Friday, August 19, 2016

8/19 FREEMARK ABBEY WINERY, TED EDWARDS, BARRY DODDS

LIVE FROM FREEMARK ABBEY WINERY 
DIRECTOR OF WINE-MAKING, TED EDWARDS 
&
ESTATE MANAGER, BARRY DODDS
JOIN THE SHOW!

 A trailblazer of Napa Valley winemaking, Freemark Abbey continues to evolve. Our outward transformation is a sign of our inward commitment to crafting classic Napa Valley wines of superior pedigree and quality. Raise a glass to our 130th anniversary.

Freemark Abbey's history dates back to 1886, when a pioneering young woman named Josephine Tychson founded one of Napa Valley's original 13 wineries in St Helena. The property was renamed Freemark Abbey in 1939, after it was purchased by Charles Freeman, Markquand Foster, and Albert "Abbey" Ahern. In 1967 a group of Napa Valley grape growers formed a partnership to purchase the winery. Freemark Abbey quickly gained a reputation as a valley leader in quality, focusing on exceptional fruit sources to create legendary Cabernet Sauvignon. Today Freemark Abbey produces distinct single-vineyard wines from two of Napa Valley's most impressive and unique vineyards in the Rutherford appellation - Bosche and Sycamore Cabernet Sauvignon.

WWW.FREEMARKABBEY.COM

3022 ST. HELENA HIGHWAY N. | ST. HELENA, CA 94574
(800) 963-9698 | TASTING ROOM OPEN DAILY 10AM–5PM

Friday, August 12, 2016

8/12 JAMES ONTIVEROS, NATIVE 9, ALTA MARIA, JEAN-CHARLES BOISSET, BOISSET

WINEMAKER/VITICULTURIST JAMES ONTIVEROS - NATIVE 9 / ALTA MARIA 

James can trace his California roots back to 1781, when Josef Ontiveros rode on horseback into Alta California and the family became the recipient of a Mexican land grant. At one time, the Ontiveros Family owned over 36,000 acres in modern-day Orange county. They then sold El Cajon de Santa Ana and Los Coyotes and moved to Santa Barbara county. The 1837 Rancho Tepusquet grant – nearly 9,000 acres bordered by the Sisquoc and Cuyama Rivers – was passed to Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, who constructed the Ontiveros Adobe on the property in 1856. He and his wife raised horses, cattle, sheep, several grain crops and grapes.

Over the eight generations that came before him, this cattle and farm land was divided and passed down until the mid-nineteenth century, at which point it had been completely sold off and none of the original land grant remained in their name.

Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard, one of the vineyard sources for Alta Maria, was not inherited; it has been built over the last 20 years. Mark and Louise, James' mother and father, worked to buy the ranch in 1986 with a wistful view of the original property of Rancho Tepusquet that once had been their own. James was the first in his family to go to college and became interesed in viticulture and winemaking while at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

James grew up ranching, but the wine business was fast becoming James' new love. The irony was that his family were cattle people with a little bit of a farming background; they were cowboys, not winemakers; over time that has changed.

James attendeed California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo working on dual degrees in Fruit Science and Crop Science. While in college in 1997 James planted 8 acres of Pinot Noir at Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard.

James has worked with Kendall-Jackson as a Field Supervisor throughout the Central Coast, with Gallo-Sonoma in grower relations in the North Coast and vineyard manager in Sonoma Coast and the Russian River. Most importantly for Alta Maria’s evolution, James took a position with the Miller family as Director of Sales and Marketing for 10 years which included over-seeing the Bien Nacido Vineyard, Solomon Hills, French Camp, CCWS and Paso Robles wine services. This was the property where his great, great, great, great grandfather Juan Pacifico Ontiveros had built the adobe on their original land grant.

With the 2004 vintage, James joined forces with Paul Wilkins, winemaker and long-time college friend, to start Alta Maria focusing on important sites for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from only the Santa Maria Valley AVA. They wanted to make genuine, honest and authentic wines that were inspired by the old world wines they loved. Much like James’ family history in California, Alta Maria reflects the heritage when times were simpler, people worked with the earth and were fulfilled personally and professionally by hard work.

Since 2005, Paul and James Ontiveros have been making Alta Maria Vineyards wines and in 2011 opened a much-anticipated joint tasting room for Alta Maria Vineyards and Native9 in Los Olivos, California. Alta Maria wines are sold in over a dozen states and export markets.

ABOUT ALTA MARIA:
Alta Maria is a small, artisan winery focusing on producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the cold and oceanic Santa Maria Valley appellation in Santa Barbara County. Founded by 9th Generation California James Ontiveros, and Winemaker and long-time college friend Paul Wilkins, Alta Maria’s wines are inspired by the old world regions of France and are classic examples of purity, balance and complexity. We strive to make the best wines possible in a very conscientious manner and employ organic and sustainable practices leaving no indelible mark on the people and places around us.
The name “Alta Maria” refers to the upper Santa Maria River, which James’ ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros crossed on Saint Mary’s Day, 1855, as he drove cattle from Southern California to his new home at Rancho Tepusquet – now home to some of the globe’s most renowned vines. The picturesque river flowing through the valley was the force responsible for sustaining ranch life in those early days.

The artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders in Santa Maria before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass-produced, machine-cut nails. Despite its lowly function, each nail is unique from the next according to the conditions in which it was made and the expertise of the craftsman.

ABOUT NATIVE 9 WINES:
“Native9 is the fulfillment of my own American story two centuries in the making. Tracing my roots back to the first men and women who settled in the Santa Maria Valley, I worked for hourly wages along with my parents to buy a small plot of land our ancestors’ 8,900-acre Mexican land grant: a modest cattle ranch where I planted my 8-acre vineyard and a panoramic view of the land that had once been our own. Planted in 1997 by my own two hands with the help of friends and family while I attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard is now considered one of the finest sites for Pinot Noir in California. As a natural extension of my deeply personal vision for this vineyard,Native9 is made in small lots with a nod to bothOld World sensibilities and New World stylistic freedom with the help of my longtime friend and vetted winemaker, Paul Wilkins. Though I wasn’t born into the wine industry by traditional means, I have vine-growing and farming in my blood. The name Native9 reflects my gratitude to the generations of California farmers and ranchers who came before me.”

WWW.ALTAMARIA.COM


JEAN-CHARLES BOISSET - PRESIDENT OF BOISSET 

Famous for his flamboyant personality and his fantastical style, the Burgundy born Boisset brought his signature French flair to the Napa Valley with the purchases of De Loach, Raymond Vineyards and Buena Vista Winery, the oldest premium winery in California. As proprietor of Boisset Family Estates, he has incorporated innovative winemaking techniques and sustainable practices across the estate’s 22 wineries in France and California. He is married to Gina Gallo of E&J Gallo, the largest wine producer in the world.

About Boisset Collection
Boisset is a family-owned collection of historic and unique wineries bound together by a common cause: authentic, terroir-driven wines in harmony with their history, their future and the land and people essential to their existence.  With more than twenty historical and prestigious wineries in the world’s preeminent terroirs, including the Côte d’Or, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, California’s Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, and the Napa Valley. To learn more about the Boisset Collection, please visit www.boissetcollection.com.

About JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset 
Created by Jean-Charles Boisset, JCB embraces and represents a new height of luxury, uniting the worlds of wine and fashion in luxurious tasting locations and experiences that transcend terroir, reaching beyond the traditional confines of wine to embody style and sophistication. JCB is also a collection of rare numbered wines that unite centuries of Burgundian family tradition with the graceful exploration of sophisticated terroir.  Dedicated to capturing style within a bottle, JCB wines embody an uncompromising personality that transcends the traditional confines of wine and is audacious, unique and mysterious.  St. Helena   ·   Russian River Valley   ·   San Francisco   ·   Yountville     For more information, please visit www.jcbcollection.com.  

About Raymond Vineyards 
Raymond Vineyards, founded in 1970, comprises more than 330 acres in Rutherford, St. Helena and Jameson Canyon. Five generations of the Raymond family created a Napa icon, with an enduring reputation for elegant wines with a beautiful balance of finesse, power and complexity. Today, guided by the vision of Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset, Winemaker Stephanie Putnam, and Winegrower Eric Pooler, Raymond Vineyards is one of the wine world’s most dynamic winery destinations. Blending phenomenal wines with guest experiences that unite education, passion and entertainment, the winery offers diverse opportunities to explore wine, leading it to be named Sunset’s “Best Tasting Room – Experience Beyond Tasting” in 2011, 2012 American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, and one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2013 for the 95-point rated 2010 Generations Cabernet Sauvignon. Raymond’s estate vineyards are certified organic and Biodynamic, the Napa Green certified winery generates 100% of its energy needs from on-site solar panels, and is additionally certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. To learn more, please visit: www.raymondvineyards.com.

About Buena Vista Winery 
Buena Vista Winery is California’s first premium winery; it was founded in 1857 by Hungarian immigrant Agoston Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista.” Possessing a deep regard for the significance of Buena Vista’s place in California wine history, Jean-Charles Boisset purchased Buena Vista in April, 2011 and added the winery to the Boisset Collection.  Today, Boisset has returned Buena Vista Winery to its original glory with the complete restoration and re-opening of the historic property.  The wines are achieving new heights under Winemaker Brian Maloney and Consulting Winemaker David Ramey. Buena Vista Winery is located at 18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma, CA. For more information, please visit www.buenavistawinery.com.

About Wattle Creek Winery 
Since 1994, Wattle Creek Winery has been sharing a passion for wine and life… creating great Sonoma wines, as well as exceptional moments and events, while having a fantastic sense of family, loyalty, and community born from a shared love of wine.  Wattle Creek’s unique style of wines from Alexander Valley is refreshing and inspiring – a new approach that beautifully complements our collection of wineries in Sonoma, Napa and France. To learn more about Wattle Creek Winery, please visit www.boissetcollection.com/brands/wattle-creekwinery.


Friday, August 5, 2016

8/5 TOBIN SHARP, HI-TIME WINE CELLARS, FRED SCHERRER, SCHERRER WINERY, CHRISTIAN ROGUENANT, TRUE MYTH

TOBIN SHARP FROM HI-TIME WINE CELLARS

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is a family-owned retail store located in Costa Mesa, California. Founded by Fritz Hanson and his brother-in-law Jim McVay. Hi-Time opened its cellar doors in 1957  at its original location on 17th and Irvine in Costa Mesa, California. In 1984, the Hanson brothers moved to our present location in Costa Mesa where they built one of the largest underground temperature-controlled wine cellars in the U.S . This 3,000 square foot underground temperature-controlled cellar now includes a selection of 10,000+ wines from many different wineries from all around the world. This selection represents the world's finest growing regions from such diverse areas as California, Oregon, Washington, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, South America and Portugal.

The recently re-designed store now has a retail space of 24,000 square feet. We added many new and exotic labels to our selection. Along with our selection of rare wines you will also discover hard-to-find spirits, espcially in the Bourbon and Scotch aisles, and exotic liquors from all over the world. In addition, we offer a comprehensive selection of North American micro-brews along with some of the best beers the rest of the world creates. Our walk-in beer refrigerator offers over 1,200 different beers from 25+ different countries. Our walk-in tobacco humidor holds over 500 different cigar brands and sizes as well as a great selection of pipes and fine pipe tobaccos.  We also offer gourmet foods, specialty chocolates, cheeses and charcuterie.

We are proud to have been able to serve our customers for over half of a century. Our goal is to provide our customers with one of the largest selections of fine wines and rare spirits from all over the world, at competitive prices and without sacrificing the quality of our customer service. We are looking forward to serving you at our store location, over the phone or online.

OUR STORY
Fritz Hanson and Jim McVay founded the store in 1957. Jim, unfortunately, passed away many years ago. Shortly after opening the store, Fritz's younger brother Chuck Hanson joined the Hi-Time team. Chuck was interested in wine right away and became the store's primary wine buyer. Most of the business at that time consisted of distilled spirits and jug wines. Chuck remembers the first wines to make a big impression on him were those of Charles Krug and Louis Martini.

Harold Hanson, who was in the military overseas at the time, joined Hi-Time after completing his tour of duty. While in the service in Europe, Harold took pictures of wine caves in Burgundy. Bringing the photos back to his brothers, it was decided that they would build a wine cave within the store. Harold became the General Manger for the store, a position he held for over 40 years.

Our original location (pictured on the left)! Those were the days... the wine cellar and La Cave next door. La Cave is still there but we're up the street a bit. Well, tempus fugit, as they say. Hi-Time moved to our current location in 1984... prior to that, the building we're housed in was a telephone company. The underground wine cellar had to be dug out to provide a home for our wines! The groundbreaking ceremony for our building expansion (the new beer area and shipping) was in 2004. What's next? Who Knows! Stay Tuned!  ***Yes, more construction in the works... pardon our mess as we strive to make our store better! Facelift at 50? Why not! A few years ago Patterson's Beverage Journal honored the Hanson family for Hi-time Wine Cellars with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

HI-TIME TODAY
Fritz is semi-retired but we always need his help when there's construction to be done... or stocking the liquor shelves during the holidays! Chuck Hanson is still here! Well, at least for a couple days a week he helps keep an eye on the wine department along with keeping up on the latest wines. He knows just about everyone in the California wine industry. Harold has also retired but still stops by a few times a week to check up on things. Today the store is managed by Fritz's oldest daughter Diana Hirst. Both his sons Keith (spirits buyer) and Donnie (clerk) work alongside Diana making Hi-Time the thriving business it is today. Fritz's other daughter Linda is working as an assistant winemaker for Hanzel Winery. Four of Fritz's grandchildren Charlie, Kyle, Jordan and Skylar are working in the store as the 3rd generation of the Hanson family legacy.

