Show 529, June 10, 2023: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?” That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40. The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.” Winemaker Dave Specter is our guest pulling the cork on all that is Bells Up Winery.

Chef Raphael Lunetta and Executive Chef / Partner Emilio Cuyuch provide their guests a chef driven, neighborhood diner with a rustic California dining room and bar. Both sides feature the freshest, highly sourced ingredients, cocktails, great coffee, craft beers & friendly service. All are offered in a very social environment. Menus for Lunetta are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using seasonal ingredients based on the abundant product available on the California Coast. Food is served either as separate items for each guest or family style to share amongst everyone at your table.” Chef / Proprietor Raphael Lunetta is our guest.

It’s hard to believe but before late 2018 Hitching Post Wines (made famous in the Oscar-winning 2004 feature motion picture, “Sideways,”) never had a tasting room. That all changed for the better in 2018 when acclaimed winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini debuted a mid-century farmhouse, destination Tasting Room (with lunch service delivered from Hitching Post 2) adjacent to Chef Ostini’s prominent Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton. Lunch on the back Patio of The Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room is now provided with full service. Think Grilled Artichoke with Smoked Tomato Mayo and a Pulled Pork Sandwich on a Brioche Bun, South Carolina-style. Gray Hartley joins us popping the cork on a bottle of their signature Highliner for us.

The Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Los Angeles at Glendale Civic Auditorium for the eighth time on Saturday, June 17th with over 40 micro-production, commercial ‘garagiste’ California wineries from Malibu, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County, Paso Robles, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Baja California, and more. The festival, which takes place at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, also offers a VIP tasting seminar on Santa Barbara County’s smallest, but perhaps most intriguing AVA, ‘Happy Canyon’, and features winemakers Dusty Nabor (Dusty Nabor Wines), Anna Lancucki (Final Girl Wines) and Jessica Gasca (Story of Soil). The festival also includes a “No Repeats Rare and Reserve” early access hour.” “We love bringing The Garagiste Festival to Los Angeles because it is the only wine event in L.A. that brings together so many high quality, small-production winemakers from so many different areas,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “It’s a whole California winery road trip all in one place on one day.” Co-Founder Doug Minnick joins us to pull the cork on all that is Garagiste Wine Festival: Urban Exposure.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder of Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Finally egg prices are descending from the stratosphere. Unfortunately beef prices continue to rise. What’s going on? We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 529, June 10, 2023: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part One

Dave Specter of Bells Up Winery

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…

“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?”

“That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s professional mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40.”

“The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.”

“Dave left the legal field, dedicating himself full-time to learning the business of making wine as a professional at Henke Winery while the Family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

“After Dave won two different amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines, The Specters decided to relocate to Newberg, Oregon. In 2013, they established Bells Up Winery and their winemaking dreams took root.”

“Today — micro-boutique, un-domaine and open exclusively for one winemaker-hosted tasting experience at a time — Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically-styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from their estate vineyard and from micro-sites in the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon.”

“The name “Bells Up” refers to a dramatic moment in classical music where the composer instructs French horn players to lift the bells of their instruments up and project sound with maximum intensity. Dave, a French horn player who performed throughout high school and college, says the winery is his “Bells Up” moment.

Winemaker Dave Specter is our guest pulling the cork on all that is Bells Up Winery.

Show 529, June 10, 2023: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two

Dave Specter of Bells Up Winery

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…

“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?”

“That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s professional mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40.”

“The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.”

“Dave left the legal field, dedicating himself full-time to learning the business of making wine as a professional at Henke Winery while the Family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

“After Dave won two different amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines, The Specters decided to relocate to Newberg, Oregon. In 2013, they established Bells Up Winery and their winemaking dreams took root.”

“Today — micro-boutique, un-domaine and open exclusively for one winemaker-hosted tasting experience at a time — Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically-styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from their estate vineyard and from micro-sites in the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon.”

Winemaker Dave Specter continues with us pulling the cork on all that is the boutique Bells Up Winery.

June 10: Bells Up Winery, Lunetta, Hitching Post Wines, Garagiste Wine Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part One
Segment Three: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Partner Raphael Lunetta, Lunetta All Day, Santa Monica Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef & Partner Raphael Lunetta, Lunetta All Day, Santa Monica Part Two
Segment Six: Hitching Post Wines, Buellton, with Gray Hartley
Segment Seven: Garagiste Wine Festival: Urban Exposure with Co-Founder Doug Minnick
Segment Eight: Chef & Co-Host Andrew Gruel with “Ask the Chef”

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?” That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s professional mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40. The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.” Winemaker Dave Specter is our guest pulling the cork on all that is Bells Up Winery.

Chef Raphael Lunetta and Executive Chef/ Partner Emilio Cuyuch provide their guests a chef driven, neighborhood diner with a rustic California dining room and bar. Both sides feature the freshest, highly sourced ingredients, cocktails, great coffee, craft beers & friendly service. All are offered in a very social environment. Menus for Lunetta are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using seasonal ingredients based on the abundant product available on the California Coast. Food is served either as separate items for each guest or family style to share amongst everyone at your table.” Chef / Proprietor Raphael Lunetta is our guest.

