Show 572, April 6, 2024: Gary Eberle, Patriarch of Eberle Winery, Paso Robles Part One

Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery

“Affectionately known as the “Godfather” of the Paso Robles wine region, Gary Eberle’s contributions to the California and U.S. wine trade are significant. Eberle was the first to place the Paso Robles AVA designation on the Eberle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon label and he subsequently co-founded the distinctive Paso Robles terroir as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 1983. With a staunch commitment to the possibility of age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, Eberle was also the first to plant Syrah on the Central Coast and make a 100 percent Syrah varietal wine in the United States. As chief promoter for his brand, Eberle has worked relentlessly for almost 50 years building awareness of the Paso Robles and California wines through his passionate promotion to consumers, media and trade across the country. These milestones have proven to be significant as Paso Robles has become a respected force in the wine industry.” Gary Eberle joins us to uncork all that is Eberle Winery.

“Eberle began his academic studies at Penn State University where he played football and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He then attended Louisiana State University before heading west to California where he completed his coursework for a PhD in enology and viticulture from U.C. Davis in 1973. “I chose Paso Robles based on Dr. Olmo’s recommendation that Paso Robles was the place to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon,” said Eberle. “I think we’ve achieved that,” he added.””

“Once in Paso Robles, Eberle launched his career as partner and winemaker with Estrella River Winery & Vineyards. In the late 70s, he decided to pursue his own project and acquired nearly 64 acres just down the road from Estrella River Winery. Shortly thereafter, Gary released his first Eberle wine, the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon and opened the winery and tasting room in 1983.”

“Eberle Winery has showcased the history and diversity of the Paso Robles Appellation since 1979. Eberle Winery continues to be family owned and operated.  With an annual case production of 26,000, Eberle wines are distributed in 34 states and six countries. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with wine tasting and cave tours. 805-238-9607.”

Another attribute of Gary Eberle over his long tenure in Paso Robles is that his mission was to promote Paso Robles as a destination region for producing premium wines. Promoting the Eberle Winery was always secondary. Gary attributes this to another lesson learned from pioneering California winemaker Robert Mondavi. “Mr. Mondavi” (as Gary always deferentially refers to the late Robert Mondavi as) in his travels always promoted Napa Valley first as the locale for premium wines before pitching the Robert Mondavi Winery itself.

Show 572, April 6, 2024: Gary Eberle, Patriarch of Eberle Winery, Paso Robles Part Two

Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery

Affectionately known as the “Godfather” of the Paso Robles wine region, Gary Eberle’s contributions to the California and U.S. wine trade are significant. Eberle was the first to place the Paso Robles AVA designation on the Eberle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon label and he subsequently co-founded the distinctive Paso Robles terroir as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 1983. With a staunch commitment to the possibility of age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, Eberle was also the first to plant Syrah on the Central Coast and make a 100 percent Syrah varietal wine in the United States. As chief promoter for his brand, Eberle has worked relentlessly for almost 50 years building awareness of the Paso Robles and California wines through his passionate promotion to consumers, media and trade across the country. These milestones have proven to be significant as Paso Robles has become a respected force in the wine industry.” Gary Eberle continuers with us to uncork all that is Eberle Winery.

“Eberle began his academic studies at Penn State University where he played football and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He then attended Louisiana State University before heading west to California where he completed his coursework for a PhD in enology and viticulture from U.C. Davis in 1973. “I chose Paso Robles based on Dr. Olmo’s recommendation that Paso Robles was the place to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon,” said Eberle. “I think we’ve achieved that,” he added.””

“Once in Paso Robles, Eberle launched his career as partner and winemaker with Estrella River Winery & Vineyards. In the late 70s, he decided to pursue his own project and acquired nearly 64 acres just down the road from Estrella River Winery. Shortly thereafter, Gary released his first Eberle wine, the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon and opened the winery and tasting room in 1983.”

“Eberle Winery has showcased the history and diversity of the Paso Robles Appellation since 1979. Eberle Winery continues to be family owned and operated.  With an annual case production of 26,000, Eberle wines are distributed in 34 states and six countries. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with wine tasting and cave tours. 805-238-9607.”

Another attribute of Gary Eberle over his long tenure in Paso Robles is that his mission was to promote Paso Robles as a destination region for producing premium wines. Promoting the Eberle Winery was always secondary. Gary attributes this to another lesson learned from pioneering California winemaker Robert Mondavi. “Mr. Mondavi” (as Gary always deferentially refers to the late Robert Mondavi as) in his travels always promoted Napa Valley first as the locale for premium wines before pitching the Robert Mondavi Winery itself.

Show 562, January 27, 2024: Winemaker Paul Warson, Warson Wine Co., Santa Barbara County

Paul Warson of Warson Wine Company

“Winemaker Paul Warson of Warson Wine Co. grew up in Los Angeles, attended UC Davis where he eventually studied Fermentation Science. Before his final year he worked at a sparkling winery in Carneros when he decided he would spend his career doing what he did for his summer vacation. Upon completion of his degree, he was invited back to see, “the other side of things.””