WWW.HITIMEWINE.NET


FRED SCHERRER – SCHERRER WINERY

THE WINERY AND WINEMAKING
In the mid-1970’s, due to a normal teenage interest in alcoholic beverages, my family allowed me to make some wine from the family vineyard and beer at home (under adult supervision, of course). This led to a UC Davis degree as well as concurrent work at a local winery doing the dirtiest and most menial jobs imaginable. In the mid-1980’s good friends at Duxoup Wine Works (think Marx Brothers for the pronunciation) inspired me to try my hand at my own label so I negotiated cellar space in lieu of a raise by my then-current employer, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley (I got a raise anyway). Greenwood Ridge was supportive of my project and decided to have some Scherrer Zinfandel produced for their label as well. Unfortunately, I had a poor business plan and during the first year I realized I was not yet ready for this project. Greenwood Ridge continues to make a small amount of Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel to this day.

Enter Dehlinger Winery in the late 1980’s. Tom Dehlinger was very supportive of my long-term plans and challenged me to develop a solid business plan, facilitating an important entry into my own project. In return, his winery received my heart and soul for a decade. The final key element in our getting started was from my parents. They allowed me to delay paying them for their fine grapes until we began getting cash flow from our wine sales. By 1997, we were ready to make the move to a facility of our own. In anticipation of this, we were able to add Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to supplement the Zinfandel we were producing, all from my father’s vineyard in Alexander Valley. Tom Dehlinger supported this transition of my focus, allowing me to produce these additional wines in his facility and we parted very amicably after that vintage.

And so after the harvest of 1997, I moved our operation to a corner of an apple packing shed-turned-winery, finally leasing the entire building. During this period, our production grew from just the three varietals from Scherrer Vineyard, to now typically a dozen wines, about half of which are Pinot Noir. Total production is now 4000 to 5000 cases. My good friend, Don Bliss helped me whenever I needed a hand (or a finger to dial 911 in the unlikely event of a forklift mistake) throughout this period until he sold his fine vineyard and moved back to his native Texas in 2006. Since then, I have been able to impose on a handful of friends and local customers when I have needed help, but still continue to work at the winery pretty much alone most of the year. Judi, my wife, has handled administrative and compliance for the winery since 2002, keeping me out of trouble with bureaucrats and making sure we are able to conform with the complex and changing world of direct shipping and wholesaling laws, reports and fees.

WWW.SCHERRERWINERY.COM


CHRISTIAN ROGUENANT – WINEMAKER, TRUE MYTH

Internationally traveled winemaker Christian Roguenant is leading the charge as winemaker for True Myth, the latest project from Niven Family Wine Estates, a three-generation, family-owned wine group who pioneered the Edna Valley more than 40 years ago. Christian Roguenant is a true industry veteran having traveled the world to make wine on five continents, including fifteen years with Champagne Deutz, one of the premier Champagne houses in France, and serviced as a consultant to wineries around the world, from Argentina to Australia, and New Zealand to South Korea. Today, Christian enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge of True Myth, a specialty appellation winery that produces wines from regions along California’s Central Coast, focusing on Chardonnay from Edna Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles.  Christian can speak to California’s Central Coast winemaking, the Central Coast lifestyle, and food and wine recommendations.

ABOUT CHRISTIAN ROGUENANT:
Christian Roguenant was born to make wine. A native of the Burgundy region of France, he grew up surrounded by vineyards. Christian decided early on to become a winemaker, studying enology and winemaking at the University of Dijon. There, he honed his skills early and has since made wine in numerous countries across five continents. The opportunity to make exceptional wines in San Luis Obispo County led him to the Central Coast. He is a Chardonnay master with over 30 vintages under his belt and has been with the Niven Family for over 18 years. When Christian is not crafting our beautiful True Myth wines, he is an avid chef, photographer, and guitar player.

ABOUT THE NIVEN FAMILY ESTATES:
In our location on California’s Central Coast, we are eternally awestruck by the magic of her omnipresent influence; from the dry heat of the vineyards in Paso Robles, to the coastal influence on our vineyards in Edna Valley, our grapes are grown just a few miles from one of her greatest creations, the deep, blue Pacific Ocean. We respect Mother Nature for the enigma that she is, and honor her by creating wines of quality and flavor that mirror her splendor. Join us as we continue on this journey. Taste and Believe.

FAMILY HISTORY
Jack Niven came to San Luis Obispo in the early 1970s with the vision to plant a vineyard in what was then a valley of dairy farms and garbanzo beans. After working with the top viticulture professors from UC Davis and Fresno State, he determined the perfect location and planted the Paragon Vineyard in 1973. Home to the oldest continually producing Chardonnay vines in the region, the Niven family has owned and farmed this vineyard for more than 40 years. Jack later went on to petition to establish Edna Valley as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982.

The second and third generations of the Niven family have since continued his legacy. Today their portfolio focuses on exploring the endless potential and diversity in their historic Paragon Vineyard and throughout San Luis Obispo County.

True Myth is a new take on the legacy that was built by Jack Niven. The family is now striving to create a fresh new vision for the longstanding quality of the region.

ABOUT TRUE MYTH
TRUE MYTH INVITES INTRIGUE AND EMBRACES A LIFE LESS ORDINARY
From Edna Valley’s pioneering Niven family comes a new take on their legacy. They’ve been here since day one - living, breathing, and farming their historic Paragon Vineyard since 1973. Taking advantage of Mother Nature’s gift of rich and fertile soils on the Central Coast of California, our wines seek to delight and inspire, while maintaining the exceptional quality of which the Niven Family has been known for the last 40 years. True Myth presents an authentic experience, which only Mother Nature can express: one of depth, wonder, and a little bit of magic. Taste and Believe.

ABOUT BAILEYANA
Over 30 years ago, an incredibly smart and spirited woman planted a 3 acre vineyard on her home property in the Edna Valley. Diving without hesitation into a male-dominated industry, Catharine Niven later set out to create authentic, complex yet elegant wines. Named for the place she met her husband Jack, Baileyana offers beautiful, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Both are refined, rich, and perfectly balanced. She wasn’t entirely surprised by Baileyana’s early success, but Catharine didn’t dream that her small project would become the family legacy that it is today. Now in the expert hands of the next two generations, Baileyana wines remain true to her pioneering spirit, as well as to the genuine, elegant style she exuded when walking into any room. Boldly Beautiful.

WWW.NIVENFAMILYWINES.COM
WWW.TRUEMYTHWINES.COM
WWW.BAILEYANA.COM


Friday, July 15, 2016

7/15 TOBIN SHARP, HI-TIME WINE CELLARS, BOB BETZ, BETZ FAMILY WINERY, IAN BLACKBURN, WINE LA, BEEKEEPER CELLARS, STARS OF PINOT

TOBIN SHARP FROM HI-TIME WINE CELLARS

ABOUT HI-TIME WINE CELLARS
Hi-Time Wine Cellars is a family-owned retail store located in Costa Mesa, California. Founded by Fritz Hanson and his brother-in-law Jim McVay. Hi-Time opened its cellar doors in 1957  at its original location on 17th and Irvine in Costa Mesa, California. In 1984, the Hanson brothers moved to our present location in Costa Mesa where they built one of the largest underground temperature-controlled wine cellars in the U.S . This 3,000 square foot underground temperature-controlled cellar now includes a selection of 10,000+ wines from many different wineries from all around the world. This selection represents the world's finest growing regions from such diverse areas as California, Oregon, Washington, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, South America and Portugal.