It’s hard to believe but before late 2018 Hitching Post Wines (made famous in the Oscar-winning 2004 feature motion picture, “Sideways,”) never had a tasting room. That all changed for the better in 2018 when acclaimed winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini debuted a mid-century farmhouse, destination Tasting Room (with lunch service delivered from Hitching Post 2) adjacent to Chef Ostini’s prominent Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton. Lunch on the back Patio of The Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room is now with full service. Think Grilled Artichoke with Smoked Tomato Mayo and a Pulled Pork Sandwich on a Brioche Bun, South Carolina-style. Gray Hartley joins us popping the cork on a bottle of their signature Highliner for us.

“The Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Los Angeles for the eighth time on Saturday, June 17th with over 40 micro-production, commercial ‘garagiste’ California wineries from Malibu, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County, Paso Robles, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Baja California, and more. The festival, which takes place at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, also offers a VIP tasting seminar on Santa Barbara County’s smallest, but perhaps most intriguing AVA, ‘Happy Canyon’, and features winemakers Dusty Nabor (Dusty Nabor Wines), Anna Lancucki (Final Girl Wines) and Jessica Gasca (Story of Soil). The festival also includes a “No Repeats Rare and Reserve” early access hour.” “We love bringing The Garagiste Festival to Los Angeles because it is the only wine event in L.A. that brings together so many high quality, small-production winemakers from so many different areas,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “It’s a whole California winery road trip all in one place on one day.” Co-Founder Doug Minnick joins us to pull the cork on all that is Garagiste Wine Festival: Urban Exposure.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in Huntington Beach) and also the founder of Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Finally egg prices are descending from the stratosphere. Unfortunately beef prices continue to rise. What’s going on? We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Dave Specter of Bells Up Winery

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…

“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?”

“That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s professional mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40.”

“The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.”

“Dave left the legal field, dedicating himself full-time to learning the business of making wine as a professional at Henke Winery while the Family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

“After Dave won two different amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines, The Specters decided to relocate to Newberg, Oregon. In 2013, they established Bells Up Winery and their winemaking dreams took root.”

“Today — micro-boutique, un-domaine and open exclusively for one winemaker-hosted tasting experience at a time — Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically-styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from their estate vineyard and from micro-sites in the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon.”

“The name “Bells Up” refers to a dramatic moment in classical music where the composer instructs French horn players to lift the bells of their instruments up and project sound with maximum intensity. Dave, a French horn player who performed throughout high school and college, says the winery is his “Bells Up” moment.

“Today, Bells Up invites guests to experience their own #bellsupmoment with a full-sensory private wine tasting experience guided by Winemaker Dave, where he shares their wines and our story. One of the best parts of being a micro-boutique winery is the opportunity to build lasting personal relationships with each and every person who comes through their door. That’s why Bells Up Winery exclusively offers private wine tastings dedicated solely to your group — and never double-booked.”

Winemaker Dave Specter is our guest pulling the cork on all that is Bells Up Winery.

Raphael Lunetta of Lunetta All Day

“Chef Raphael Lunetta and Executive Chef / Partner Emilio Cuyuch provide their guests a chef driven neighborhood diner with a rustic California dining room and bar. Both sides feature the freshest, highly sourced ingredients, cocktails great coffee, craft beers & friendly service. All are offered in a very social environment.”

“Menus for Lunetta are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using seasonal ingredients based on the abundant product available on the California Coast. Food is served either as separate items for each guest or family style to share amongst everyone at your table.”

Lunetta built spacious patios so that guests can continue the al fresco dining-out experience. Lunetta has the All-Day dining room that opens for lunch, happy hour and dinner and the Fireplace dining room and Gallery Room for dinner or a private event.

The OG patio is the outdoor seating area connected to the all-day restaurant. The Cove patio is the covered seating area in the middle of the parking lot.

Lunetta serves breakfast items until 3 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday. The dinner menu is offered in both the all-day dining room and at night in the back fireplace dining room and Moon Bar.

“At Lunetta people matter most, seasonal makes sense, authenticity rules, quality governs, deliciousness is undeniable, pretense is absurd, comfort feels good, fun tastes better, teamwork and pride sustain it all.”

On-site parking in the rear as well as street parking.

Chef / Proprietor Raphael Lunetta is our guest.

Gray Hartley of Hitching Post 2

It’s hard to believe but before late 2018 the well-respected Hitching Post Wines (made famous in the Oscar-winning 2004 feature motion picture, “Sideways,”) never had a tasting room. That all changed for the better in 2018 when acclaimed winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini debuted a mid-century farmhouse, destination Tasting Room (with lunch service delivered from Hitching Post 2) adjacent to Chef Ostini’s Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton.

