Show 441, September 4, 2021: Winemaker and Chef Pietro Buttitta, Prima Materia, Lake County, CA Part Two

Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia

Winemaker Pietro Buttitta of Prima Materia makes American-Italian wines from his 12-acre vineyard in Lake County, CA. His is a quest to not just get it right, but simply to get to making good, balanced wines. In his effort, he knows he’s up against perceptions borne 20 years ago about Italian varietals made in California. His is, fortunately, not those wines.”

“Prima Materia doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides, and they naturally craft unfined and unfiltered wines using traditional methods that produce ageable bottles that respect classical styles interpreted through their vineyard.”

“Prima Materia is the product of two decades spent working in vineyards, wineries, and cooking in restaurant kitchens that ranged from Michelin starred to hamburger (and fried chicken) consulting. This culinary background is part of the winemaking approach, and every bottle hopes to capture a distinctive, Old-World inflected voice in harmony with California’s vast and evolving wine history.”

“The wines are crafted in small batches of two to ten barrels each, producing 1,200 to 1,500 cases per year. The winemaking and grape-growing are intensively hands-on, using stems and time, gravity and buckets, rather than fancy, impersonal machinery or mechanized processes. Prima Materia’s wines are unsulfured for much of their lives, allowing them to evolve as living things and new oak is rarely used. The wines are unfined, unfiltered, hand harvested, and hand bottled, and they are clean, stable and ready for long aging.”

Prima Materia’s main tasting room is located at 49th & Telegraph Avenue in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, Ca., and you can also try the wines at Riggers Loft in Richmond, California.

Pietro Buttitta pours a glass of his 2017 Estate Bottled Sangiovese (Kelsey Bench) and continues with us.


Show 386, August 15, 2020: Awen Winecraft with Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood Part Two

Tom Homewood and Sean Hopkins of Awen WinecraftAwen Winecraft officially started commercially in 2016 by winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood. They had been producing small lots of hand-crafted hobby wine for over a decade, starting in California focusing primarily on red wines. After many years of honing their winemaking skills producing 4 to 16 Barrels per year, Sean and Tom decided it was time to try to make a business of their passion. Sean moved to Southern Oregon in the summer of 2011 and began experimenting with the Rogue and Applegate AVA grapes, again, exclusively focused on red wines in the region, which offers an abundance of red wine grapes that they previously hadn’t used. They moved on to white wines in 2013, and worked on creating both 100% varietals as well as blends.”

“Finally, after commuting up from the Bay Area roughly 30 times for winemaking duties, Tom packed up his family and made Southern Oregon his home in the summer of 2016 to help start Awen Winecraft.”

“Awen” is a celtic/druidic symbol describing the spark of creativity or divine inspiration or illumination.

“Working with Herb Quady, Brian Gruber, and Nichole Schulte at Barrel 42, we are bridging the gap from Hobbyist to professional, and are appreciative of their mentorship. We also appreciate all of the efforts of both the master growers that we work with, as well as the help and feedback we have received from other winemakers.”

Proprietors and Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood continue the fruit-forward conversation with us about Southern Oregon’s Awen Winecraft. Sean and Tom describe their noteworthy 2018 Albarino with an Applegate Valley AVA and their 2017 Sangiovese from the Rogue Valley.


Show 231, July 8, 2017: Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange, Travels in Tuscany

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeOur favorite wandering global wine merchant, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, is just back from Italy. He joins us to profile the 2015 vintage in Tuscany (central Italy.) He’s genuinely excited…

Think Sangiovese, Bordeaux varietals, good value and the joy of traveling in and around Florence / Sienna…


Show 161, February 27, 2016: Craig Larson, Winemaker, Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Andrew Gruel of Slapfish and Graig Larson of Callaway Vineyard and Winery at the Pechanga Wine FestivalTemecula’s historic Callaway Vineyards & Winery has come a long way since it returned to local ownership in 2005. Callaway is recognized as the first winery in the Temecula Valley. Case production on the planted 70-acre vineyard estate is now a more modest 13,000 cases a year. It’s all sold from the renovated winery tasting room (with magnificent vineyard views), online, and via their loyal wine club.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery currently grows seven different varietals. The winery property now has 20 acres of Estate vineyards planted with Viognier, Syrah, Dolcetto, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Grenache, Roussanne, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The Lin family owns an additional 200 acres of property at the corner of De Portola Road and Monte de Oro, of which approximately 50 acres are currently planted with Chardonnay, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Muscat Canelli and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Craig Larson has been the distinguished Winemaker there for the last eight years. We’ll meet him.


Show 92, October 11, 2014: Vince Ferragamo, Winemaker & Certified Sommelier

Vince FerragamoSouthern Californians fondly remember Vince Ferragamo as the popular former quarterback of the L.A. Rams. What you probably don’t know is that Vince is a gentleman wine-maker in Orange County and a certified sommelier. He grows Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes on property in Orange Park Acres.

He produces about 50 cases a year.

He’s also been a judge at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition in Pomona. This is part of the Los Angeles County Fair.

Ferragamo’s personal cellar (with a step down) is some 2000 bottles. Not surprisingly he favors Italian wines.

Vince also commented on the rumors of The Rams’ possible return to Los Angeles.