“Feeling he needed a change of perspective, Paul traveled to Australia, where he lived and worked for six months. With the change in varietals, climate, and overall attitude to winemaking, Paul discovered a different approach to the craft he studied and trained in for so long. Desiring to seek outside perspectives to winemaking, when Paul returned to California, he worked at Chateau Potelle, back when it was owned by both Jean-Noel and Marketta Fourmeaux and sat atop Mount Veeder. It was here Paul integrated his schooling, his experience from Australia, along with what he learned from the owners: that with each wine that is created, the winemaker has an intimate commitment to both the wine and the consumer, to craft wines that are distinctive and true to their place.”

“After working an additional nine years in Napa Valley, a conversation with Bill Foley brought Paul to Firestone Vineyard, in the Santa Ynez Valley, where he was winemaker and General Manager for nine years. By this time, estate vineyards had become Paul’s specialty, and he was able to elevate all of the tiers for each winery he worked for.”

Warson Wine Company started as a need Paul felt he had to fulfill. An inner call, to again make wine on his terms, for people to enjoy, but now with the fruit he chooses.” At present Paul is primarily sourcing fruit from familiar, esteemed vineyards in Santa Barbara County.

Paul has a special, limited time offer for listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” When you go to Warson Wine Co. and order wine when you get to the payment area type in “830AM” in the discount/offer code box for a 15 % discount! Nice…

Paul Warson joins us to uncork all that is Warson Wine Co.

Show 525, May 13, 2023: Larry Schaffer, Winemaker and Proprietor, tercero wines, Los Olivos, CA Part One

Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines

Larry Schaffer the founder and winemaker of tercero wines went back to school later in life to pursue his passion, taking classes at community colleges with kids who literally could have been his kids, and then received his MS in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis. He moved to the Santa Barbara County wine region, and that is where he has remained since 2005, starting on the winemaking team at Fess Parker Winery and then eventually branching off to start and run tercero wines.”

“Larry is especially adept not only at winemaking but at explaining the process in a very user-friendly manner. He’s also a serious and accomplished home bread baker. Visit his tasting room in Los Olivos or follow him on social media to see for yourself.”

“tercero wines concentrates on small lot, hand crafted wines using grapes exclusively from leading Santa Barbara County vineyards and works with grapes from nearly every AVA within the county. Though his main concentration is working with Rhone varieties, Larry remains curious and therefore also works with Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, and a few other fun and interesting grapes. And therein lies the beauty (and diversity) of Santa Barbara County.”

“Larry’s winemaking philosophy is still evolving, and the more vintages under his belt, the more he understands the variables at play. He also understands that a pragmatic approach is necessary to work with the unique dynamics of each and every vintage.”

“When you become a member of the tercero wines wine club, you ‘join the journey’ that Larry has been undertaking for nearly two decades. He continues to be more curious than ever, and the variety of wines produced and offered is greater than ever as well! Larry values his wine club members and treats them as his ‘best’ customers – because they are!”

Winemaker Larry Schaffer joins us to gently pull the cork on all that is tercero wines.

Show 525, May 13, 2023: Larry Schaffer, Winemaker and Proprietor, tercero wines, Los Olivos, CA Part Two

Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines

Larry Schaffer the founder and winemaker of tercero wines went back to school later in life to pursue his passion, taking classes at community colleges with kids who literally could have been his kids, and then received his MS in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis. He moved to the Santa Barbara County wine region, and that is where he has remained since 2005, starting on the winemaking team at Fess Parker Winery and then eventually branching off to start and run tercero wines.”

“Larry is especially adept not only at winemaking but at explaining the process in a very user-friendly manner. He’s also a serious and accomplished home bread baker. Visit his tasting room in Los Olivos or follow him on social media to see for yourself.”

“tercero wines concentrates on small lot, hand crafted wines using grapes exclusively from leading Santa Barbara County vineyards and works with grapes from nearly every AVA within the county. Though his main concentration is working with Rhone varieties, Larry remains curious and therefore also works with Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, and a few other fun and interesting grapes. And therein lies the beauty (and diversity) of Santa Barbara County.”

Winemaker Larry Schaffer continues with us to further gently pull the cork on all that is tercero wines.

Show 428, June 5, 2021: Stuart Smith, Founder, Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley

Stuart Smith of Smith Madrone Winery

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery located on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. Smith-Madrone celebrated their 50th Anniversary on May 14th. The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.”

“In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the ‘terroir’ which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master’s in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa.”

Charles Smith (Stuart’s brother) joined the Winery in 1972 as Winemaker. Stuart’s son, Sam, became part of the leadership team in 2010 as Assistant Winemaker.

“Smith-Madrone’s current releases are the 2017 Chardonnay, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Riesling, 2016 Cook’s Flat Reserve and in very limited availability, magnums of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cook’s Flat Reserve.”