The recently re-designed store now has a retail space of 24,000 square feet. We added many new and exotic labels to our selection. Along with our selection of rare wines you will also discover hard-to-find spirits, espcially in the Bourbon and Scotch aisles, and exotic liquors from all over the world. In addition, we offer a comprehensive selection of North American micro-brews along with some of the best beers the rest of the world creates. Our walk-in beer refrigerator offers over 1,200 different beers from 25+ different countries. Our walk-in tobacco humidor holds over 500 different cigar brands and sizes as well as a great selection of pipes and fine pipe tobaccos.  We also offer gourmet foods, specialty chocolates, cheeses and charcuterie.

We are proud to have been able to serve our customers for over half of a century. Our goal is to provide our customers with one of the largest selections of fine wines and rare spirits from all over the world, at competitive prices and without sacrificing the quality of our customer service. We are looking forward to serving you at our store location, over the phone or online.

WWW.HITIMEWINE.NET


BOB BETZ – OWNER, BETZ FAMILY WINERY

ABOUT BOB BETZ, MW
Bob is our winemaker, but he is much more than that. He is our founder, patriarch and guiding light. His pursuit of winemaking began in the early 1970's when he and Cathy criss-crossed European vineyards to better understand the why and how of crafting fine wine. His philosophy is pretty simple: focus on what the vineyards have provided. Start with the highest quality fruit you can, treat it vigorously when necessary, gently most of the time, and stay out of its way but watch it closely. Allow the wines to develop slowly, and make sure they provide exceptional pleasure.

Bob holds the degree of Master of Wine (MW), a designation awarded by the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. With a pass rate of about 12% it's a grueling process that's well worth the effort. The Institute of Masters of Wine promotes excellence and achievement in the wine industry. Candidates for the MW are required to pass the most rigorous testing in the wine industry which includes written theory and tasting exams. A graduate thesis on a specific winemaking topic must also be completed: Bob's focus was on the interaction of wine and barrels during the maturation process. In completing the exams Bob was given two additional awards: the Villa Maria Award, for the highest scores on the viticultural exam, and the Robert Mondavi Award, for the highest overall scores in all theory exams.

WINEMAKING
Our goal is to produce compelling wines with individual character and intensity yet elegant.

Our winemaking starts in the vineyard: over the last 18 years we have partnered with a small collection of select growers in specific vineyards to source fruit to meet our quality and stylistic goals. In each vineyard we collaborate with our growers on specific varieties in specific geographical sites, each identified for its specific combination of soils, aspect, sunlight and temperatures.

Vintage after vintage we work with our growers on the best practices to yield the highest quality grapes we can for that given season. We share common goals, and a work ethic and meticulous attention to detail that satisfies us both. Whether its pruning, thinning, changing the canopy or varying the vine nutrition, we work side by side to get the best results. Harvest decisions are made by ripeness of fruit, sensory analysis and the weather. From year to year decisions are driven by both flavor and physical maturity. We are looking for the moment where the flavors and balance of the grape hits a maturity level that can support a healthy fermentation.

Once the best clusters are hand picked, pre-sorted and brought to the winery, there are numerous pre-crush analyses. Starting in the lab and finishing with a sensory and visual examination every bin is analyzed and recorded. Every lot of fruit receives this treatment, which becomes the driving force of our crush/fermentation decisions. Using up to date sorting equipment and a winemaker friendly cellar we are able to process our wine 100% by a gravity flow process. This not only reduces the risk of added seed tannin but in general is gentler on the wine.
From start to finish our fermentations are effective and efficient, paying close attention to phenolic (tannin) development and never forgetting that everything we do affects the final product. Our palate is our strongest tool!

Once our wines are ready for pressing we pull all of the free run wine and lightly press the skins. Not directed by computer programs or volume goals, our press decisions are guided by our palate. By constantly tasting the wine during the press cycle we start these young wines on a healthy pathway to the future.  Every drop of wine made here is matured only in French oak barrels. The tight grain, supple yet bold tannin notes that come from the forests of central France are the oak characteristics that compliment the fruits we receive from our vineyards.

From fermentation to barrel and finally to bottle our goal is to stay true to our ideologies. Our sanitation process, the usability of our winery, attention to detail and sensory analysis are a few of the tools we incorporate into our daily routine. Strict winemaking, cellar and lab practices drive our goals of making the best wine we can. The art and science of winemaking is a continuous learning adventure, again we look at the law of cause and effect. We make our decisions based on the science of the lab and the outcomes of what has proven effective. The true balance of winemaking is achieved when science and art collide creating a bottle of wine well worth drinking.

WWW.BETZFAMILYWINERY.COM


IAN BLACKBURN – OWNER/FOUNDER, WINE LA & FOUNDER/CO-WINEMAKER, BEEKEEPER CELLARS – TALKS ABOUT A BIG EVENT COMING UP, STARS OF PINOT 

STARS OF PINOT
The best Pinot event of the year is back, and it's bigger and better than ever! Hosted by WineLA, STARS of Pinot 2016 will be held at the luxurious Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. This "STAR"-studded event will feature over 200 Pinot wines created by 60 of the world's top producers. All guests will enjoy unlimited wine tasting, tray passed hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction benefitting the T.J Martell Charity and an assortment of breads, cheeses, and chocolate. VIP guests are invited to attend our VIP Pinot Panels with Discussions & Tastings, enjoy a delicious VIP Buffet, and receive a VIP Gift Bag packed with fabulous items to take home.

WHEN/WHERE:
JULY 20, 2016
SOFITEL LA at Beverly Hills
8555 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

TIME:
Trade: 12PM-3PM
VIP: 6PM
Gold: 7PM
Silver: 7:30PM
Event ends at 9:30PM

ABOUT BEEKEEPER CELLARS
Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.

Clay, a 7th generation grape grower, and his family found themselves the owners of a significant slice of the Rockpile Appellation, through an amazing set of historical land transactions. The Mauritson family realized the potential and parented the creation of the ROCKPILE AVA. In 1998, Ian and Clay climbed the hill and watched the Madrone Spring Vineyard get planted, while discussing the future of Rockpile and the dream it represented.

In 2008, Clay saw the fruits of his family's labor taking shape and came to Ian with a unique opportunity to source some of the Rockpile fruit. He told Ian in the difficult days of 2008, “now is the time to get in and build the business and have it take shape as the market improves, and to not wait until business is strong as you will have a hard time getting access to the right quality assets.” Ian took heed of Clay’s wise comment and said "When your best friend is Clay Mauritson and he offers Rockpile fruit and to assist with winemaking…... you make Zinfandel.”

In Los Angeles, Ian operates a specialty wine marketing organization known as wineLA and has pioneered wine education for the past 20 years (since 1995) through www.learnaboutwine.com and www.wineLA.com.  Beekeeper Cellars is also involved in Ian’s Masters of Wine Thesis project and provides him the winemaking training he requires to help pass the difficult Masters of Wine exam...an ongoing pursuit.

