Show 498, November 5, 2022: Jason Moore, Winemaker & Founding Partner, Modus Operandi Cellars, St. Helena, Napa Valley Part One

Jason Moore of Modus Operandi Cellars

Jason Moore is the winemaker and founding partner of Modus Operandi Cellars (2004) in the Napa Valley, a limited production boutique winery.

“For Jason wine is one of those things that to many people can incite a tremendous amount of feelings and emotions. Wine is enchanting and mysterious, gives joy, confuses, and inspires. In many cases, these complexities lead to a love which leads to a strong passion for wine. For Jason it lead to founding Modus Operandi Cellars.”

From Jason Moore –“I have to pinch myself almost daily as I am truly living my dream… the dream of being a Winemaker in California. Growing up in Dallas, Winemaker wasn’t exactly the most obvious career path that springs to mind, but at the age of 24 and after working as a waiter in several of the city’s finest restaurants, acquiring a love for all things wine, getting the go-ahead from my bride to be, and selling everything that we owned, we were off to California where, yes, I had the lofty aspiration of becoming a Winemaker.”

“Completely self-taught thru diligent self-study and the utilization of winemaking mentors, I knew that true learning when it comes to such a stylistically artistic, yet mind blowing organic and mystifying thing such as winemaking, can ONLY be accomplished through MAKING WINE. There is absolutely no substitute. I honed my craft in the garage of an elderly vineyard owner in Napa. He grew the grapes, I made the wine, and we split the product on bottling day.”

“In 2004 at the age of 26, I officially started my professional career by launching Modus Operandi Cellars with 200 cases of Napa Cabernet. I am so thankful to God that at such a young age I found my passion and am fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it as a career. I believe that winemaking is an art form that is supported by science, however a solid conceptual understanding of the science is also necessary.”

Three premium Modus Operandi Cellars tasting experiences are available including two St. Helena winery tastings and an interactive, at-home tasting.

Winemaker Jason Moore joins us to pull the cork on all that is Modus Operandi Cellars.

Show 497, October 29, 2022: Gleason Family Vineyards, Santa Ynez Valley with Callie Gleason & Winemaker Max Marshak Part One

Callie Gleason Bieszard of Gleason Family Vineyards

Gleason Family Vineyards (GFV) is the corporate umbrella for 3, separate, distinct wineries located in the Santa Ynez Valley under the leadership of two generations of the Gleason Family. Their Winemaker is Max Marshak. The properties are Roblar Winery & Vineyard, Refugio Ranch Vineyards, and their most recent acquisition, the historic Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard. Director of Marketing Callie Gleason and Winemaker Max Marshak join us to pull the cork on both Refugio Ranch Vineyards and Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard. in Solvang.

“Located at 2990 Grand Avenue and Hwy 154, Refugio Ranch is a 415-acre estate located in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA of California’s Central Coast. Within the property, covered largely by old oak trees, twenty- six select acres were mindfully planted and have been well cared for by the Gleason Family. Refugio Ranch represents a centuries-old history of cowboys and cattle ranching. The native land has been left largely untouched but for the vines that the land itself nurtures and readies for harvest. The Gleasons believe it is “terroir” or that sense of place, that gives a wine its soul.”

“The charming town of Los Olivos, CA was founded in the late 1800’s as the southern terminus of the Pacific Coast Railroad. Many historic buildings from that era still stand in Los Olivos today, including the present home of the Refugio Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room. The building was built circa 1912 as the warehouse for the Pinal-Dome Refining Co. (later Union Oil) where the tank cars from the railway were filled.”

“The Gleasons have taken great care to preserve the structure and spirit of this slice of history. The early 1900’s warehouse is now home to Refugio Ranch’s two tasting bars, a VIP lounge and an expansive outdoor deck ~ making it one of the largest tasting rooms in Los Olivos.” There is convenient on-site parking as well as accommodating restrooms.

“Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard (and Farm) is a small gem set amidst the splendor of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley. The farm is a shining example of the vision of its late founder, Betty Williams. Betty was always ahead of her time, and in the 60’s set out to create a working farm based on good practices for people, animals and the earth. First there were horses, then organic vegetables and finally, a vineyard.”

