast Nicole & Jennifer talk to Louie Lucas & Larry Van Aalst


Louie Lucas - Lucas & Lewellan
Originally from the Central Valley of California, Louis Lucas is one of California's premier grape growers. He literally grew up in the business. His father, son of Croatian immigrants, was a leading table grape grower in California for decades. Louis is best described as an innovator and a master at utilizing a variety growing practices and techniques. His vast knowledge and viticulture expertise span over 35 years, making him a sought after speaker, consultant, Louis has sold wine grapes to many wineries over the years including: Sebastiani, Korbel, Chateau Montelena, ZD, Wente Brothers, Ridge, Callaway, Bargetto, Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, Steele, Rusack, Fess Parker, Sunstone, Dan Gehrs, Austin Cellars, Foxen, Sanford, Viansa, Fiddlehead, McKeon-Phillips, Rideau and Bonny Doon.



Larry Van Aalst - Sommelier/WCOW Show Host
Host (The Sonoma Report), CRN Digital Talk Radio, Santa Rosa, CA
The Equus Restaurant wine list was judged "Best of Show" in the 1995 and 1998 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The gallery of Sonoma County wines, nearly 300 bottles hand-picked by their winemakers, sets the tone--wine country splendor in a classic setting. Larry Van Aalst, Equus Sommelier, has been selecting wines for Equus for over a decade. Larry has been judging at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair/San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for over a decade likewise, an opportunity for Larry to keep abreast of fine wines from California.
Larry will discuss 2012 Sonoma harvest and crush and update listeners on the recent rainy weather in Sonoma.

Monday, December 24, 2012

12/24-Encore Broadcast Michael Horn visits with Gary Eisenberger & Mia Martinez


Gary Eisenberger - Co-Founder Karma Tequila
Karma Tequila is produced from 100% blue agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, a region referred to as the Napa Valley of Mexico and recognized for having the richest volcanic soil and ideal climate. Each agave is hand picked and tested ensuring that only the ripest agave is used. Authentic brick ovens slowly cook the agave allowing all the flavors to be captured in every sip.

Karma’s distillery is family owned and operated utilizing traditional distilling methods that have been passed down from generation to generation for over 70 years. Karma100% agave tequila is handmade in small batches through a multiple distillation process ensuring a complete balance in taste and smoothness.




Mia Martinez - Partner, PaQui Tequila
PaQui Tequila is made by Tequila lovers for Tequila lovers. It combines the most flavorful and drinkable characteristics of any Tequila we know. It has a distinct agave flavor that encompasses a variety of complex and extremely pleasing notes that dance on the palate. Like the finest of wines, PaQui Tequila has a beautiful spectrum of flavors that emer

ge throughout the entire tasting experience. Remarkably, given all the full bodied flavor, PaQui Tequila has one of the smoothest and cleanest finishes that we have ever tasted in any Tequila, at any price.

PaQui Tequila is the only Tequila made with our own process of "Selective Distillation". We actually separate the heart of the distillation into many different components as it is being distilled off the pot still. Our Master Distiller then analyzes each component for superior taste, aroma, and smoothness, and only uses the components that will produce the most superior Tequila, while discarding the rest. This is a very expensive and time consuming process, but it is one that we feel any knowledgeable and enthusiastic Tequila lover will appreciate!

Please visit our website to see what everyone is saying about PaQui and where you can find it!

BE HAPPY - DRINK PAQUI!
 

Monday, December 17, 2012

12/17-Michael Horn visits with Gary Eisenberger & Mia Martinez

Gary Eisenberger - Co-Founder Karma Tequila
Karma Tequila is produced from 100% blue agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, a region referred to as the Napa Valley of Mexico and recognized for having the richest volcanic soil and ideal climate. Each agave is hand picked and tested ensuring that only the ripest agave is used. Authentic brick ovens slowly cook the agave allowing all the flavors to be captured in every sip.

Karma’s distillery is family owned and operated utilizing traditional distilling methods that have been passed down from generation to generation for over 70 years. Karma100% agave tequila is handmade in small batches through a multiple distillation process ensuring a complete balance in taste and smoothness.



Mia Martinez - Partner, PaQui Tequila
PaQui Tequila is made by Tequila lovers for Tequila lovers. It combines the most flavorful and drinkable characteristics of any Tequila we know. It has a distinct agave flavor that encompasses a variety of complex and extremely pleasing notes that dance on the palate. Like the finest of wines, PaQui Tequila has a beautiful spectrum of flavors that emer
ge throughout the entire tasting experience. Remarkably, given all the full bodied flavor, PaQui Tequila has one of the smoothest and cleanest finishes that we have ever tasted in any Tequila, at any price.

PaQui Tequila is the only Tequila made with our own process of "Selective Distillation". We actually separate the heart of the distillation into many different components as it is being distilled off the pot still. Our Master Distiller then analyzes each component for superior taste, aroma, and smoothness, and only uses the components that will produce the most superior Tequila, while discarding the rest. This is a very expensive and time consuming process, but it is one that we feel any knowledgeable and enthusiastic Tequila lover will appreciate!

Please visit our website to see what everyone is saying about PaQui and where you can find it!

BE HAPPY - DRINK PAQUI!


Monday, December 10, 2012

12/10-Michael Horn talks with Camron King and Peter Cargasacchi

Camron King -  Executive Director Lodi Wine Grape Commission
The commission conducts marketing, promotion and grower education activities, including 'The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Viticulture' certification program, and also operates the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center.