ABOUT IAN BLACKBURN, CSW, JWE ¬ LEARNABOUTWINE & WINELA PROFESSIONAL SOMMELIER 
Ian drinks wine for a living and plans 50¬‐100 public and private events a year. Ian stays busy buying collectible wines for high profile clients, planning luxury wine  trips  for  his  audience,  hosting  corporate  events,  and  studying  for  his  Master of Wine. Since  1995,  LearnAboutWine  has  done  the  hard  work  of  building  a  better  culture for fine wine, opening the doors for more quality products to enter the  marketplace  and  has  taught  over  800,000  students.    With  a  reach  of  over 80,000  current  subscribers  and  followers,  LearnAboutWine  now  focuses  on  the  best  quality  events and classes, and wine credential programs which have graduated over 1000 wine students in the last 9 years with a Junior Wine Executive credential (JWE).  

WWW.WINELA.COM
WWW.BEEKEEPERCELLARS.COM

Friday, July 1, 2016

07/01 MIKAEL SIGOUIN, KA’ENA WINE, TOBIN SHARP, HI-TIME WINE CELLARS, JEFF MANGAHAS, WILLIAMS SELYEM

MIKAEL SIGOUIN – WINEMAKER, KA’ENA WINE

Kaena was launched in 2001 to showcase Mikael’s deep passion for Grenache. Kaena is a boutique winery that sources from Tierra Alta Vineyard and Larner Vineyard in the Ballard Canyon AVA , primarily.  Mikael who is part Hawaiian and raised on the Oahu shores, uses a shortened version of his given name for the brand – Kaena – which means “potential for greatness”.  That “greatness” is evident in the wines – in 2006 Wine Spectator named Mikael one of the top 10 new Rhone  producers.  Known affectionately by his peers and fans as The Grenache King – Kaena produces 2000 cases of Rhone & other varietals with an emphasis on Grenache.  Mikael credits his success, growth and nickname to his passion for making truly handcrafted wines.  He also credits his wife, Sally, for her design and management of the Kaena Tasting Room located in Los Olivos, California.  

WINEMAKING 
Winemaking is deeply personal to me.  It is my artistry, my meditation, my profession, my life. It has been 15 years now and when I look back at my first harvest at Beckmen Vineyards in 1999, the slope of my learning curve was exponentially vertical.  I absorbed everything I could.  After a few years, I moved to Fess Parker Winery, and in ‘06 I returned to Beckman as head winemaker, where I continue to work today while making Kaena Wines.  Along the way I have had incredible opportunities to work amongst some of the best winemakers in the Santa Ynez Valley. They helped guide me toward my winemaking goals of establishing my own brand and taught me great lessons: Work as hard as you possibly can.  Ask questions. Be aware. Most importantly, be humble. My first vintage of syrah I had to press by hand through cheesecloth. That was ‘01. We all have to start somewhere. Through the years, I have also been fortunate to work with a tremendous variety of fruit from incredible vineyards here in SB County.  This exploration has led me   to my primary focus: Grenache.  It is a varietal that is intensely aromatic, sexy, feminine, bold & always full of surprise. In my obsession with this varietal, my goal is to create the most diverse Grenache portfolio in the Santa Ynez Valley by working with the best fruit available. I am pretty close to accomplishing this goal.

While wine was not an integral part of my childhood in Hawaii, the paradise of flavors, colors and aromas that I was surrounded by prepared my palate to understand the delicate nuances in fragrance and taste. This overwhelming sensory experience was enhanced by my great-grandmother, Tutu, who raised me.  I’d spend hours by her side watching her patiently layer ingredients in every meal, gently coaxing the best flavors to shine through. Through her work, she taught me to nurture and respect the tremendous gifts we are given.  Never at a loss for words, she called me “Ka’ena’ai” – meaning “potential for greatness.” My island experiences are embedded in my DNA.  They are the reason I strive to make unique wines expressing the spectrum of their place. With Kaena Wines now in its second decade, I honor the responsibility my great-grandmother gave me.

WWW.KAENAWINE.COM


TOBIN SHARP FROM HI-TIME WINE CELLARS

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is a family-owned retail store located in Costa Mesa, California. Founded by Fritz Hanson and his brother-in-law Jim McVay. Hi-Time opened its cellar doors in 1957  at its original location on 17th and Irvine in Costa Mesa, California. In 1984, the Hanson brothers moved to our present location in Costa Mesa where they built one of the largest underground temperature-controlled wine cellars in the U.S . This 3,000 square foot underground temperature-controlled cellar now includes a selection of 10,000+ wines from many different wineries from all around the world. This selection represents the world's finest growing regions from such diverse areas as California, Oregon, Washington, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe, South Africa, South America and Portugal.

The recently re-designed store now has a retail space of 24,000 square feet. We added many new and exotic labels to our selection. Along with our selection of rare wines you will also discover hard-to-find spirits, espcially in the Bourbon and Scotch aisles, and exotic liquors from all over the world. In addition, we offer a comprehensive selection of North American micro-brews along with some of the best beers the rest of the world creates. Our walk-in beer refrigerator offers over 1,200 different beers from 25+ different countries. Our walk-in tobacco humidor holds over 500 different cigar brands and sizes as well as a great selection of pipes and fine pipe tobaccos.  We also offer gourmet foods, specialty chocolates, cheeses and charcuterie.

We are proud to have been able to serve our customers for over half of a century. Our goal is to provide our customers with one of the largest selections of fine wines and rare spirits from all over the world, at competitive prices and without sacrificing the quality of our customer service. We are looking forward to serving you at our store location, over the phone or online.

OUR STORY
Fritz Hanson and Jim McVay founded the store in 1957. Jim, unfortunately, passed away many years ago. Shortly after opening the store, Fritz's younger brother Chuck Hanson joined the Hi-Time team. Chuck was interested in wine right away and became the store's primary wine buyer. Most of the business at that time consisted of distilled spirits and jug wines. Chuck remembers the first wines to make a big impression on him were those of Charles Krug and Louis Martini.

Harold Hanson, who was in the military overseas at the time, joined Hi-Time after completing his tour of duty. While in the service in Europe, Harold took pictures of wine caves in Burgundy. Bringing the photos back to his brothers, it was decided that they would build a wine cave within the store. Harold became the General Manger for the store, a position he held for over 40 years.

Our original location (pictured on the left)! Those were the days... the wine cellar and La Cave next door. La Cave is still there but we're up the street a bit. Well, tempus fugit, as they say. Hi-Time moved to our current location in 1984... prior to that, the building we're housed in was a telephone company. The underground wine cellar had to be dug out to provide a home for our wines! The groundbreaking ceremony for our building expansion (the new beer area and shipping) was in 2004. What's next? Who Knows! Stay Tuned!  ***Yes, more construction in the works... pardon our mess as we strive to make our store better! Facelift at 50? Why not! A few years ago Patterson's Beverage Journal honored the Hanson family for Hi-time Wine Cellars with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

HI-TIME TODAY
Fritz is semi-retired but we always need his help when there's construction to be done... or stocking the liquor shelves during the holidays! Chuck Hanson is still here! Well, at least for a couple days a week he helps keep an eye on the wine department along with keeping up on the latest wines. He knows just about everyone in the California wine industry. Harold has also retired but still stops by a few times a week to check up on things. Today the store is managed by Fritz's oldest daughter Diana Hirst. Both his sons Keith (spirits buyer) and Donnie (clerk) work alongside Diana making Hi-Time the thriving business it is today. Fritz's other daughter Linda is working as an assistant winemaker for Hanzel Winery. Four of Fritz's grandchildren Charlie, Kyle, Jordan and Skylar are working in the store as the 3rd generation of the Hanson family legacy.