“Today, the 42-acre vineyard (now owned by Gleason Family Vineyards) stretches across a sun-drenched mesa on the eastern portion of the 106-acre property. Buttonwood started planting in 1983 and now have 38,000 vines, small in the world of wine, but huge to Buttonwood. The on-site tasting room is surrounded by other bounty from the farm, including olives, pomegranates, peonies, herbs, summer vegetables and of course, their famous peaches!” Adding a farm-focused, limited menu under the culinary direction of Executive Chef Peter Cham is on the immediate horizon.

Show 497, October 29, 2022: Gleason Family Vineyards, Santa Ynez Valley with Callie Gleason & Winemaker Max Marshak Part Two

Gleason Family Vineyards (GFV) is the corporate umbrella for 3, separate, distinct wineries located in the Santa Ynez Valley under the leadership of two generations of the Gleason Family. Their Winemaker is Max Marshak. The properties are Roblar Winery & Vineyard, Refugio Ranch Vineyards, and their most recent acquisition, the historic Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard. Director of Marketing Callie Gleason and Winemaker Max Marshak continue with us to pull the cork on both Refugio Ranch Vineyards it’s Tasting Room in Los Olivos and Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard.

“Located at 2990 Grand Avenue and Hwy 154, Refugio Ranch is a 415-acre estate located in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA of California’s Central Coast. Within the property, covered largely by old oak trees, twenty- six select acres were mindfully planted and have been well cared for by the Gleason Family. Refugio Ranch represents a centuries-old history of cowboys and cattle ranching. The native land has been left largely untouched but for the vines that the land itself nurtures and readies for harvest. The Gleasons believe it is “terroir” or that sense of place, that gives a wine its soul.”

“The charming town of Los Olivos, CA was founded in the late 1800’s as the southern terminus of the Pacific Coast Railroad. Many historic buildings from that era still stand in Los Olivos today, including the present home of the Refugio Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room. The building was built circa 1912 as the warehouse for the Pinal-Dome Refining Co. (later Union Oil) where the tank cars from the railway were filled.”

“The Gleasons have taken great care to preserve the structure and spirit of this slice of history.  The early 1900’s warehouse is now home to Refugio Ranch’s two tasting bars, a VIP lounge and an expansive outdoor deck ~ making it one of the largest tasting rooms in Los Olivos.” There is convenient on-site parking as well as accommodating restrooms.

“Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard (and Farm) is a small gem set amidst the splendor of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley. The farm is a shining example of the vision of its late founder, Betty Williams. Betty was always ahead of her time, and in the 60’s set out to create a working farm based on good practices for people, animals and the earth. First there were horses, then organic vegetables and finally, a vineyard.”

“Today, the 42-acre vineyard (now owned by Gleason Family Vineyards) stretches across a sun-drenched mesa on the eastern portion of the 106-acre property. Buttonwood started planting in 1983 and now have 38,000 vines, small in the world of wine, but huge to Buttonwood. The on-site tasting room is surrounded by other bounty from the farm, including olives, pomegranates, peonies, herbs, summer vegetables and of course, their famous peaches!” Adding a farm-focused, limited menu under the culinary direction of Executive Chef Peter Cham is on the immediate horizon.

Show 480, June 25, 2022: Iris Vineyards, Springfield, OR with Winemaker Aaron Lieberman and Carl Giavanti Part One

Aaron Lieberman of Iris Vineyards

Iris Vineyards perches in the iris-dotted hills at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley, an 870-acre, high-elevation preserve dedicated to the ancient Greek concept of areté – the tireless striving to achieve one’s fullest potential. Areté guides the proprietors Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye, and winemaker Aaron Lieberman to create fresh, fruit-forward wines that truly honor their source.”

“Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye spent several years searching for a site with the potential to create great Pinot Noir. In 1992, they found a property in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Mountain Range at the south end of the Willamette Valley. It had been clear-cut, exposing sloping hillsides, promising soils, and site’s immense potential for the Burgundian and Alsatian varietals Richard and Pamela loved most. Richard and Pamela committed to replanting 500 acres of the estate to Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine for timber harvesting, and to restoring a diverse forest habitat with multiple native tree and understory species represented.”