Camron King has a ingrained passion for winegrapes. But he didn’t grow up on a vineyard or learn the art of winemaking from generations of vintners.

King grew infatuated with wine while drinking it.
“I just started as a consumer. In college, a group of us loved going out and tasting wines. It became the fun thing to do,” said King.
King will now put his experienced palate to work marketing and managing the more than 60 varietals grown in the Lodi Appellation.



Peter Angelo Cargasacchi is the fifth generation of his family in California, but the first born in California. His great, great grandfather came from Italy to California, but then disappeared. His Great Grandfather founded a restaurant and hotel in San Francisco the Saint Gotthard, which was destroyed in the fire and earthquake of 1906. Subsequent generations, though born in Italy, lived and farmed in the California Central Coast since the early 1900’s.
Peter planted Cargasacchi vineyard in 1998 in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, and began planting the subsequent Jalama vineyard in 1999.
Julia Manuela Cargasacchi is also the first generation of her mother’s family to be born in California. She has fond memories of helping her grandmother with the vendemmia (grape harvest) in Italy, where she spent many summers. It was from her grandmother that she developed an interest in cooking, wine and a love for Italy.
The roots of the Cargasacchi winemaking philosophy are found in the Italian traditional pairing of food and wine at mealtime. Both Peter’s and Julia’s families have been making wine for consumption with food for many generations. This tradition continues in California.
Using estate fruit, Peter and Julia produce two Pinot Noirs under the Cargasacchi label and one late harvest Pinot Grigio. They also produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Syrah under the Point Concepción label from estate and purchased fruit.

Monday, December 3, 2012

12/3-Michael Horn talks to Louie Lucas & Larry Van Aalst

Louie Lucas - Lucas & Lewellan
Originally from the Central Valley of California, Louis Lucas is one of California's premier grape growers. He literally grew up in the business. His father, son of Croatian immigrants, was a leading table grape grower in California for decades. Louis is best described as an innovator and a master at utilizing a variety growing practices and techniques. His vast knowledge and viticulture expertise span over 35 years, making him a sought after speaker, consultant, Louis has sold wine grapes to many wineries over the years including: Sebastiani, Korbel, Chateau Montelena, ZD, Wente Brothers, Ridge, Callaway, Bargetto, Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, Steele, Rusack, Fess Parker, Sunstone, Dan Gehrs, Austin Cellars, Foxen, Sanford, Viansa, Fiddlehead, McKeon-Phillips, Rideau and Bonny Doon.


Larry Van Aalst - Sommelier/WCOW Show Host
Host (The Sonoma Report), CRN Digital Talk Radio, Santa Rosa, CA
The Equus Restaurant wine list was judged "Best of Show" in the 1995 and 1998 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The gallery of Sonoma County wines, nearly 300 bottles hand-picked by their winemakers, sets the tone--wine country splendor in a classic setting. Larry Van Aalst, Equus Sommelier, has been selecting wines for Equus for over a decade. Larry has been judging at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair/San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for over a decade likewise, an opportunity for Larry to keep abreast of fine wines from California.
Larry will discuss 2012 Sonoma harvest and crush and update listeners on the recent rainy weather in Sonoma.

Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26-Michael Horn visits with Gina Gallo & David Hunt

Gina Gallo - Gallo Signature Wines

Gina Gallo followed the footsteps of her grandfather Julio Gallo to find her calling as winemaker for Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve. Today she creates award-winning wines from grapes grown by her brother Matt Gallo.
For Gina, a career in winemaking was inevitable. During high school she worked summers at E. & J. Gallo Winery, and after college she joined the company full time in the sales department.
She was drawn to the creative process of making wine, and years later she began studying at the acclaimed Viticulture and Enology program at the University of California, Davis. At the Winery, she apprenticed under 30-year veteran Marcello Monticelli.
Gina is immediate past president of the International Wine & Spirit competition.



David Hunt - Hunt Cellars
“At Hunt Cellars we pride ourselves on being a hand-crafted boutique producer, making small lots of world class wines,” says David Hunt, owner, winemaker and visionary behind Hunt Cellars. Located on Highway 46 on Paso Robles’ coveted Westside, Hunt Cellars has achieved cult winery status by compulsively focusing on their wine. There is an eagerness for Hunt to show his wines against places like Napa and Sonoma, and for good reason. “When we first opened up our tasting room we, and many other wineries, had to overcome the stigmatism of Paso Robles selling cheap over ripened wines,” he says. But those days are long gone. Paso Robles is being hailed as the next Napa, and part of that is due to David Hunt.


Hunt Cellars is often asked to compete in Cult Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Meritage competitions against Napa and Sonoma’s most acclaimed cult wineries: names like Harlan, Grace Family, Joseph Phelps, Mt. Veeder, Paul Hobbs, and Mondavi. “It is always an eye opener to Master Sommeliers and wine writers that our premium wines compete toe to toe with the most expensive and best that Napa and Sonoma offer,” Hunt says. And as proof of that Hunt Cellars was just notified that in the recent California Bordeaux competition, held by Food and Beverage World, they had won four out of the eight categories and came in 2nd in the Meritage blend tasting. Hunt Cellars won Best White Wine with their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc "Starlight Concertio"; Best Merlot for 2007 "Unforgettable” - Best Cabernet Franc for their 2006 "Opulance" and Best Cabernet Sauvignon with their 2007 "Cabovation" and came in 2nd place with their 2006 Meritage Blend "Rhapsody In Red".