WWW.HITIMEWINE.NET


JEFF MANGAHAS – WINEMAKER, WILLIAMS SELYEM

On most wine tasting trips with friends, conversation tends to center on the beautiful surroundings, the aromas in the glass, and where is everyone having their next amazing meal. When Jeff started wine tasting back in his 20’s, the question that kept popping into his head was “why does this wine taste the way it does?”

It would be this burning curiosity about what happens before wine enters the bottle that would lead Jeff to leave a career as a medical research scientist and enroll in the UC Davis winemaking program.
Jeff grew up in Washington State, graduating from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Beginning his career as a research scientist in Seattle, Jeff explored the deep, tannic vintages of Washington’s varied wine regions. When his career took him to New York City, Jeff discovered another facet to his fascination with wine—pairing it with fresh and passionately prepared cuisine.

During this time, Jeff also visited the wine regions of France. His scientific roots, his desire to understand the process and his ongoing curiosity to discover what made wine taste a certain way ran wild. He traveled the Burgundy and Bordeaux countryside, sampling and discovering how place and climate can create subtle variations in the flavor and complexity of a bottle of wine. Jeff realized his hobby needed to become his career.

Fast forward to 2003. Jeff has graduated with an M.S. in Enology and then takes on his first harvest with Artesa Vineyards. Soon after, Jeff has become Assistant Winemaker at Dutton-Goldfield, digging into the world of cool-climate Pinot wine growing. Then he was on to the role of Winemaker at Hartford Family Winery, specializing in Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.

Today, as Winemaker at Williams Selyem, Jeff continues to ask the question of what makes a wine taste the way it does, now tempered with, ”how can we coax the best out of each vintage?” Jeff also brings another perspective to the making of wine as a gardener and home chef. On a Sunday away from the winery, you’ll find him in his garden, tending to his tomatoes, lettuces and peppers, gathering up ingredients for a wonderful meal to share with family and friends. Of course, a bottle of Williams Selyem has been hand picked to compliment the meal.

Jeff was born in 1971, a year Sonoma County Pinot Noir has been described as, “smoky tobacco and earthy.”

HISTORY
Imagine taking a vacation from your “day job” to crush grapes. That’s how Williams Selyem was born.  Williams Selyem Winery began as a simple dream of two friends, Ed Selyem and Burt Williams, who started weekend winemaking as a hobby in 1979 in a garage in Forestville, California. It took less than two decades from their first commercial vintage in 1981 for Burt and Ed to create a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Together, they set a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking in the United States, raising Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley to among the best winegrowing regions in the world. Here’s a brief history of Williams Selyem’s rise in the sometimes heartbreakingly cruel world of Pinot Noir.
 
TIMELINE

  • 1970’s Burt and Ed begin making wine in a garage in Forestville. Some of their first fruit is from local grower Leno Martinelli; Zinfandel from 84-year-old vines grown on Jackass Hill.
  • 1981 Burt and Ed make the winery official (and legal!) and name it Hacienda Del Rio.
  • 1982 The first vintage is produced with the now iconic Williams Selyem label. Burt designs it using a letter press and even mixes his own ink for the labels.
  • 1983 The first commercial release of Hacienda del Rio.
  • 1983 Burt and Ed receive a cease and desist letter from the Hacienda Winery, requesting that they not use the name Hacienda on their label.
  • 1984 The first vintage of Williams Selyem on the label releases. The winery is legally Williams & Selyem.
  • 1985 The first vineyard designate Pinot Noir from the Rochioli Vineyard is released.
  • 1987 The Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir wins the Sweepstakes Prize (top red wine) at the California State Fair. Their Pinot is voted the best of the 2,136 wines entered by 416 wineries.
  • 1987 Due to the sudden notoriety, demand now exceeds supply. The Williams Selyem ‘waiting list’ develops, as not all those hoping to purchase received the opportunity.
  • 1989 Their single-vineyard designate Pinot Noir wines attract worldwide notoriety. Win Wilson and Jack Daniels, the Napa Valley importers of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti come to Williams Selyem in 1992 to compare wines. 23 bottles later, Williams Selyem holds its own, adding to its rapidly growing world-class reputation.
  • 1989 The crew moves into the Allen facility on Westside Road.
  • 1990’s The Williams Selyem production grows from about 4,000 cases of wine to 8,000 cases of wine in 1998. The wine is still sold mainly directly to consumers with select cases going to top restaurants in California and New York. The wait to get on the mailing list approaches two years.
  • 1992 The growth of the winery allows Burt and Ed to quit their day jobs and focus solely on the winery.
  • 1995 Williams Selyem is served at the White House.
  • 1998 Burt and Ed sell the winery to John Dyson.
  • 1998 John Dyson buys the Drake property in Guerneville and begins developing it as the first Williams Selyem Estate property.
  • 2001 The Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard is purchased from the descendants of Cecil and Luella Litton. In honor of the heritage of the Litton family, the property is named Litton Estate.
  • 2004 The experimental Mass Selection Vineyard is planted with 18 diverse clones intermixed in the same block.
  • 2006 The first vintage of Litton Estate Pinot Noir is made consisting of 2 barrels only.
  • 2006 Ground is broken and construction began on the new state-of-the-art winery on Westside Road.
  • 2007 Wine Enthusiast awards the Litton Estate Pinot Noir a perfect 100 points. It is the first Pinot Noir in North America given 100 points by any major wine publication.
  • 2009 The production crew moves into the first completed section of the winery for barrel aging, lab work and bottling. Crush and fermentation still happens at the Allen facility.
  • Late 2010 The new winery is completed and all administrative offices and day-to-day operations move.
  • Early 2011 Williams Selyem active list members are invited to visit, tour and taste at the winery (by appointment only).
  • 2011 Bob Cabral is named winemaker of the year.
  • 2015 Jeff Mangahas takes over as head winemaker.

The winemaking torch has been passed into the skillful hands of Jeff Mangahas and his team, who respect and employ the original handcrafted approach to winemaking for which Williams Selyem is known. By following proven traditions of respecting the individuality of the growers and vineyards we will continue to deliver distinctive wines.

WWW.WILLIAMSSELYEM.COM

Friday, June 24, 2016

06/24 BOB CABRAL, THREE STICKS WINE, TYLER OLBRES, NELLCÔTE WINERY GROUP

BOB CABRAL - DIRECTOR OF WINEMAKING, THREE STICKS WINE            

ABOUT THREE STICKS WINES: 
Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery founded by Bill Price (William S. Price III). Founded in 2002, the winery is named for Bill’s surfing nickname, “Billy Three Sticks,” which was assigned to him in his youth as a reference to the three Roman numerals that follow his name. As a long-time fan and collector of wines from the Durell Vineyard, Price purchased  the property from Ed Durell in 1998, and launched Three Sticks a few years later.

