Show 267, March 31, 2018: Winemaker Stuart Spencer, Program Manager, Lodi Winegrape Commission

Stuart SpencerNestled between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies Lodi Wine Country, a region fast becoming one of California’s true wine stars. Lodi Wine Country offers a rural atmosphere and relaxed pace for you to enjoy its beautiful vineyards and premium wines.

Lodi is predominately a red winegrowing region, with approximately two-thirds of the acreage dedicated to red varieties. Lodi is home to all of California’s leading varieties, and has long been the leading producer and California’s best kept secret for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. However, with over 100 varieties now in production, Lodi offers a vast portfolio of diverse and interesting wines.

“The most obvious distinction that sets Lodi apart is our treasure trove of own-rooted old vineyards. There are literally hundreds of these old blocks throughout the region that, in many cases, have yet to be discovered or had the opportunity to truly express their real character.” –Stuart Spencer

Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World producing over 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel. Journalists and wine enthusiasts alike have long recognized Lodi as the home of highly acclaimed Old Vine Zinfandels, with some plantings dating back to 1888. These vines, many of which are still planted on their own roots, are naturally low-yielding due to their age and consistently produce high quality fruit. Although expensive to maintain, Lodi winegrowers are committed to continuing this California heritage.

Winemaker Stuart Spencer of Lodi’s St. Amant Winery and also the Program Manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission pulls the cork for us.


Show 150, December 12, 2015: Ray Magnussen, Lechuza Winery, Guadalupe Valley, Baja

Ray Magnussen One of the promising, up-and-coming wineries in the Guadalupe Valley in Northern Baja is Lechuza, founded in 2005. It’s owned by Ray Magnussen (with his wife, Patty) who is also the hands-on winemaker. They are Americans.

“Lechuza” is Spanish for “burrowing ground owl.” This bird frequents the Lechuza vineyard property. The modest vineyard estate is adjacent to Laja, one of the most well-reviewed restaurants in Baja, California.

Lechuza currently offers Lechuza Amantes (Blend), Lechuza Cabernet Sauvignon, Lechuza Nebbiolo, Lerchuza Merlot, Lechuza Tempranillo and Lechuza Grenache Rose. The Amantes is also affectionately known at the winery as “The Wedding Blend.” When the Magnussen’s daughter was married she chose the Amanates to serve at the reception.

The winery and tasting room at Lechuza is open to visitors by appointment. The Magnussen’s particularly look forward to welcoming American guests.

Other restaurants in the Valley that the Magnussen’s recommend are Deckman’s En El Mogor, Finca Altozano and Hacienda Guadalupe.

Their wines are conveniently available on-line via their San Diego-based distributor

We’ll meet Ray.


Show 140, October 3, 2015: Quady North (Winery) and Herb Quady

Herb QuadyAndrew Quady of Quady Winery in Madera is well-known for premium dessert wines and Vermouth. Not as well known to Southern Californians is that Andrew’s son, Herb, has a growing, and respected, winery of his own in Southern Oregon.

Quady North is the name of Herb’s Applegate Valley wine venture. While the senior Quady is a producer renowned for sweet and aperitif wines, Quady North is known for big, bold Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.

After working as assistant winemaker at the California Central Coast Bonny Doon Vineyard, Quady came to Oregon to found his own brand, convinced that the truly-compelling wines were made from grapes grown in cooler areas. In 2005 the family selected 100 acres of south-facing hillside in the Applegate Valley and planted their first 15 acres of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Viognier.

Today there are eight vineyards, with two in the Rogue Valley, and the list of varietals has expanded to include Grenache, Marsanne, Rousanne, and Merlot.

Quady North is committed to producing small lot, minimally-handled wines sourced primarily from the estate. The focus remains premium Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, what Herb Quady calls his “love triangle.”

Having grown up in Central California, Herb appreciates the cult status of our own, California grown, In–N-Out Burger. The first Oregon location opened in Medford a couple of weeks also and the response was thunderous. It’s remains the talk of the town. There are still lines of cars around the drive-through.

We asked Herb Quady what the perfect Quady North wine pairing would be with a Double-Double with cheese. Without hesitation he enthusiastically suggested their 2011 Syrah, Mae’s Vineyard.


Show 111, February 21, 2015: Artisan Uprising winery, Paso Robles

David and William Vondrasek Specializing in very limited production, ultra premium wines grown in Paso Robles, California, Artisan Uprising was created by brothers David and William Vondrasek after years of making wines solely for their family.

“Originally inspired to try out what we had learned from our grandfather and our (Italian) heritage of making wine each year, we found ourselves making more than the family could drink. Now that we make enough to share, we have held true to our process and mindset of how our wine should be made.”

“This is handcrafted wine two people can make. Unfiltered and un-stripped, our wines present some sediment in the bottle that we believe enhances the overall texture and ability for the wines to develop and age for years to come. Our wines are unique, they are what we like, and while quality of this scale has a broad appeal, it cannot be mass-produced, It is a true Artisan product.”

Current releases (very limited) are a Rose of Merlot, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Sirah. The wines are on the list at the glowingly-reviewed Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake.

Artisan Uprising wines (current releases) were sampled recently at a special luncheon event of the L.A. Wine Writers at Hotel Angeleno in Brentwood. Their hands-on, executive chef, Laura Scollan (West) created the inspired food pairings. For example the 2014 Rose of Merlot was matched with a Cider-Glazed Scallop with rainbow cauliflower and truffled parsnip puree.

Current releases (very limited) are a Rose of Merlot, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Sirah.

We are joined by the Vondrasek Brothers.


Show 5: November 3, 2012: Tom Leahy of OneHope Wines Part One

Tom Leahy, the President of ONEHOPE Wine Co., was in-studio to tell their incredible story of cause marketing. They donate an impressive 50 per cent of their profits to worthy charities. They will sell some 44,000 cases of premium wine this year via their website, retail, and in better restaurants.

Folio Wine Partners (a division of Michael Mondavi Family Estates) produces their portfolio of fine wines in concert with ONEHOPE. Michael’s son, Rob Mondavi, Jr., is the esteemed winemaker. Rob is the grandson of pioneering California winemaker Robert Mondavi.

The current wine portfolio, all proprietary blends, includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir Reserve.