David Hunt said he was amazed and honored that he had won these categories against over 60 of California's top wineries from Paso Robles, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Lake County, Monterey and others. Said Hunt, “I knew the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc was good, but did not know how good the competition was so I was grateful to have won “Best White Wine.” In the last few months Hunt Cellars has received 96 to 96-plus scores on six of their wines including their 2005 Cabernet Reserve Cask 21, their first Pinot Noir called “Imagine” and their tasty Tawny Port “Oldie But Goodie.”

Hunt, who is blind, has been told that he has heightened senses as a result of his blindness, and some believe this affects his winemaking abilities. “I do not believe in excuses but I work with the wines until I cannot produce a better flavor profile,” Hunt admits. And that takes time, something David Hunt is more than willing to accept rather than rushing his wines to market. “We do not have a set program dictated by barrel aging but we let the barrels and wines tell us when they are ready to be bottled, with the perfect balance and amazing finish.” And Hunt does this with each of the 14 different varieties he works with.

As any wine consumer knows, and as David Hunt routinely says, “Life is too short and you work too hard to drink bad wine.” Has Hunt Cellars become one of the leaders in changing perceptions for high quality wines in Paso Robles? Every one of his high scoring wine says yes!


Find out just how excellent the Hunt portfolio of wines really is. The Hunt Cellars tasting room is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are located at 2875 Oakdale Rd. directly off Highway 46 West. Contact them at (805) 237-1600 or www.huntcellars.com.

Monday, November 19, 2012

11/19-Michael Horn talks to Joey Tensley and Mike(DeSimone) & Jeff(Jenssen)

Joey Tensley - Tensley Wines
In 1998 Joey Tensley launched Tensley Wines with one hundred cases and one single goal – to make wines that let the unique and little-known vineyards of Santa Barbara County speak for themselves.  Thirteen years later Tensley is a 4,000 case-a-year business with Syrahs in the Wine Spectator's Top 100, a history of high scores with Robert Parker, and a Food and Wine Magazine award for producing the "Top Syrah in America Over $20."

Joey's first experience with wine took place when he was just twelve-years-old and his soccer team toured a winery while taking part in a tournament in Bordeaux. Joey vividly recalls the chill of the old caves and the aromas of wines fermenting in barrel.  From that moment on he knew he wanted to be a winemaker. "Which pretty much made me the only kid in Bakersfield, California, with that particular dream," Joey says. "We all raced go-carts and most of my friends wanted to be race car drivers."

Ten years later, in 1993, Joey got his start in the wine business working as a "cellar rat" for Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara County.  After only three years he became the assistant winemaker at Babcock Vineyards.  There Joey came to appreciate the importance of the vineyard and the grower. He also came to appreciate the uniqueness of Santa Barbara County as a growing region. "We're one of the only places in the world with a mountain range that runs east-west.  That gives us a lot of different microclimates."

In 1998 Joey moved on to become the assistant winemaker at Beckmen Vineyards.  There he was offered space to launch his own label. He decided to produce only vineyard designated Syrahs from Santa Barbara County.  He also decided that those Syrahs would all be priced the same and made in the same fashion. He stays true to those methods today.

By 2001 Tensley Wines' original 100 cases had grown to 750 cases, and Joey had moved into his own winery in Buellton, California. Tensley appeared on prestigious wine lists from coast to coast including Manhattan's Gotham Bar and Grill, Chicago's Bin 36, and Picasso in Las Vegas.





Mike and Jeff - World Wine Guys
The southern hemisphere is fast becoming the hottest source of delicious, affordable wine--and this is the first book to focus entirely on this bourgeoning industry. Created by the renowned “World Wine Guys,” Wines of the Southern Hemisphere provides the latest information on the best wineries in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, and Uruguay. In addition, the guide features interviews with top winemakers and recipes to pair with their wines.


Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, known as the World Wine Guys, are Entertaining and Lifestyle Contributing Editors for Wine Enthusiast magazine. Their work has also appeared in Wine Spectator, Saveur.com,International Living, and The European. The duo has judged the prestigious Concours des Vins wine competition in Chablis, France. In 2010 they were inducted into the Confrerie des Piliers Chablisiens. They are the proud authors of the Port Wine chapter in Kevin Zraly's The Ultimate Wine Companion: The Complete Guide to Understanding Wine by the World's Foremost Wine Authorities and have written the upcoming The Fire Island Cookbook. Mike and Jeff were the first guests to pair wine with food on Martha Stewart's Hallmark Channel show and were featured guests on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit their website, worldwineguys,.com to see more, as well as Wine Enthusiast's winemag.com. They reside in New York City and southern Spain.