In 2015, Bob Cabral, former winemaker for Williams Selyem, and Ryan Prichard, former assistant winemaker for Medlock Ames, joined the Three Sticks Team. Don Van Staaveren, who had been with Three Sticks since 2004, remains as Winemaker Emeritus. Cabral and Prichard will be focusing on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production, while Van Staaveren will continue to focus on the Cabernets.

The winery is housed in an industrial area near downtown Sonoma, among a cluster of other artisan wine producers known as the Eighth Street Wineries. In keeping with the winery’s “no crush” policy, every lot of grapes to come in is treated with utmost care and minimal handling. The winemaking team insists on keeping every vineyard block separate from the others from the moment they are picked on through fermentation, barrel aging and final blending.

In 2014, Three Sticks opened a tasting salon in downtown Sonoma: The Adobe (a.k.a. the VallejoCasteñada Adobe, #theadobe). Built circa 1842 and located just off the plaza in downtown Sonoma, the Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe was one of Sonoma’s oldest and longest occupied residences and remains one of the last standing buildings from California’s Mexican Period. It’s transformation into the Three Sticks tasting salon was directed by noted San Francisco designer Ken Fulk.

ABOUT BOB:
There is very good reason Bob Cabral’s name is synonymous with great Pinot Noir. With decades of experience in Sonoma County, Bob’s passion, experience and following for his work with the varietal is second to none. From 1998 to 2014 Bob was winemaker for Williams Selyem. There, he led the winery into a new era, overseeing an expansion of new vineyard sources and bottlings for the brand, along with the construction of a state-of the art winery.

Bob’s interest in wine and farming began in childhood helping his grandfather make wine in a barn. Growing up pruning grapes, irrigating vineyards and harvesting grapes became routine on his family’s 70-acre ranch near Escalon, CA. A fourth generation farmer and grape grower from the great San Joaquin Valley, he took all he learned at the family farm and applied it to his degrees at Fresno State University. While in college, his passion for Pinot Noir became evident as he spent every spare dime, and a good chunk of his student loans, on buying wines from all over the world—mostly Burgundy and Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs.

After graduating in the mid-1980s, Bob knew that Sonoma County was where he could best hone his skills and make wines to rival the best in the world. He spent 11 vintages in various winemaking positions—associate winemaker at DeLoach Vineyards, custom crush winemaker at Kunde Family Estate, winemaker at Alderbrook Vineyards and winemaker at Hartford Court Winery—before taking his seminal position at Williams Selyem.

Bob’s winemaking philosophy has remained constant throughout his career—to source and farm the best fruit possible, with minimal intervention in the cellar. He was awarded the 2011 Wine Star Award from the Wine Enthusiast as “Winemaker of the Year.” He joined Three Sticks in 2015, with fervent enthusiasm. Bob lives in the Russian River Valley where and is a devoted husband and father to his wife and daughter.

WWW.THREESTICKSWINES.COM


TYLER OLBRES – PRESIDENT, NELLCÔTE WINERY GROUP

Nellcôte wines are sold exclusively to members of our Mailing List. To request an allocation of our wines, please provide your contact information below. As a member, you will receive wine release notices, event invitations and other announcements.

Nellcôte is a boutique Napa Valley winery crafting two distinct styles of ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon of limited production and a unique Napa Valley rosé. Made by winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus and sold exclusively to our Mailing List.

Wine Varieties Produced
Cabernet Sauvignon
Rose

Appellations Sourced
Mount Veeder
Napa Valley
Oakville

WWW.NELLCOTE.COM

Friday, June 3, 2016

06/03 BEN PAPAPIETRO, PAPAPIETRO PERRY WINERY, JAY SOMERS, J. CHRISTOPHER WINES

BEN PAPAPIETRO - OWNER/WINEMAKER, PAPAPIETRO PERRY WINERY 

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS...
Our toolkit for success contained a garage, good friends, some old equipment, great enthusiasm, a burning passion for wine and a lot of humor. With those tools, some incredible Sonoma County grapes and the love and patience of our family and friends, we built Papapietro Perry Winery, one vintage at a time. We were also younger, our hair was darker, we might have been a tad thinner and the wine was still a work in progress. Enjoy this journey into our past.

VINEYARDS
Wine starts in the vineyard. Being passionate about our wines, we meticulously locate the best Pinot Noir and Zinfandel vineyards available. We know only superb vineyard sources allow us to produce the kind of wines we wants to drink and share with the world. Years of experience have led to the careful selection of these vineyards.
Campbell Ranch
Charles Vineyard
Leras Family Vineyards
Mukaida - Peters Vineyard
Nunes Vineyard
Peters Vineyard

WINEMAKING
When asked what style of wine we make, the response is always ‘great wines’.  After we’ve all laughed, the real answer emerges. After almost 30 years of winemaking, we still firmly believe in a minimalist approach—allowing the wine to express itself and reflect the growing season through the nuances that appear from vintage to vintage. For this to happen and to produce those ‘great wines’, it is vital to pay attention to every detail; carefully attending to every step of the winemaking process, yet always with a light hand. We don’t over-extract or over-oak our wines. We give the wines the fermentation and aging environments that allow them to become exceptional—so we can smell and taste what the fruit has to offer us.

Consistency is another element to our style. We cold-soak all the grapes for two to four days before fermenting, use the same cultured yeast and same type of François Frères barrels for 11-12 months of oak aging for our Pinot Noirs and 12-17 months for our Zinfandels. Our vineyard and clonal designates are all kept separate throughout the winemaking and aging process.  Midway through the aging process (usually around Spring) we taste through the barrels and blend the wines together to make the vineyard and Clonal designate wines.  Our winemaking team tastes through the wine in the barrels in order to determine which blend of clones and or vineyards allows the best flavors and nuances to show through. What varies from year to year is how the growing season affects the flavor profile of the grapes. Our goal is to let the grapes speak through the finished wine. Those vintage differences are a piece of the charm in both winemaking and wine drinking.

BIOGRAPHY
A complex man with simple pleasures, high standards and soulful values.  Wine has always been a part of Ben's life. A native San Franciscan of Italian descent, Ben grew up with wine as part of every family meal and gathering. His grandpa made his own red wine blend in the basement, where Ben listened and learned. Ben's heritage and love for wine always beckoned. The passion caught fire in his early twenties as he explored wines from around the world—Bordeaux and an occasional high-end California Cabernet. But the wines that really turned Ben’s head were Burgundies from 1956 and '57. Seduced by those captivating aromas and elegant nuances, Ben volunteered to work during harvest at a friend's Sonoma County winery specializing in Pinot Noir. There he honed his craft and never looked back. During his 37-year career with the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, Ben met future partner Bruce Perry. Through their common passions—cooking and wine—they became fast friends.

