Show 421, April 17, 2021: Winemaker Michael Brughelli, Folded Hills Winery, Ranch & Farmstead Part One

Michael Brughelli of Folded Hills Winery

“In 2017, Andy and Kim Busch started a business in their 50’s which they knew nothing about. Andy, coming from a long line of beer barons, had worked not in the beverage business but rather at Grant’s Farm, the original prototype for the Busch Gardens parks started by his father, Gussie. Folded Hills Winery, Farmstead, Ranch focuses on top notch wine making rather than beer.”

“The Busch’s own Folded Hills, a working ranch, an integrated sustainable farm is located just outside of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. When they purchased a contiguous piece of farming property they learned that the original farmsteader had planted a pre-prohibition vineyard and made wine in the basement of his farmhouse.”

“The Busches had purchased the property to keep the land agricultural in general and organic in particular and in 2014 decided to start farming organic grapes alongside the 18 acres of organic row crops, stone fruits, and animals.”

“As they were deciding what grape varietals to plant everyone told them to “plant what they love to drink”. Andy loves beer – that was no help- although they do have a small patch of hops growing. Kim loved Pinot Noir but the terroir would not grow a quality Pinot. They settled on the Rhône varietals which they knew absolutely nothing about. Now the hillsides are rolling with grape vines of syrah, grenache, Clairette blanc, grenache blanc and marsanne.”

Handsomely appointed Tasting Rooms are located at the vineyard estate in Gaviota and on Old Coast Highway in Montecito. For the guests’ convenience and safety advance appointments are suggested.

Winemaker Michael Brughelli is our guest and gently pull the cork on the unusual story of Folded Hills Winery for us.

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

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.”

“Every growing season, our winemaking team works to determine the optimum timing for the harvest of each block. After hand harvesting, grapes are brought to the winery for destemming and table sorting. During this process each lot is carefully studied, taking into consideration parameters such as fruit integrity, clonal characteristics and soil profile, before proceeding with fermentation. Each block and clone combination is kept separate throughout the winemaking process, enabling us to develop an intimate knowledge of how they respond to specific barrels in our cellar. These individual lots form the basis of a complex flavor palette from which final blending decisions are made by our team.”

“To ensure our loyal customers access to these limited-production wines, we have created The List. Simple and fair, The List is an uncomplicated allocation system offering members the opportunity to purchase our wines. Although production of Sea Smoke is limited and they can be difficult to find, joining The List guarantees your allocation. Unlike wine clubs, there is absolutely no purchase commitment and no cost to join.” The supply of Sea Smoke wines is naturally limited because it’s all estate fruit. No outside fruit is ever purchased to increase capacity.

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 pops the cork on 2015 Sea Smoke “Sea Spray” Blanc de Noirs, pours a celebratory toast and rejoins for us.

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Show 415, March 6, 2021: Belden Barns Winery and Farmstead with Nate and Lauren Belden Part One

Lauren and Nate Belden

“Perched atop Sonoma Mountain, Belden Barns celebrates the totality of farmstead agriculture with a surprising range of exceptional, cool-climate estate bottlings for such a boutique property.  In addition to delicious, terroir-driven wines, they rely on resident farmers Vince and Jenny Trotter for their sustainably grown estate fruit and produce.” 

“Tastings normally take place in a charming old barn — a throwback to an earlier time in Sonoma County farm life. (Currently, all tastings are conducted outside due to COVID 19 restrictions).  Visitors to the (kid-friendly) winery are encouraged to meander around the vines or head downhill to the orchards/produce where they can also hang a wish on the “wishing tree.””

Belden Barns has a program of Spring Virtual Tastings including the launch of their Apple Cider. Nate and Lauren also offer custom virtual tastings for special friends and family celebrations and business gatherings.

“Belden Barns was recently voted one of USA Today’s Top Ten Winery Tours.  Proprietors Nate and Lauren Belden are an amiable couple and their wines (including some highly regarded Pinots, Sparkling Wine, Grenache and what may be the only commercially available Gruner Veltliner in Sonoma County, among other bottlings) are noteworthy.”