Monday, November 12, 2012

11/12-Michael Horn visits with Miro Tcholakov & Reynaldo Robledo

Miro Tcholakov - Winemaker - Trentadue

Born and raised in northern Bulgaria, a region with many millennia of wine- making history, Miro (Miroslav) Tcholakov was exposed to wine and winemaking at a very early age. His grandfather had long made the family supply of wine, and as a boy, Miro was at his side during all phases of the process.
After completing his mandatory military service, he attended the Higher Institute of Agriculture in Plovdiv and graduated with honors with a degree in viticulture and enology. Soon there after in the summer of 1990 he was chosen from hundreds of candidates to participate in an international exchange program in Agriculture set up by The Future Farmers of America. After a brief stint in Napa, he was taken on as harvest intern at Sonoma's Dry Creek Vineyards. What was supposed to be a temporary harvest job turned into a nine-year position moving through the ranks of Cellar Master and culminating in being named Assistant Winemaker in 1997.
In the summer of 1999, Miro was hired to be the Winemaker at Trentadue Winery. He came on board just in time to oversee the spectacular 1999 harvest. The wines from his first Vintage as winemaker at Trentadue, received unbelievable quantity of accolades from the professional wine press, including The Sweepstakes winning Zinfandel from the West Coast Wine Competition. During the following vintages Miro's list of accomplishments continues to grow with a consistent 90 and above high scores from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and a pinnacle 92 point score from The Wine Spectator. Our cabinets are filled with over 60 Gold Medals, more than 30 Double Gold and Best of Class and hundreds of Silver Medals! At the end of 2005 Miro was chosen by popular media as one of the top 20 winemakers in America.
In his tenure as Winemaker at Trentadue, Miro has also overseen the introduction of the winery's first ever line of reserve wines, the La Storia brand of ultra-premium table wines. With these particular wines, he is able to put to good use all of his winemaking talent, using only the finest Estate lots from each harvest and expertly blending them to express the pinnacle of the winemaker's art.
We here at Trentadue are very proud of everything Miro has accomplished in so short a time. We hope you enjoy all the delicious fruits of his labor in the name of great wine.


Reynaldo Robledo - Founder Robledo Family Winery
Reynaldo migrated from Michoacan Mexico at the young age of 16 in 1968 in pursuit of a better life for himself and his then girlfriend, Maria Ramirez.  With his incredible fortitude and ambition, he took every opportunity to learn the craft of viticulture and acquire business acumen.  He eventually became one of the most sought after vineyard consultants in Sonoma County.  Reynaldo eventually married Maria and had nine children, all of whom grew up working in the vineyards.  He established two companies that are now operated by six family members.  To this day, Reynaldo enjoys working in the vineyards alongside his children and grandchildren who have inherited the same passion for the industry he fell in love with years ago.

Monday, November 5, 2012

11/5-Michael Horn talks with Pete Seghesio

Pete Seghesio - Seghesio Family Vineyards
Seghesio Family Vineyards produces award-winning Zinfandels and Italian varietals that honor the history of Sonoma and the Seghesio family.

Today, we are proud to passionately produce almost exclusively estate wines, some from those same vineyards Edoardo and Angela first planted in the late 1800s.

Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley in 1895. Since then, four generations of the Seghesio family have tended over 400 acres of vineyards in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. True to Edoardo’s vision, Seghesio Family Vineyards produces award-winning Zinfandel and Italian varietals at the hands of Winemaker Ted Seghesio. Guests to the historic Healdsburg winery enjoy daily tastings, weekend wine and food pairings, special events, picnics and bocce.




Peter Work - Ampelos Cellars and Vineyards

ampelos has been a family endeavor from the start. Initially “corporate folks”, we loved getting away to the Sta. Rita Hills on the weekends and dreamt of one day planting our own vineyard and making wines. A cancelled meeting in New York on the morning of September 11, 2001 helped us to realize that someday was today!
we purchased 82 acres in 1999 not knowing that one day it would be part of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Our son, Don, came out to help get the vineyard underway and soon our dreams became reality. The first 15 acres were planted in 2001 and in 2005 we expanded with another 10 acres so today we have a total of 25 acres planted.
we moved to the property in January 2002 and spent the first four years learning how to farm the land, pruning the vines, coaxing them onto the trellis, nurturing the soil and preparing for the first harvest. To get a jump start on learning the new trade, we purchased a ton of Pinot Noir and two tons of Syrah in 2002 and started to make our own wine, under the stewardship of son Don. 2004 brought forth the inaugural ampelos vineyard harvest! 15 tons of Pinot Noir and 6 tons of Syrah were picked, and the program of purchasing grapes from warmer regions continued to add to the “spice cabinet”. This was just the beginning of the journey, but we are firm believers in the journey being the destination.

We are driven by a deep love and passion for the art of viticulture. We are truly a small boutique winery producing about 3500 cases a year. Our focus is viognier, rosé of syrah, pinot noir, syrah and grenache.
As for the Greek connection ---- ampelos is the Greek word for “vine”. It was chosen for our winery because we believe that all “great wines start in the vineyard”. We also have close ties to Greece. We were married on a small Greek island, and fell so much in love with the island that we created a small Bed and Breakfast there called Ampelos Resort.

Monday, October 29, 2012

10/29-Michael Horn visits with Lisa Bishop Forbes & Bob Cooley

Lisa Bishop Forbes - Winemaker, Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery
The quest for quality is the basis for all winemaking decisions on the Chalk Hill Estate. The vineyardists coax Mother Nature to create perfect fruit that, once harvested, is delivered to the winery with only the most delicate touches. In the Winery, the Winemaker, Lisa Bishop Forbes, and her dedicated staff gently shepherd the grapes through the fermentation process to the bottle. With an estate-wide, shared aesthetic, the process is light-handed, non-invasive, and sustainable, allowing each bottle to emulate the essence of the vineyard.



