Show 418, March 27, 2021: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part One

Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.”

“At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development. The heat generated during the day is moderated each evening by a marine fog layer (sea “smoke”), which travels up the Santa Ynez River canyon, cooling the vines and resulting in a longer ripening period. This extended ‘hangtime’ allows the grape tannins to fully ripen prior to harvest, creating wines that are rich and supple.”

“Our pursuit of great Pinot Noir can also be seen in the meticulous management of our estate vineyard. We strive for low crop yields and small grape clusters of intense flavor. To this end, our rich clay soils are planted with ten, top-quality Pinot Noir clones on vigor reducing rootstocks. While we employ the latest technology in the vineyard to help us achieve vine balance and vigor reduction, we also recognize that technology is no replacement for skilled people.”

“Every one of our vines receives personal handling from our vineyard crew seven to eight times each year – every vine. As stewards of this remarkable piece of land, we are also dedicated to its long-term wellbeing. In this spirit, we have been farming Sea Smoke sustainably since 2003, and now farm 80 acres biodynamically, including the blocks destined for our Sea Smoke Chardonnay and Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs.”

When you log on to the Sea Smoke website the first introductory image is a short video featuring a sweeping aerial panorama of this magnificent vineyard estate.

Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s long-time Vice President and General Manager gently pulls the cork on Sea Smoke for us.

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Show 407, January 9, 2021: Christopher Buchanan, Winemaker & Proprietor at Terragena Vineyard, Humboldt County Part One

Chris Buchanan of Terragena Vineyard“Are you fascinated by the margin between art and science? That wild edge where creativity and beauty sprout? That’s what wine is for Winemaker and Proprietor Christopher Buchanan at Terragena Vineyards (Craft Wine certified) in Northern California. He believes both creating and enjoying wine is an intrinsically personal and complex experience.”

“Chris explores and strives to understand the complex components, step by step, while building Terragena, a completely off-grid, sustainable vineyard and winery located in the rugged hills of Humboldt County. Terragena partners with small, family-owned vineyards to produce wine that has been tenderly loved from start to finish.”

“Terragena is dedicated to building a strong network of small producers committed to eco-friendly methods who will succeed as they have, while also nurturing an experimental Pinot Noir vineyard in a unique, viticulturally unexplored location.” The winery is completely solar powered and the water source for irrigation is rainwater stored in an on-site pond.

Terragena Vineyards produces small lots of hand-crafted Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Rose of Pinot Noir, single vineyard Pinot Noirs, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Craft wineries operate on thin margins. Best to source their fine wines directly from the Winery so more of the purchase price stays with Terragena.

Chris Buchanan pulls the cork on Terragena Vineyard for us.

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Show 407, January 9, 2021: Christopher Buchanan, Winemaker & Proprietor at Terragena Vineyard, Humboldt County Part Two

Chris Buchanan of Terragena Vineyard“Are you fascinated by the margin between art and science? That wild edge where creativity and beauty sprout? That’s what wine is for Winemaker and Proprietor Christopher Buchanan at Terragena Vineyards (Craft Wine certified) in Northern California. He believes both creating and enjoying wine is an intrinsically personal and complex experience.”

“Chris explores and strives to understand the complex components, step by step, while building Terragena, a completely off-grid, sustainable vineyard and winery located in the rugged hills of Humboldt County. Terragena partners with small, family-owned vineyards to produce wine that has been tenderly loved from start to finish.”

“Terragena is dedicated to building a strong network of small producers committed to eco-friendly methods who will succeed as they have, while also nurturing an experimental Pinot Noir vineyard in a unique, viticulturally unexplored location.” The winery is completely solar powered and the water source for irrigation is rainwater stored in an on-site pond.

Terragena Vineyards produces small lots of hand-crafted Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Rose of Pinot Noir, single vineyard Pinot Noirs, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Craft wineries operate on thin margins. Best to source their fine wines directly from the Winery so more of the purchase price stays with Terragena.

“The Terragena Vineyard team, headed by winemaker and vineyard proprietor Chris Buchanan, crafts limited production wines with the same spirit of adventure that first led them to build their off-grid vineyard in Humboldt County. Chris was inspired by the ruggedly beautiful hills, forests, and meadows around area to create wine that expresses these characteristics of the land without any added fluff or distraction. Terragena is a latin word meaning “born of the earth.” Terragena is dedicated to sustainably expressing the unique characteristics of their estate vineyard as well as their diverse partner vineyards by nurturing the wine from the earth to the bottle.”

Chris Buchanan rejoins us as he pulls the cork on Terragena Vineyard’s Nebbiolo from Lost Coast’s Dragon Vineyard for us.