Leading the Hitching Post Wines team are the creators and two long-time friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, who have been making wines in Santa Barbara County, California since 1979. Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its excellent wines, Gray Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Frank Ostini, chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post 2 Restaurant in Buellton, were brought together by their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise.

Lunch on the back Patio of The Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room is now accommodated with full service. Think Grilled Artichoke with Smoked Tomato Mayo and a Pulled Pork Sandwich on a Brioche Bun, South Carolina-style.

Most of the Hitching Post Wines are available by the glass in the alfresco Patio Dining area. The various Tasting Flights (Traditional and Reserve Tasting) are available inside the front HPW Tasting Room.

Gray Hartley joins us popping the cork on a bottle of their signature Highliner for us.

Doug Minnick of Garagiste Wine Festival

“The Garagiste Wine Festival returns to Los Angeles for the eighth time on Saturday, June 17th with over 40 micro-production, commercial ‘garagiste’ California wineries from Malibu, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County, Paso Robles, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Baja California, and more. The festival, which takes place at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, also offers a VIP tasting seminar on Santa Barbara County’s smallest, but perhaps most intriguing AVA, ‘Happy Canyon’, and features winemakers Dusty Nabor (Dusty Nabor Wines), Anna Lancucki (Final Girl Wines) and Jessica Gasca (Story of Soil). The festival also includes a “No Repeats Rare and Reserve” early access hour.”

“We love bringing The Garagiste Festival to Los Angeles because it is the only wine event in LA that brings together so many high quality, small-production winemakers from so many different areas,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “It’s a whole California winery road trip all in one place on one day.”

“The Garagiste Festival showcases under-the-radar, innovative, commercial winemakers who handcraft 1,500 cases or less of wine and is renowned for its passionate winemakers who pour in-person at the festival, as well as for its diversity of handcrafted wines, renegade spirit, and rules-breaking, ‘no snobs allowed’ ethos. The festival has been described as “tasting nirvana,” “strange and wondrous,” and “one not to miss” by the Los Angeles Times and ‘beloved by geeks near and far” by Sonoma Magazine. About its wineries says the Sonoma Sun: “if corporate mega-wineries are like the dinosaurs of rock music, these are the garage bands,” and, wrote Vinography’s Alder Yarrow: “they offer a sense of discovery. I’ve watched many a wine brand start out small…and end up an established name on the California Wine scene.”

Tickets are very limited for the Garagiste Festivals and always sell out.

Founder Doug Minnick joins us to pull the cork on all that is Garagiste Wine Festival: Urban Exposure.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the recently launched, full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder of Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries.

Finally egg prices are descending from the stratosphere. Unfortunately beef prices continue to rise. A bit of a mixed message… What’s going on? We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part One
Segment Three: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Partner Raphael Lunetta, Lunetta All Day, Santa Monica Part One
Segment Five: Executive Chef & Partner Raphael Lunetta, Lunetta All Day, Santa Monica Part Two
Segment Six: Hitching Post Wines, Buellton, with Gray Hartley
Segment Seven: Garagiste Wine Festival: Urban Exposure with Co-Founder Doug Minnick
Segment Eight: Chef & Co-Host Andrew Gruel with “Ask the Chef”

Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part One

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“After more than a decade of success as a corporate tax attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dave Specter was emotionally and physically spent. His wife Sara convinced him to leave the profession and they turned the hobby that brought him joy—winemaking—into his new career. The pair had fallen in love with Newberg and the Willamette Valley while on vacation in 2008, subsequently moving here in 2012 and establishing Bells Up in 2013. The first wines were released Memorial Day 2015, coinciding with the opening of the estate winery/tasting room.”

“Every Bells Up wine is named for a piece of classical music that perfectly epitomizes the wine and/or prominently features the French horn, the instrument owner and winemaker Dave Specter played for more than 20 years.”

Winemaker Dave joins us to pull the cork on Bells Up Winery.

Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“Winemaker and owner Dave Specter and his wife Sara began making kit wine in their basement in 2006 on their five-year wedding anniversary. Dave, a corporate tax attorney, fell in love with winemaking. He left his legal career in 2009 to work as an unpaid cellar rat to award-winning winemaker Joe Henke of Henke Winery in Cincinnati. Joe mentored Dave for three years, during which time Dave enrolled in the Washington State University online enology course, earning a certificate.”

“In 2011, Dave won two amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines in two months; a year later the Specters relocated to Newberg. Dave worked fall 2012 harvest under Bryan Weil, winemaker at Alexana in Dundee, and studied viticulture in 2013 in the Chemeketa Community College program. He also served as a member of the board of the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association.”

Dave continues the conversation on Bells Up Winery.

Our wine journalist colleague, Cori Solomon, the creator of the LA Wine Writers, was responsible for organizing this trip to the Mt. Hood Territory and Willamette Valley in Oregon. Read her article and tasting notes on visiting Bells Up Winery from her blog, The Written Palette.