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joined Iris as the head of winemaking in 2008, and has spearheaded the winery’s significant quality advances over the last decade. Like Richard, Aaron has always approached his life and work with areté in mind – striving each day to improve and achieve the best possible result.”

“Iris Vineyards’ winemaking program empowers Aaron to apply areté in every aspect of the work. He describes himself as a shepherd, guiding rather than forcing nature in the direction he wants it to go. This work begins, of course, with growing the best possible grapes. Aaron collaborates with vineyard manager Nathan Sparrow to optimize the growth, health, and maturity of each block of the Chalice Vineyard estate. He also works closely with other Willamette Valley growers and Rogue Valley growers who produce the warm-climate varieties for some of Iris Vineyards’ wine club selections.”

“Aaron’s goal: bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity and low alcohol that honor their origins and deliver exceptional value.”

“Under the Iris Vineyards name, the winery produces a wide range of red, white, and rosé wines from the Chalice Vineyard, as well as from selected vineyards around the state. The Areté label represents the reserve, or premium level of wines – truly the best of the estate.” The Areté label also represents Iris Vineyards’ premium sparkling wine program all done in-house on the Estate.

Earlier this month Iris Vineyards opened a new Wine Bar in Downtown Springfield, Oregon on historic Main Street. Winemaker Aaron has created a selection of wine-based cocktails for the Wine Bar.

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joins us to pull the cork on all that is Iris Vineyards joined by Oregon-based wine marketing and public relations authority Carl Giavanti.

Show 480, June 25, 2022: Iris Vineyards, Springfield, OR with Winemaker Aaron Lieberman and Carl Giavanti Part Two

Aaron Lieberman of Iris Vineyards

“Areté (AIR-it-tay) is a concept with deep roots in ancient Greek mythology, literature and philosophy. In simple terms, it is the moral imperative to achieve your full potential – the obligation to strive every day to do better, and be the best you can be. At Iris Vineyards, areté means constant attention to their vineyard practices, the wine quality, and Iris’ hospitality.”

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joined Iris as the head of winemaking in 2008, and has spearheaded the winery’s significant quality advances over the last decade. Like Richard, Aaron has always approached his life and work with areté in mind – striving each day to improve and achieve the best possible result.”

“Iris Vineyards’ winemaking program empowers Aaron to apply areté in every aspect of the work. He describes himself as a shepherd, guiding rather than forcing nature in the direction he wants it to go. This work begins, of course, with growing the best possible grapes. Aaron collaborates with vineyard manager Nathan Sparrow to optimize the growth, health, and maturity of each block of the Chalice Vineyard estate. He also works closely with other Willamette Valley growers and Rogue Valley growers who produce the warm-climate varieties for some of Iris Vineyards’ wine club selections.”

“Aaron’s goal: bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity and low alcohol that honor their origins and deliver exceptional value.”

“Under the Iris Vineyards name, the winery produces a wide range of red, white, and rosé wines from the Chalice Vineyard, as well as from selected vineyards around the state. The Areté label represents the reserve, or premium level of wines – truly the best of the estate.” The Areté label also represents Iris Vineyards’ premium sparkling wine program all unusually done in-house on the Estate.

Earlier this month Iris Vineyards opened a new Wine Bar in Downtown Springfield, Oregon on historic Main Street. Winemaker Aaron has created a selection of wine-based cocktails for the Wine Bar.

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman continues with us to further pull the cork on all that is Iris Vineyards and also joined by Oregon-based wine marketing and public relations authority, Carl Giavanti.

Show 469, April 9, 2022: Winemaker Joshua Klapper, Founder, Timbre Winery, Arroyo Grande, CA

Joshua Klapper of Timbre Winery

Timbre Winery is a Santa Barbara County winery crafting balanced wines of distinction.” TIMBRE (pronounced TAM·ber or TIM·ber) is the “color” of music. It is what makes two voices sound different, even when singing the same song. It is why two winemakers, working with the same vineyards, make unique wine. As a terroir-driven winery, Timbre makes wines expressive of the places and times from which they came. As winemakers, they channel those sites through their experience, adding their own mark- their Timbre- to the resulting wines.” Founder and Winemaker Josh Klapper (a former restaurant Sommelier) is our guest to pull the cork on all that is Timbre Winery.