“As part of Smith-Madrone’s anniversary festivities they are inaugurating on Saturday, June 19th a regular series of informative and entertaining Zoom tastings and discussions with the winemakers. Stuart, his brother, Winemaker Charles Smith, and Stuart’s son, Sam, the Assistant Winemaker, will open older vintages and taste and discuss them with the Zoom attendees.” Sign-up via the Smith-Madrone website.

Founder Stuart Smith is our guest to gently pull the cork on Smith-Madrone for us.

Show 305, January 5, 2019: Winemaker Eric Hamacher, Hamacher Wines, Beaverton, Oregon

Eric HamacherEric Hamacher set forth as a winemaking gypsy after earning his viticulture and enology degree from UC Davis in 1988. Eric has since created stunning wines for more than 35 vintages at multiple wineries around the world. After leaving Napa in 1995, Eric headed North to the “Promise Land” of Pinot Noir and founded his eponymous winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

After pushing for several years and finally succeeding to change Oregon state law to enable multiple winery licensing in one facility, Eric with his wife, Luisa Ponzi (Ponzi Vineyards) and partners Ned and Kristen Lumpkin, co-founded The Carlton Winemakers Studio in 2002. The Studio was the first of its kind and operated as a multi-winery facility designed to enable small, high-end wineries and boutique, artisanal producers to share space and expertise.

With the bountiful 2014 harvest and the seams stretching at the studio, Eric moved himself out. With the “Reopening” of Hamacher Wines at the original Ponzi Historical Estate, Eric was able to launch his first tasting room dedicated to showcasing his wines directly to appreciative wine lovers.

Today, Eric’s production of artisan Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Hamacher Wines is just shy of 2,000 cases annually, possibly Oregon’s slowest growing winery.

Eric is with us to pull the cork on the Hamacher and H Wines varietals of Hamacher Wines.

 

Show 191, October 1, 2016: James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program recipient, Holland Dougherty

Holland DoughertyIn August the James Beard Foundation announced the ten inaugural recipients of the JBF National Scholars Program. We’ll meet the West recipient of the National Scholars Program, Holland Dougherty, who is at University of California, Davis. She is a PhD Candidate in the Sustainable Agricultural Modeling Lab.

“We are proud that our Foundation’s newest scholarship program is committed to awarding $20,000 in financial aid to ten extraordinary scholars each year. A desire to pursue a career in the culinary arts is no longer limited to cooking in the kitchen,” said Kris Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “Just as the types of careers available in the culinary arts have evolved, so too is the Foundation’s scholarship program. The National Scholars Program supports a diverse group of students exploring virtually every educational discipline, whether that be history, anthropology, economics, management, or the sciences—as viewed through the lens of food.”

This year, and in each subsequent year, up to ten annual scholarships in the amount of $20,000 each will be granted. To ensure regional diversity, one awardee is selected from each of the ten geographic regions defined by the James Beard Foundation Awards.

The JBF National Scholars Program is a part of the larger James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program, which is awarding more than $750,000 in financial aid available in 2016, the largest annual total in the Foundation’s history.

Established in 1991, the scholarship program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college, or university. In the past 25 years, the program has not only grown in visibility and financial scope, but in the breadth of subjects its recipients have embraced. As of 2016, the Foundation will have awarded over $6.5 million in financial aid to more than 1,800 recipients.

Show 163, March 12, 2016: Winemaker Tim Bell, Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg

Tim Bell of Dry Creek Vineyard“The history of Dry Creek Vineyard is a long and colorful one. Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard paved the way for a renaissance of winemaking and viticulture in the Dry Creek Valley. Before his arrival, the Dry Creek Valley was little more than a few family farms and prune orchards. It was Dave’s vision to start a Loire Valley inspired winery, which triggered a viticultural reawakening in northern Sonoma County.

Without a doubt, David Stare is a pioneer. Heading west in the late 1960s, he personified the character and work ethic of early Gold Rush pioneers. Inspired by his trips to the Loire Valley, he headed west to California to start his own family winery.

Upon his arrival, Dave began taking winemaking classes at UC Davis as a graduate student. On the weekends, he spent time looking at vineyard land from Monterey to Mendocino. It was during one of those weekend trips that fate drew Dave to the Dry Creek Valley. When he saw an old prune orchard across the street from the Dry Creek General Store, Dave realized that he had found his dream location.

He purchased the orchard and began planting vines. Captivated by his memories of Loire-style wines, Sauvignon Blanc seemed destined to figure prominently in the Dry Creek Vineyard portfolio. However, several famed vineyard specialists advised him against planting Sauvignon Blanc. Always looking to push the envelope, Dave planted the varietal anyway and the rest is history.

Today, our second-generation family owned winery continues to evolve and grow to meet the demands of a global wine marketplace. The primary mission of our winery is to produce distinctive wines that overdeliver on quality. For more than 40 years, this pursuit of winemaking excellence has led to many international awards and accolades. With a loyal following of wine club members and customers, the future of Dry Creek Vineyard has never been brighter.”

Winemaker Tim Bell is our guest.