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Show 415, March 6, 2021: Belden Barns Winery and Farmstead with Nate and Lauren Belden Part Two

Lauren and Nate Belden

“Perched atop Sonoma Mountain, Belden Barns celebrates the totality of farmstead agriculture with a surprising range of exceptional, cool-climate estate bottlings for such a boutique property.  In addition to delicious, terroir-driven wines, they rely on resident farmers Vince and Jenny Trotter for their sustainably grown estate fruit and produce.” 

“Tastings normally take place in a charming old barn — a throwback to an earlier time in Sonoma County farm life. (Currently, all tastings are conducted outside due to COVID 19 restrictions).  Visitors to the (kid-friendly) winery are encouraged to meander around the vines or head downhill to the orchards/produce where they can also hang a wish on the “wishing tree.””

Belden Barns has a diverse program of Spring Virtual Tastings including the launch of their Apple Cider. Nate and Lauren also offer customizable virtual tastings for special friends and family celebrations and business gatherings.

“Belden Barns was recently voted one of USA Today’s Top Ten Winery Tours.  Proprietors Nate and Lauren Belden are an amiable couple and their wines (including some highly regarded Pinots, Sparkling Wine, Grenache and what may be the only commercially available Gruner Veltliner in Sonoma County, among other bottlings) are noteworthy.”

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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 401, November 28, 2020: Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker, Joseph Jewell Wines, Forestville Part One

Adrain Jewell Manspeaker of Joseph Jewell Wines“From a small garagiste operation Joseph Jewell Wines, under the direction of Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker, has morphed into one of Humboldt & Sonoma County’s leading Pinot Noir producers. Joseph Jewell began in 2006 with two barrels of wine. Today, they make roughly 15% of the total wine production from Humboldt County’s 150 acres of vineyards. The wines produced three 90-plus scores and their history is just starting to be written.”

Joseph Jewell Wines sources exceptional fruit from independently owned vineyard properties in Sonoma and Humboldt counties, selecting sites with unique soil profiles and weather conditions. As part of their commitment to the future, they seek out growers who implement sustainable farming practices. Working closely with the property owners throughout the year allows Joseph Jewell to monitor the grapes’ progress and cultivate fruit that delivers the distinctive character of the site. Their goal is a finished wine that celebrates the singularity of the vineyard from which it came—the optimal expression of place captured vintage after vintage.”

Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker artfully pulls the cork on Joseph Jewell Wines for us.

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Show 401, November 28, 2020: Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker, Joseph Jewell Wines, Forestville Part Two

Adrain Jewell Manspeaker of Joseph Jewell Wines“From a small garagiste operation Joseph Jewell Wines, under the direction of Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker, has morphed into one of Humboldt & Sonoma County’s leading Pinot Noir producers. Joseph Jewell began in 2006 with two barrels of wine. Today, they make roughly 15% of the total wine production from Humboldt County’s 150 acres of vineyards. The wines produced three 90-plus scores and their history is just starting to be written.”

Joseph Jewell Wines sources exceptional fruit from independently owned vineyard properties in Sonoma and Humboldt counties, selecting sites with unique soil profiles and weather conditions. As part of their commitment to the future, they seek out growers who implement sustainable farming practices. Working closely with the property owners throughout the year allows Joseph Jewell to monitor the grapes’ progress and cultivate fruit that delivers the distinctive character of the site. Their goal is a finished wine that celebrates the singularity of the vineyard from which it came—the optimal expression of place captured vintage after vintage.”

Outdoor wine tasting (under the current regulations) is available at the Forestville Tasting Room. The tasting can also be enjoyed at the nearby “home” vineyard, Starscape Vineyard. Also a vineyard picnic and tasting option are available.

Winemaker & Proprietor Adrian Manspeaker continues with us and artfully pulls the cork on Joseph Jewell 2018 Pinot Noir, Alderpoint Vineyard.

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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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