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

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.”

“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.”

“Additionally, Sean and Tom were given the opportunity to manage a small boutique vineyard in 2014, which allowed them to really experience home winemaking ‘grape to glass’.”

“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.

Proprietors and Winemakers Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood gently pull the cork on Awen Winecraft for us.

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Show 33, June 29, 2013: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Thornton Winery in TemeculaYou really know David is a regular guy when he shares with you the winemakers’ tip that after a long day of tasting and blending a winemakers’ remedy for refreshing the fatigued taste buds is to enjoy a cold beer.

Vergari is only the 3rd winemaker in the rich, 25 year history of the proudly Family-owner Thornton Winery, and he has been in residence there for three years. They are known for consistently excellent California sparkling wines but in recent years they have developed a reputation for producing significant still wines, too. He has a current release of a Nebbiolo and Vermentino (both Italian grape varietals) that he’s very pleased with.

2013 is also the 25th Anniversary of Thornton’s Champagne Jazz Series. The concerts are performed outdoors in their acoustically superior Mediterranean fountain terrace and continue through October. The intimate space overlooks the scenic Temecula Valley wine country.

Huge acts who you would normally only see in large concert halls perform in this special venue because it’s a quality space. Headliner Dave Koz performed last weekend and tonight is Spyro Gyra and Acoustic Alchemy,

Thornton Winery’s long-time executive chef Steve Pickell of Café Champagne prepares a seated picnic menu (enjoyed under a shaded canopy) for every concert. It’s really an unfussy fine-dining experience with three courses. Both Thornton and other carefully selected premium wines are suggested as appropriate pairings for each course.

The appetizer course is field-to-table as all the fresh fruits and vegetables are sourced from local family farmers. Besides the wine grapes the unincorporated Riverside County portion of Temecula is an abundant agricultural area.

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