“Founded by Joshua Klapper, Timbre Winery is the culmination of years of hard work, and dedication to his craft. It is winemaking expressed through the universal language of musical sound.”

““Timbre Winery is committed to sustainable practices in its vineyard and product sourcing, as well as its production.” They are particularly known for their Pinot Noir but also produce a range of varietals and blends. Timbre also crafts a Hard Apple Cider.

Timbre has a new winery facility in San Luis Obispo and April marks the 5-Year Anniversary of Timbre’s Arroyo Grande Tasting Room.

Show 448, October 23, 2021: Dennis Murphy, Winemaker & Proprietor, Caprio Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington Part One

Dennis Murphy of Caprio Cellars

Caprio Cellars is a small producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc located in the heart of Walla Walla Valley, WA., one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world.”

“Winemaker/Owner Dennis Murphy purchased the land where Caprio Cellars stands in 2003. Previously wheat fields, Dennis set out to make it the site of his first vineyard. This dream came to fruition in 2005 when the first plantings went in. Dennis named this vineyard “Eleanor” in homage to his late grandmother Eleanor Caprio. The first harvest took place in 2008, and once the first wines were bottled, the operation was given the name Caprio Cellars. Inspired by Dennis’ Italian ancestors’ connection to wine as an essential part of daily life, Caprio Cellars aims to carry on the tradition of establishing a culture of wine like that of Dennis’ Italian heritage while also contributing to the emerging tradition of Walla Walla winemaking.”

“The team at Caprio Cellars believes in the transformative power of hospitality and a shared spirit of generosity. Their aim is to cultivate a wine culture that brings together fellowship, the senses, and discernment – creating a space for the social experience of sharing wine and learning how to appreciate it over time while always serving great food and wines in the European tradition.”

Proprietor Dennis Murphy joins us to uncork all that is Caprio Cellars.

Show 448, October 23, 2021: Dennis Murphy, Winemaker & Proprietor, Caprio Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington Part Two

Dennis Murphy of Caprio Cellars

Caprio Cellars is a small producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc located in the heart of Walla Walla Valley, WA., one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world.”

“Winemaker/Owner Dennis Murphy purchased the land where Caprio Cellars stands in 2003. Previously wheat fields, Dennis set out to make it the site of his first vineyard. This dream came to fruition in 2005 when the first plantings went in. Dennis named this vineyard “Eleanor” in homage to his late grandmother Eleanor Caprio. The first harvest took place in 2008, and once the first wines were bottled, the operation was given the name Caprio Cellars. Inspired by Dennis’ Italian ancestors’ connection to wine as an essential part of daily life, Caprio Cellars aims to carry on the tradition of establishing a culture of wine like that of Dennis’ Italian heritage while also contributing to the emerging tradition of Walla Walla winemaking.”

“Few Walla Walla wineries own estate vineyards. Caprio Cellars is one of them. The Caprio Estate is comprised of three sites: Eleanor’s, Octave and Sanitella. These sites are in the heart of the Walla Walla Valley and enjoy ideal sun exposure and vine-loving soil, yielding grapes of the highest quality and complexity for their estate wines. The Eleanor site consists of two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and one of Merlot. Octave’s 22-acre hillside vineyard was planted in 2007 and consists of 16 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, two acres of Merlot, two acres of Cabernet Franc, and one acre of Malbec. The newest, high elevation vineyard, Sanitella, in the SeVein, has Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.”

“Caprio Cellars is known in the Walla Walla Valley for their state-of-the-art tasting room and unparalleled hospitality. The entire Caprio team has a background in hospitality, and their ongoing commitment to the relational aspect of their business only adds to the experience of Caprio Cellars wines.”

“In addition to an always complimentary tasting fee, the Caprio Cellars Kitchen offers seasonally inspired plates to accompany every wine tasting. Executive Chef and Walla Walla local Ian Williams strives to source local, organic, and sustainable ingredients for every delicious plate. The Caprio Cellars Tasting Room is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. by reservation only. Caprio Cellars also hosts special events and regular winemaker dinners.”

Proprietor Dennis Murphy continues with us while enjoying a glass of his 2018 Eleanor Estate Red Blend.