Bob Cooley - VP of Sales and Marketing, Benovia Winery

There's a family of old hands in the wine business at Benovia and they are having the time of their lives. Together they bring many decades of experience and expertise to this winemaking venture. So they've been here before, but it's never been quite like this.
What makes Benovia different is not that they make wine -- or even that they make really exceptional wine. What makes Benovia special is the family of people who eat, drink and breathe a passion for making something special. It is a journey that they expect to take a lifetime.

The word they keep using over and over again at Benovia is "fun." It's fun to play ball with real pros. It's fun to be part of a team that is making some of the most extraordinary wines in California. They expect a lot from themselves. That's what makes their daily endeavors at Benovia the most fun of all. In the end, the goal is to make wines that would make their fathers and mothers proud.

And just as importantly, they work to give others the opportunity to savor a moment in time that transcends the ordinary, and whisks them away on a delicious escape to the extraordinary.

We at Benovia invite everyone who loves fine wine to join us on this amazing journey.

Monday, October 22, 2012

10/22-Michael Horn visits with Kevin Egan & Heather Muran

Kevin Egan - 21st Century Spirits / Blue Ice
21st Century Spirits started its first offering with the creation of Blue Ice Vodka, America’s finest potato vodka from–Idaho– home to the luscious Russet Burbank Potato. Idaho is the true birthplace of Blue Ice Vodka; it is where the people behind the brand come from and live, where the natural ingredients are sourced and where the product is made.

Since then, 21st Century Spirits mission has been to create a family of spirits that are carefully selected to represent the best offering available in its category. Bolstering a consistent stream of innovative products such as Blue Ice Organic Wheat vodka, 21st Century Spirits is sure to continue as one of America's premier spirits providers for centuries to come. 




Heather Muran  -  SLO Wine

You know you are in the heart of wine country. Back country roads lined with vineyards, rolling hills, a light breeze, and blue, blue skies. A feeling of peace sets in. From the people who greet you, to the laid back setting of San Luis Obispo, an un-crowded, un-hurried and un-pretentious wine tasting getaway awaits.
Midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the SLO (that’s what we locals call it) wine region is comprised of three pristine viticulture areas: the Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley and Avila Valley. Our small, mostly family-owned wineries are well known for their hand-crafted bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Zinfandel and more.
The marine influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean provides a mild summer and warm fall, resulting in an unusually long growing season. Combined with the region’s rocky volcanic soils, these growing conditions produce fruit with intense varietal character and complex flavors that are typically found in the world’s greatest wine regions. The SLO life. Wine tasting with family and friends. Exploring the sidestreets and byways of our many small towns. Playing on white sandy beaches, savoring the outstanding cuisine of our local restaurants, or just hanging out. It’s how we live. And you’re welcome to join us.

Monday, October 15, 2012

10/15-Michael Horn visits with Tobin James

Tobin James - Owner Tobin James Cellars

It all started with an extra six tons of grapes that a winery could not accept and process. Tobin (Toby) James, a lowly assistant winemaker at the time, asked the owner of the winery if he could have the grapes and make wine out of them for himself. The owner replied, "sure kid, knock yourself out". A year and a half later, gold medals began pouring in for Toby's first Zinfandel, the 1985 "Blue Moon" Zin.
After making his wines at another local winery for a few years, and tasting and selling them out of a local wine shop in town, Toby finally took the plunge and built Tobin James Cellars in 1994.
Built from the ground up on the site of an old stagecoach stop, it might seem more natural to stroll into the old-fashioned western-style saloon, place your booted foot on the brass rail of the bar and order a shot of whiskey from the bartender. However, in the Tobin James tasting room, award winning wines are poured from behind the grand, antique 1860's Brunswick mahogany bar from Blue Eye, Missouri.
Tobin James Cellars, located 8 miles east of Paso Robles on Highway 46, sits among 71 acres of vineyard's and oak dotted hills. A magnificent setting for magnificent wines! As soon as you approach, you see something unique. The wooden structures, heralded by the rotating blades of a towering water pump, have a character all their own, There is even a restored stage coach stop that is now being used as a guest house that will take your breath away. It seems everything structural is relevant of age and history.
Come visit Tobin James Cellars for a truly unique wine tasting experience, or call us for a delivery and find out for yourself why our wines are "Paso Robles in a glass"! You will see why this Paso Robles Winery is a favorite stop for locals and visitors alike.

Monday, October 8, 2012

10/8-Michael Horn talks with Greg La Follette, Jim Fiolek and Bill Smart

Greg La Follette - Winemaker, La Follette Wines
Greg’s route to winemaking began inauspiciously when he realized that his first love – playing the bagpipes – was simply not a practical career path. He earned a double BA in Plant Biology and Chemistry from California State University, Northridge, then a Masters in Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.  It was at Davis that he became fascinated with the scientific components of mouth feel. As it turns out, his particular interest in the Burgundian techniques of sur lie aging and battonage emerged on the crest of a tidal wave of interest in new production techniques in California. His studies, funded by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, gained the attention of winemaking icons such as Dick Graff, and paved the way for Greg’s future success.

In 1991, Greg left Davis for Beaulieu Vineyards, where he was the research viticulturist /enologist for famed master winemaker André Tchelistcheff. He travelled to Australia, working on Chardonnay for Yarra Ridge, then returned to Napa Valley to work for Jarvis and then again at BV. He consulted for Kendall-Jackson, and was on his way to becoming a top Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producer when he joined Flowers Vineyards & Winery in 1996 as head winemaker and general manager. The winery he built at Flowers during his tenure is still considered one of the best gravity-flow, gas-assist green wineries in the world.