Today, the Papapietro Perry cellar is simply a more elaborate version of Ben’s garage where he started making wine more than 25 years ago. "Authentic, not pretentious," says Ben. "Confident, but not too serious. Humble. The winery is an extension of my home and personal hospitality." Maybe that is why one corner of the cellar is dedicated to a makeshift kitchen where family favorites are prepared for the staff, and the occasional lucky friend who drops by at lunchtime. In Ben's words, "cooking and wine are indistinguishable." He simply cannot imagine one without the other.When Ben isn't in the cellar or the kitchen, he and his wife Yolanda like to travel and pour Papapietro Perry wines wherever they land. Yolanda joined the family business in 2009 handling distributor relations and enjoys pouring with Ben at events. When they're not traveling, Ben and Yolanda enjoy spending time with their two grandsons.

WWW.PAPAPIETRO-PERRY.COM


JAY SOMERS - OWNER/WINEMAKER, J. CHRISTOPHER WINES

From Jay's first sip of Burgundy, there was no turning back. Old World wines are what he has always loved to drink. And since starting J. Christopher Wines in 1996, that's the style of wine he has worked to make here in the New World. We follow biodynamic principles, and all of our wines are handcrafted in small lots, with fruit sourced from some of the best vineyards in Oregon. Our specialties are Pinot Noir made in the traditional style of Burgundy, and Sauvignon Blanc modeled after the great wines of Sancerre.
In 2010, we cemented our bond with the Old World by forming a partnership with famed German winemaker Ernst Loosen. Erni and Jay have a longtime friendship based partly on the fact that they are both Pinot freaks. Working together to produce Pinot Noirs that combined Old World and New World ideas just seemed like a natural. Together, they purchased a beautiful 40-acre property on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon. This is the home of the new J. Christopher winery, and the Appassionata vineyard, our first estate vineyard.

ABOUT JAY SOMERS:
Jay Christopher Somers wanted to be a rock star. One of his earliest memories was the day his mother came home with the new Creedence Clearwater Revival album, Cosmos Factory. As the 4-year-old Jay listened over and over to John Fogarty's wailing guitar solo in "Heard it Through the Grapevine," he knew that's what he wanted to do. And yet, rooted somewhere in that song, another message planted itself in his subconscious. Something about grapevines.

Jay eventually did get a guitar — today he has quite a collection — and learned to play with great skill. In terms of careers, however, he did what any college grad with a degree in philosophy would do: he made beer. After several years as a brewer for McMenamins, he met a beautiful woman named Ronda. Ronda liked Jay, but didn't care for beer. Making two of the best decisions of his life, Jay married Ronda and got out of the beer business, deciding to focus, instead, on his latest passion: wine. In the years leading up to the launch of his own winery, Jay had the great fortune to work with Don Kautzner at Adelsheim Vineyard in Oregon, Neil McCallum at Dry Creek Vineyard in New Zealand, and John Paul at Cameron Winery in Oregon. From Don, he learned that it was possible to make Burgundian-style Pinots in Oregon. Through Neil, he gained a passion for white wines. And in John, he found a lifelong friend and mentor.

In his five years at Cameron, Jay adopted an Old World style of vineyard management and winemaking — a style that resulted in wines that tasted more like the Burgundies he loved to drink. With John's encouragement, he bottled his first J. Christopher vintage in 1996, using the Cameron facility and fruit purchased from the neighboring Charlie's vineyard. (Side note: Jay is the first and only winemaker ever to make wine from this excellent vineyard.) His first vintage, like many to follow, sold out in less than a week.

After Jay's third vintage of J. Christopher, his mentor gently and encouragingly nudged the fledgling from the nest. Jay spent the next 11 years making J. Christopher alongside Holloran Vineyard Wines at the Holloran facility in the Willamette Valley. Here, he continued to develop his Burgundian winemaking style: "Don't force the vineyard, don't irrigate the crap out of it, don't spray a bunch of chemicals on it, and do all the hand labor right."

In 2004, an opportunity arose to help the shorthanded crew at the Dr. Loosen winery in Germany's Mosel Valley. A big fan of German Rieslings, Jay pounced on it. Over many bottles of wine after long days of work, he and winemaker Ernst Loosen discovered that they had a mutual taste and passion for Pinot Noir. Erni had long dreamed of owning vineyards in Burgundy, but, turned off by the price, had begun thinking about the second best place in the world to grow Pinot Noir: Oregon. Over many more bottles, the two hatched a plan, and soon began making a collaborative Oregon Pinot called Appassionata. In 2010, they formalized their partnership, bought a 40-acre property on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon, and began building a new J. Christopher winery. Jay continues as the winemaker for the partnership, while Erni provides Old World expertise and financial support.

Today, in addition to making wine, Jay plays lead guitar for the Portland band Reduction. Fans of both his music and his wines tell him he's a rock star. So all in all, he feels, things have turned out very well.

ABOUT OUR WINES:
At J. Christopher, we produce handcrafted wines sourced from some of the best vineyards in Oregon's Northern Willamette Valley. We follow biodynamic principles and specialize in Pinot Noir made using the traditional methods of Burgundy. We are one of the few wineries in Oregon to produce Sauvignon Blanc, modeled after the great wines of Sancerre.

Our philosophy is to produce wines in an Old World style that emphasizes focus, length, and balance. As winemaker Jay Somers puts it, "We do not make fruit bombs. We want wines that have a fine balance of fruit, acidity and texture. We want wines that give you more than just a big mid-palate blast — wines that are complete."

The key to this, Jay firmly believes, is patient winemaking — it is vital not to rush things and allow the wines to develop naturally. For example, we would never use cultured yeasts to induce malolactic fermentation in our Pinot Noir. This is a New World technique done to facilitate earlier bottling, but we feel it is damaging to the wine's texture and balance. We want the wines to evolve at their own pace, with a minimum of intervention.

Pinot Noir
Place matters. Our Pinot Noir is made to reflect where it comes from. Our range of Pinot Noir showcases the diversity of the valley's soils, micro-climates and distinct terroir. Our flagship Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is approachable, yet complex; a perfect window into what makes this part of Oregon so special. Our Terroir Series Pinot Noir highlight three individual AVAs within the valley, focusing on the distinct qualities that each area's soils and micro climate bring to the wine. Our Single Vineyard Pinot Noir are bottled to reflect the complete and singular qualities of some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc, although not widely planted in the Willamette Valley, is ideally suited to the same climate as Pinot Noir. Winemaker Jay Somers likes to remind you that while Sancerre is known for some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noir is also grown there.

We offer a few different takes on this noble white grape. Our Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc is more delicate and focused, with a bright, refreshing finish, while our bottling of the Croft Vineyard showcases the intensity and richness of the this unique vineyard with a softer texture.

Chardonnay
Chardonnay is the natural companion to Pinot Noir. Like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay beautifully reveals the soils and climate of the place it is grown. We produce a pure, unadorned Chardonnay, bottled without oak or malolactic fermentation. This stainless steel fermented Chardonnay is a classic cool climate expression of the variety.

Rosé
We offer a dry rose made for easy-drinking, and pure enjoyment. Our pink wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, sourced from vineyards on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

WWW.JCHRISTOPHERWINES.COM