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Show 396, October 24, 2020: Dan Kessler, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines, Lompoc Part One

Dan Kessler of Kessler-Hawk Vineyard and WinesThe Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines vineyard is located on Hwy 246, 11 miles west of Buellton in the cooler northwestern section of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Fog graces the vineyard most mornings; followed by cool Pacific ocean breezes and bright sunny afternoons. These conditions nurture gentle ripening of Kessler-Haak’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at lower sugars with crisp acidity and the higher levels of spice commonly seen in cool climate viticulture. There is also a sparkling wine program.

At Kessler-Haak the approach is that “great wine is produced in the vineyard.” Consequently, they feel “the best winemaking approach is a minimalistic one, relying on traditional methods and techniques.”

“The quality of the fruit directly impacts the quality of the wine produced from it. At Kessler-Haak, they believe winemaking begins in the vineyard and that they are wine growers first and foremost and winemakers second. Winegrower & Winemaker Dan and Owner/Partner Ellen Haak-Kessler live on and work in the vineyard. Coaxing the best fruit from each vine requires an integral involvement with the grape growing process; being there each day, touching the vines and soil and being hands-on in all aspects of the farming.”

The welcoming Lompoc Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday. No appointment needed. Check Website for hours.

Grower and Winemaker Dan Kessler pulls the cork on Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines for us.

 

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Show 396, October 24, 2020: Dan Kessler, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines, Lompoc Part Two

Dan Kessler of Kessler-Hawk Vineyard and WinesThe Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines vineyard is located on Hwy 246, 11 miles west of Buellton in the cooler northwestern section of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Fog graces the vineyard most mornings; followed by cool Pacific ocean breezes and bright sunny afternoons. These conditions nurture gentle ripening of Kessler-Haak’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at lower sugars with crisp acidity and the higher levels of spice commonly seen in cool climate viticulture. There is also a sparkling wine program.

At Kessler-Haak the approach is that “great wine is produced in the vineyard.” Consequently, they feel “the best winemaking approach is a minimalistic one, relying on traditional methods and techniques.”

“As winemakers, the goal at Kessler-Haak is to craft great food friendly wines that speak of place and time. The single most important factor influencing this goal is the decision of when to harvest. They base this decision on a combination of factors including: sugar levels, pH, flavors, visual appearance of the fruit and vines, seed ripeness and the style of wine we are striving to create. Ripeness in a given year, which ultimately reflects time and place, is the optimal confluence of these factors.”

The welcoming Lompoc Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday. No appointment needed. Check Website for hours.

Grower and Winemaker Dan Kessler of Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines in Lompoc continues with us.

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Show 395, October 17, 2020: Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company, Santa Barbara Part One

Douglas Barden MargerumDoug Margerum (Margerum Wine Company) has been involved in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years. Upon graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981, his family purchased WINE CASK. In 1994 the WINE CASK became one of 74 restaurants in the world to earn the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Doug sold the WINE CASK in 2007.”

“In 2014, Margerum released BARDEN wines – an exploration of cold climate grapes grown in and around the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. BARDEN is Doug’s middle name and its English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den”… thusly they have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the area’s vineyards.”

BARDEN Wines Mission Statement: BARDEN is the dream to make the ultimate expression of grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Our access to the top vineyards along with the philosophy and knowledge gained over thirty years in the wine business allows us to make world-class wines. BARDEN’s English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den” … thusly we have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the Sta. Rita Hills.”

Doug recently hosted at his handsome Santa Barbara Tasting Room a comprehensive sampling of both Margerum and Barden wines for a small group of wine journalists from the L.A. Wine Writers. Barden Sta. Rita Hills varietals sampled included Barden Viognier, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta, Rita Hills (2018); Barden Fonte, White Blend, Sta. Rita Hills (2018); and Barden Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills (2017.)

Doug Margerum pours a glass of Barden Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and continues with us explaining all that is BARDEN wines.

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Show 395, October 17, 2020: Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company, Santa Barbara Part Two

Douglas Barden MargerumDoug Margerum (Margerum Wine Company) has been involved in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years. Upon graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981, his family purchased WINE CASK. In 1994 the WINE CASK became one of 74 restaurants in the world to earn the Wine Spectator Grand Award. Doug sold the WINE CASK in 2007.”

“In 2014, Margerum released BARDEN wines – an exploration of cold climate grapes grown in and around the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. BARDEN is Doug’s middle name and its English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den”… thusly they have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the area’s vineyards.”

BARDEN Wines Mission Statement: BARDEN is the dream to make the ultimate expression of grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Our access to the top vineyards along with the philosophy and knowledge gained over thirty years in the wine business allows us to make world-class wines. BARDEN’s English meaning is “Lives near the boar’s den” … thusly we have adorned the label with an image of the wild boar that is pervasive in the Sta. Rita Hills.”