In 2001 he founded Tandem wines to produce small-lot Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He has also consulted on vineyard and winery projects around the world, including the new UC Davis teaching winery.  In 2009, Greg met Pete Kight – Proprietor of Quivira Vineyards & Winery in Dry Creek Valley – and saw an opportunity to partner, enabling him to have more time to focus on winemaking. Tandem was renamed La Follette, and Greg continued on as Winemaker of the new winery.

La Follette wines showcase not only Greg’s skill with cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also the world-class Sonoma County and Mendocino County vineyards he sources from.



Jim Fiolek - Executive Director Santa Barbara County Vintners Assoc

The Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Vintners’ Association produces festivals, seminars and tastings and provides information to consumers and the wine and travel media.

For more info, go to http://www.sbcountywines.com/




Bill Smart - Director of Communications - Dry Creek Vineyard
The history of Dry Creek Vineyard is a long and colorful one.   Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard paved the way for a renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in the Dry Creek Valley.  Before his arrival, the Dry Creek Valley was little more than a few family farms and prune orchards.   It was Dave’s vision to start a Loire Valley inspired winery that reintroduced consumers to the wines of northern Sonoma County.


Without a doubt, David Stare is a pioneer. Heading west in the late 1960s, Dave personified the character and work ethic of early Gold Rush pioneers. Educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dave worked for the B&O Railroad for several years but quickly realized that his true calling was in the wine industry. Inspired by his trips to the Loire Valley, Dave headed west to California to start his own family winery.  

Upon his arrival, Dave began taking winemaking classes at UC Davis as a graduate student. On the weekends, he spent time looking at vineyard land from Monterey to Mendocino. It was during one of those weekend trips that fate drew Dave to the Dry Creek Valley. When he saw an old prune orchard across the  street  from the  Dry Creek General Store,  Dave  realized  that  he 
had found his dream location. He purchased the orchard and began planting vines. Captivated by his memories of  Loire-style wines, Sauvignon Blanc seemed destined to figure prominently in the Dry Creek Vineyard portfolio. However, several famed vineyard specialists advised him against planting Sauvignon Blanc.  Always defiant, Dave planted the varietal anyway and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, our second-generation family owned winery continues to evolve and grow to meet the demands of a global wine marketplace.  The primary mission of our winery is to produce distinctive wines that over deliver on quality.  For more than 30 years, this pursuit of winemaking excellence has lead to many international awards and accolades. With a loyal following of wine club members and customers, the future of Dry Creek Vineyard has never been brighter. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

10/1-Michael Horn talks with Clay Mauritson

Chris Russi - Winemaker, Thomas George Estates

Building on his early career experience as a vineyard manager, Chris Russi takes a vineyard-first approach to his role as the winemaker for Thomas George Estates. “The idea of winemaking shouldn’t be about the winemaker,” says Chris. “It should be about the vineyard, the quality of each block, and the character of the vintage.” Reflecting this philosophy, Chris applies a gentle, small-lot approach to winemaking at Thomas George Estates, fermenting as many as 50 individual lots of wine in a given vintage, with techniques tailored to subtly accentuate the best natural attributes of each. Combining both traditional and modern methods, as well as a belief in the importance of experimentation, Chris works closely with Jeremy Baker and Vineyard Manager Ulises Valdez to create wines that achieve the full potential of Thomas George’s estate program. Though each wine is made to be unique and complex, Chris has helped to define a bright, balanced house style that emphasizes lower alcohols, excellent acidity and the modest use of new oak.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris first began making wines with his grandfather, who had come from Italy with a knowledge of winemaking and an old Italian basket press. From him, Chris learned not only the process and importance of making wine by hand; he also earned an appreciation for the results of the labor, often raiding the barrels of finished wine with his friends when his parents’ backs were turned.
After graduating from Santa Clara University with a degree in combined sciences, Chris spent a year working as an environmental biologist in Carmel Valley. Between weeks in the field, Chris explored his passion for wine with trips to the tasting rooms of Monterey County, where he gained an appreciation for cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Eager to focus on wine, he took a position at Orsi/Kimelis Vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley, where he ultimately became ranch and vineyard manager. After accepting a position in the lab and cellar of Geyser Peak Winery, Chris met winemaking legend Daryl Groom (of Penfolds Grange fame). Daryl mentored Chris in the practical side of winemaking and encouraged him to pursue winemaking as a career. He also helped Chris to expand his knowledge, recommending him for a job at Peter Lehmann in Australia’s Barossa Valley. When Chris returned from Australia, he was determined to make wine on his own, and enrolled in the UC Davis viticulture and enology program.
After earning his degree in 2000, Chris became the winemaker for Christopher Creek Winery in the Russian River Valley, where he remained until coming to Thomas George Estates in 2008. Since joining Thomas George Estates, Chris has established himself as one of the Russian River Valley’s rising stars. A true working winemaker, Chris loves the labor of winemaking, and does everything in the winery with the help of Cellarmaster Francisco Cardenas. He is also actively involved in all farming decisions, and works alongside Ulises in a constant effort to enhance Thomas George’s acclaimed estate program. In keeping with his love of growing grapes, Chris is the proud owner of a small, 100-year-old Zinfandel vineyard, which he farms himself. This exceptional fruit is used to craft a vineyard-designate Zinfandel for Thomas George Estates.