Show 446, October 9, 2021: Dierberg Estate Vineyard and Star Lane Vineyard, Santa Barbara County Part Two

Chris King of Star Lane Vineyard

Dierberg Estate Vineyard and Star Lane Vineyard were founded in 1996. Owners Jim and Mary Dierberg started this project with the intent of creating World-Class wines from three different AVA’s in Santa Barbara County. They began by planting vineyards in both Santa Maria Valley and at the beautiful Star Lane Ranch in Happy Canyon. Finally, with the addition of the Drum Canyon Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, Jim and Mary were able to accomplish their goal of crafting unique, terroir-driven wines that capture the best of these three distinctive sites.”

“Under the Dierberg label, the focus is on the delicate and elegant Burgundian varietals; whereas, at Star Lane, the focus is on the more robust and powerful Bordeaux varieties. Their dedication to producing the highest quality wines can be seen from the care in the vineyards, through the winemaking process, to the wine in your glass!”

“The Dierberg’s and Star Lane Vineyards’ Tasting Room (by Appointment only) is located on their Sta. Rita Hills property, Drum Canyon Vineyard. Set towards the back of the property on Drum Canyon Road, the Tasting Room offers a flight of 5 wines featuring Dierberg • Star Lane wines for $25.”

“This tasting showcases the incredible diversity of their three estate vineyards located in Santa Barbara County. The unique climates of each of the three vineyards allows Dierberg & Star Lane to produce: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah.”

“Star Lane Vineyard itself is a Private Estate and is available for privately hosted tours and tastings by appointment only. The curated Estate Tour and Tasting Experience showcases the splendor of the Santa Ynez Valley and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the magic and beauty of the Star Lane Vineyard, Winery & Caves. The 120-minute signature journey begins with a tour of Dierberg’s expansive wine-making facility where guests will experience awe-inspiring views of one of Santa Barbara County’s most historic private ranches.”

Dierberg Estate Vineyard’s and Star Lane Vineyard’s Hospitality Director, Chris King, continues with us to uncork all that is Star Lane Vineyard and Dierberg Estate Vineyard.

Show 445, October 2, 2021: Chef and Winemaker Frank Ostini, Hitching Post 2 and Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines Part One

Frank Ostini of Hitching Post II

Buellton’s celebrated Chef and Winemaker Frank Ostini is the grill master at Hitching Post 2 Restaurant and the Co-Winemaker at Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines (with Gray Hartley.) We’re talking Santa Barbara County wine and classic Santa Maria BBQ with Chef Frank Ostini.

“On the Central Coast of California BBQ has always meant grilling over an open fire of red oak, a style of cooking that is native to the area and goes back to the days of the Spanish Rancheros. By combining the old and the new, Hitching Post 2 has created an exciting cuisine with outstanding steaks, ribs and chicken, along with fresh fish and seafood and vegetarian options. They also create their own (world class) wines, Hartley – Ostini Hitching Post Wines, for sale and enjoyment in the restaurant and to the wider public.”

“Hitching Post Wines strives to create flavorful handcrafted wines that possess poise and balance, putting a slice of Santa Barbara in each glass, and a piece of their soul in every bottle of Hitching Post. The spacious Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room is located adjacent to Hitching Post 2 restaurant on Highway 246 and has ample parking.”

The Traditional Tasting at Hitching Post Wines priced at $15 per guest offers a flight of five Hitching Post Wines consisting of Pinks 2017; Hometown Pinot Noir 2016; Cork Dancer Pinot Noir 2015; Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2015; and Gen Red 2016.

A Reserve Tasting, priced at $20, includes five wines – Highliner Pinot Noir 2015; Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2015; Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2015; Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 2015; and Four Top 2012. The caveat of the Reserve Tasting will be its ever-changing menu featuring rare single-vineyard bottlings and special older vintages of Hitching Post.

“Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room would not be complete without the added flavor of Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings to enjoy while tasting. Classic crowd-pleasing favorites served from the restaurant for Lunch (mid to late afternoon menu of appetizers & snacks, too) include HP Burgers; Triple-Fried French Fries; Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes; and Grilled Corn Quesadillas.”

Chef Frank also remembers acclaimed Santa Barbara County Winemaker Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat who unexpectedly passed away earlier this year.

The Restaurant and Tasting Room are open Wednesday through Sunday. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.