“Barden white wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris) are barrel fermented in our 55 degree winery and battonaged for an average of 3 months. We allow malolactic fermentation to occur naturally in each individual barrel. The wines are aged in mostly new Ermitage and Françoise Frères 225 liter barrels and 600 liter demi-muids for ten months prior to bottling.”

“Our Pinot Noir (BARDEN) is hand sorted and a percentage (depending on the vintage) is whole cluster fermented. We do a 6-10 day cold soak, with natural (wild) fermentation, and use only free-run wine. We use minimal sulfur during maturation on full lees in mostly new Ermitage and François Frères French oak 225 liter barriques and 300 liter barrels. We bottle a very precise selection of the wine un-fined and unfiltered.”

Doug Margerum pours a glass of Barden Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills and continues with us explaining all that is BARDEN wines.

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Show 381, July 11, 2020: Founder & Winemaker Ben Papapietro, Papapietro Perry Winery Part One

Ben Papapietro of Papapietro Perry WineryPapapietro Perry Winery is a boutique, family-owned winery located in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, which has specialized in making remarkable, classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, as well as a small selection of other varietals from Sonoma such as Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Rosé. Committed to quality for more than twenty years, Ben and Yolanda Papapietro and Bruce and Renae Perry, two couples who began making wine as a hobby in a San Francisco basement in 1980, have consistently produced small lots of award-winning and critically-acclaimed wines, handmade from harvest to punch down.”

Papapietro Perry produces annually 8,000 cases of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Rose. The Appellations are Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley.

Winemaker and Founder Ben Papapietro pulls the cork on Papapietro Perry for us.

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Show 381, July 11, 2020: Founder & Winemaker Ben Papapietro, Papapietro Perry Winery Part Two

Ben Papapietro of Papapietro Perry WineryPapapietro Perry Winery is a boutique, family-owned winery located in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, which has specialized in making remarkable, classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, as well as a small selection of other varietals from Sonoma such as Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Rosé. Committed to quality for more than twenty years, Ben and Yolanda Papapietro and Bruce and Renae Perry, two couples who began making wine as a hobby in a San Francisco basement in 1980, have consistently produced small lots of award-winning and critically-acclaimed wines, handmade from harvest to punch down.

Papapietro Perry produces annually 8,000 cases of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Rose. The Appellations are Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley.

“Papapietrio Perry Wine is in good company with many exceptional Sonoma County winetasting experiences in Dry Creek Valley. The winery is housed in an antique and authentic, renovated fruit processing barn at the historic Timber Crest Farms Collective near Healdsburg. A rare “Past & Present” seated wine tasting focused on past and current releases of Pinot Noir, as well as carefully-curated cheese and wine pairings, are both available by appointment while enjoying views of Dry Creek Valley from the winery’s elegant and covered outdoor hospitality and entertaining space. When the weather is inclement, tastings are also available in the winery barrel room.”

Winemaker and Founder Ben Papapietro pours a 2nd glass of Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir for us.

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Show 364, March 14, 2020: Winemaker Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa Winery, Santa Rita Hills

Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa WineryAlma Rosa Winery was founded in 2005 by California wine industry pioneer Richard Sanford and his wife, Thekla. They named the winery after the 1839 Rancho Santa Rosa land grant that historically encompassed this region of Santa Barbara County. Richard Sanford was the first to plant Pinot Noir in the area in 1971 after detailed research of climate and geologic records. Richard went on to launch two wineries before creating Alma Rosa (which he sold in 2015.)” Today Richard serves as Founder and Winery Ambassador for Alma Rosa Winery. Richard pulls the cork on Alma Rosa for us.

“Richard Sanford was inducted into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2012 for his contributions to the California wine industry. Following his service in Vietnam, Richard Sanford dreamed of discovering a West Coast climate zone similar to the Burgundy region of France and producing wine that would rival the best in the world. With a degree in Geography from UC Berkeley, he identified a remarkable geographic anomaly: the transverse mountain ranges of California where the valleys open to the west, allowing cool maritime air to moderate the growing climate.”

“After locating acreage with well-drained soils in the targeted climate zone, Richard planted the first Pinot Noir vineyard in the Central Coast in 1971 — the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. A decade later, he and his wife Thekla founded Sanford Winery, where they produced award-winning wines for over 25 years.”

“In 2005, the Sanfords launched Alma Rosa Winery to pursue their commitment to organic farming and sustainable business practices. Today, those practices are continued by Bob & Barb Zorich, who purchased Alma Rosa Winery in 2014.”

Richard invites listeners to visit for a sit-down tasting experience in Alma Rosa Winery’s stunning Buellton tasting room. Guests are able to enjoy the Alma Rosa wines in a welcoming and well-appointed tasting room that is comfortably furnished and filled with the beautiful natural light of Santa Barbara County. They offer a rotating selection of 5 wines to taste from their portfolio of Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Rhone varietals and sparkling wines.

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