Clay Mauritson - Winemaker Mauritson Wines
Up and coming young winemaker, Clay Mauritson, is the sixth generation in a family of grape growers. Born and raised in the Dry Creek Valley, Clay was destined for the wine business.

In college Clay exhibited his prowess on the gridiron, playing outside linebacker for the University of Oregon Ducks in the 1995 Rose Bowl and the 1996 Cotton Bowl. Clay graduated in 1997 with a degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Economics. Armed with his new degree he came back to Sonoma County to officially enter the wine industry.

Clay worked for 5 years at Kenwood Vineyards in the Sales & Marketing Department (starting even before he graduated from college), spending much of his time traveling and making sales contacts as Assistant National Sales Manager. After leaving Kenwood, Clay had the opportunity to work with the winemakers at Taft Street Vineyards and Dry Creek Vineyards, allowing him to hone his winemaking skills and gain additional knowledge of winery operations. From the 1998 vintage Clay produced his first bottling of Dry Creek Zinfandel under the Mauritson label, and in 2002 he began devoting his efforts full-time to the Mauritson Family Winery project.

Clay's winemaking philosophy is simple…you need exceptional fruit to make exceptional wine. This is where the advantage of having a family heritage of grape growers becomes obvious…270 acres of family vineyard and strong relationships built over the years with other growers have given Clay access to some of the best fruit that Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley and Rockpile have to offer. Devoted to making exceptional wines, Clay is on his way to becoming one of California's foremost young winemakers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

9/24-Michael Horn visits with Stuart Spoto & Scot Covington


Stuart Spoto - Owner/Winemaker - Spoto Napa Valley Wines

The Spoto family has been hand-crafting wines for over 30 years.  Stuart Spoto learned the art of winemaking from his father Henry Spoto Jr. who was featured in Wine Spectatorfor his award-winning wines in June of 2003.   This family collaboration has greatly influenced Stuart to create his small boutique winery and perfect his Oakville Bordeaux blends.  Stuart’s formal education is in Chemical and Civil Engineering from the University of California at Davis.  He has also acquired an extensive knowledge in the art of winemaking by working closely with the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.  Stuart’s daughter, Arianna, recently graduated with a degree in Wine and Viticulture from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo and is currently distributing Spoto Wines around the Central Coast.  Spoto Wines is truly a small family business dedicated to producing the finest Oakville Cabernet and Bordeaux blends.
“Family, friends, food and red wine are key ingredients to a happy life” - Stuart Spoto








Scot Covington - Winemaker -Trione Vineyards and Winery

Scot Covington is a California native and a resident of Sonoma County. He is a graduate of California State University, Fresno, and holds a B.S. degree in Agricultural Science, Enology.
Scot brings a vast winemaking experience to Trione Vineyards. In the spring of 1990, he began his career at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, under the tutelage of then-winemaker Bill Bonnetti.

“We experimented with every aspect of Chardonnay winemaking, from the phenolic extraction of whole cluster grapes vs. crushed fruit to planting density,” says Scot. “It was really an exciting time to be a new winemaker, and Bill provided a great learning environment. We were working on techniques in the early ’90s that are common practice today – canopy management, thinning, cryo-extraction, rootstocks and clonal material. Sonoma-Cutrer was on the cutting edge of winemaking technology, and we were really trying to create the ‘Burgundian model’ of California Chardonnay.”

In 1995, Scot was hired as the Production Enologist at Marimar Torres Estate, where his knowledge of Pinot Noir and other varietals continued to grow. While Scot was at Torres, Wine Spectator ranked its Marimar Torres Don Miguel Pinot Noir one of the top 100 wines of 1995.
Scot spent a year with Vergelegen Estate in South Africa, working with Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc wines. In 1997, he was hired as the Experimental Winemaker for Gallo Sonoma, which proved to be another great winemaking training ground. While at Gallo, Scot was asked to travel to Australia to work with Phillip Shaw at Rosemount in the Hunter Valley and Alan Hoey at Yalumba in the Borossa Valley.
The son of an engineer, Scot has always had an interest in construction and design. In 2001, he met renowned winemaker Merry Edwards, and was asked to be part of the construction and design of the Pellegrini Family Winery. As he worked closely with Merry Edwards at Pellegrini, he developed his own defining work with Pinot Noir.
“Unlike many other varieties of grapes, Pinot Noir is so tied to the place it is grown and viticultural practices,” Scot explains. “The clonal selection, yields, exposure and soil are keenly important to the wine’s expression.”
Scot joined Trione Vineyards in 2005. He believes Trione Vineyards & Winery will be his magnum opus.
“Working with the Trione family to build their estate winery is a winemaker’s dream come true,” says Scot. “The foundation for our wines will be some of the best fruit in the county. It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to design a winemaking facility from the ground up.”
“It is my belief that wine develops from the vineyard just as Michelangelo’s David revealed itself from the block of marble,” Scot explains. “In the same way that art shows itself to the artist, wine shows itself to the winemaker. To do anything other would be to change the art of Nature. Trione wines reveal the art of Nature.”

Monday, September 17, 2012

9/17-Michael Horn talks with Katie Shook & Larry Van Aalst

Katie Shook - Office Manage Pyrenees Vineyard and Winery

Oregon vineyards have been producing delicious, award-winning wines since they first started cultivating them in the Umpqua Valley over 40 years ago. Since then,Umpqua Valley Wineries, including Abacela and the Pyrenees Vineyard, have taken full advantage of the rich and varied topography of this region to produce a variety of complex artisan wines.
The Pyrenees Vineyard, an up-and-coming star of Umpqua Valley Wineries, has won accolades for its varietals, taking home a bronze medal for their Chenin Blanc in the West Coast Wine Competition. Besides Chenin Blanc, this 22 acre estate produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Marichal Foch, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and a Riesling. Run by the Apodaca family, the Pyrenees’ winemaking style originated in Basque country and pairs this influence with the lush estate surroundings to produce the best grapes.



Larry Van Aalst Hosts the What's Cookin' On Wine: Sonoma Wine Report from the Equus Restaurant inside the Fountain Grove Inn




Located just 65 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the hotel is close to the Redwoods, the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River. The quaint towns of Healdsburg, Calistoga and Sonoma are within an easy drive as well as the wine appellations of Dry Creek, Russian River and Sonoma Valleys. 




Golf at the private Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club located only a half a mile from the hotel or plan a shopping excursion in nearby charming downtown Santa Rosa. Sonoma Wine Country has so much to offer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/10-Encore Broadcast Michael Horn visits with Terry Hall & Jim Fiolek

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Terry Hall - Napa Valley Vintners

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association announces its annual Premiere Napa Valley Wine Auction June 2 - June 5, 2011.
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents nearly 400 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit www.napavintners.com .

The Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Vintners’ Association produces festivals, seminars and tastings and provides information to consumers and the wine and travel media.

For more info, go to http://www.sbcountywines.com/

Monday, September 3, 2012

9/3-Encore Edition of the Sonoma Showcase Broadcast


Encore Edition of the Sonoma Showcase Broadcast

Sara Cummings - Director of Communications, Sonoma County Vintners Association
The Sonoma County Wine Country Weekend is just around the corner , and Sara, as the Director of Communications for the Sonoma County Vintners Association will be with us to give her insider recommendations. One of the great events in the wine world, this labor day weekend knockout is not to be missed.





Kate MacMurray - The daughter of Fred MacMurray and June Haver, Kate is tied to the land in Sonoma County. The ranch her father built as a summer getaway , is now one of the best pinot noir vineyards in the area. Host to the Sonoma Showcase of Wine and Food, MacMurray ranch is unforgettable. Kate will be with us to talk about the exceptional wines , and give us a little insight into the Hollywood connection to the Sonoma Wine Country .

Monday, August 27, 2012

8/27-Michael Horn visits with Terry Hall & Jim Fiolek


Terry Hall - Napa Valley Vintners

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association announces its annual Premiere Napa Valley Wine Auction June 2 - June 5, 2011.
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents nearly 400 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit www.napavintners.com .

The Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Vintners’ Association produces festivals, seminars and tastings and provides information to consumers and the wine and travel media.

For more info, go to http://www.sbcountywines.com/

Monday, August 20, 2012

8/20-Michael Horn talks with Daniel Vu & Louie Lucas


Heitz Wine Cellars inhabits a pristine valley in the eastern hills of St. Helena known to the locals as Spring Valley. In 1964, Joe and Alice Heitz acquired this 160-acre ranch and winery to accommodate their burgeoning family business.
The gray stone cellar, constructed of hand-chiseled perlite in 1898, safeguards Heitz' collection of French oak barrels which are filled with aging wine. The rich patina of its weathered walls is in perfect harmony with the high-tech equipment dotting the landscape of the winery's grounds in the 21st century.
Second generation Kathleen Heitz Myers and David Heitz are now at the helm as president and winemaker. They have each been integral to the success of the family business since the 1970s, helping to build the worldwide reputation for Heitz Cellars --- a name that has become synonymous with luxury in the world of winemaking.
Heitz Wine Cellars has earned countless accolades for its dazzling wines every year since 1961. Their three renowned vineyard-designated wines --- Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Bella Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon --- are the highlight of the winery's distinguished resumé.
Heitz' remarkable Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has been a collector's favorite for over 46 years. Wine Spectator underscored this wine's legendary status by selecting Martha's Vineyard Cabernet as one of the Top 12 wines of the 20th Century.
Heitz Wine Cellars' Chardonnay, Grignolino, Zinfandel and Port have also earned their share of ardent fans over the years. To many admirers, the Heitz label is the premiere symbol of fine wine and graceful hospitality.
"We handcraft our wines with the utmost respect for the incomparable vineyards of the Napa Valley. It's a real pleasure to share a bit of their magical bounty in every bottle of wine we make." - Kathleen Heitz Myers, President
Since the winery ranch also includes the Heitz' family home, we direct visitors to our original site on St. Helena Highway where we have welcomed wine lovers for over half a century.


Louie Lucas - Lucas & Lewellan
Originally from the Central Valley of California, Louis Lucas is one of California's premier grape growers. He literally grew up in the business. His father, son of Croatian immigrants, was a leading table grape grower in California for decades. Louis is best described as an innovator and a master at utilizing a variety growing practices and techniques. His vast knowledge and viticulture expertise span over 35 years, making him a sought after speaker, consultant, Louis has sold wine grapes to many wineries over the years including: Sebastiani, Korbel, Chateau Montelena, ZD, Wente Brothers, Ridge, Callaway, Bargetto, Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, Steele, Rusack, Fess Parker, Sunstone, Dan Gehrs, Austin Cellars, Foxen, Sanford, Viansa, Fiddlehead, McKeon-Phillips, Rideau and Bonny Doon.