Show 474, May 14, 2022: Center of Effort Wines, Edna Valley AVA, CA Part One

Nathan Carlson of Center of Effort

“The rising star of California’s central coast AVA is the Edna Valley, and in these foothills lies a landmark estate vineyard, its roots spanning four decades. Center of Effort is a crown jewel of this trending wine region, famed for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Edna Valley is notable for the state’s coolest wine conditions and long growing season, brought about by the breezes and morning fog from the Pacific Ocean. Center of Effort harnesses the area’s unique and valuable properties to produce wines that are well balanced and complex.”

“Center of Effort’s respect for the vineyard and its unique environment is reflected with emphasis on sustainable viticulture, natural fermentation and other non-invasive, progressive winemaking practices. The opening of their beautiful, state of the art hospitality center has enabled them to share the vineyard experience with style and comfort both indoors and out. Center of Effort’s estate wines represent the intersection of care taking, skill and commitment, and according to Forbes, “the results are pure and elegant expressions of Edna Valley terroir.””

“The winemaking operations at Center of Effort are led by Nathan Carlson, a veteran Edna Valley winemaker, who has worked with Center of Effort estate vineyards since 2008. His experience over this time with the soil, climate, and character of each parcel of the vines has led to a quiet confidence in the ultimate results of their winemaking actions or restraint.”

The striking and elegant Center of Effort Hospitality Center (with an exhibition kitchen) is available for a variety of tastings, tours and culinary experiences.

Winemaker & General Manager Nathan Carlson and Culinary Manager Lindsey Morin join us to pull the cork on all that is Center of Effort.

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Show 474, May 14, 2022: Center of Effort Wines, Edna Valley AVA, CA Part Two

Lindsey Morin of Center of Effort

“The rising star of California’s central coast AVA is the Edna Valley, and in these foothills lies a landmark estate vineyard, its roots spanning four decades. Center of Effort is a crown jewel of this trending wine region, famed for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Edna Valley is notable for the state’s coolest wine conditions and long growing season, brought about by the breezes and morning fog from the Pacific Ocean. Center of Effort harnesses the area’s unique and valuable properties to produce wines that are well balanced and complex.”

“Center of Effort’s respect for the vineyard and its unique environment is reflected with emphasis on sustainable viticulture, natural fermentation and other non-invasive, progressive winemaking practices. The opening of their beautiful, state of the art hospitality center has enabled them to share the vineyard experience with style and comfort both indoors and out. Center of Effort’s estate wines represent the intersection of care taking, skill and commitment, and according to Forbes, “the results are pure and elegant expressions of Edna Valley terroir.””

“The winemaking operations at Center of Effort are led by Nathan Carlson, a veteran Edna Valley winemaker, who has worked with Center of Effort estate vineyards since 2008. His experience over this time with the soil, climate, and character of each parcel of the vines has led to a quiet confidence in the ultimate results of their winemaking actions or restraint.”

The striking and tastefully elegant Center of Effort Hospitality Center (with an exhibition kitchen) is available for a variety of tastings, tours and culinary experiences.

Winemaker & General Manager Nathan Carlson and Culinary Manager Lindsey Morin continue with us pulling the cork on all that is Center of Effort.

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Show 471, April 23, 2022: Patricia Toth, Winemaker, Planeta, Sicily, Italy Part One

Patricia Toth of Planeta

Planeta’s (Sicily, Italy) journey began at Sambuca di Sicilia, on the estate owned by the family since the 1600s. Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians, Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, under the guidance of Diego Planeta, began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s. Subsequent years were spent matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international varieties. Planeta today encompasses six distinct wine estates in five regions across Sicily; Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the newest addition, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Each vineyard site is carefully cultivated with grapes that best compliment the local terroir.”

“Planeta as a family and an organization is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within Sicily.”

“Born in Hungary, Planeta Winemaker Patricia Toth grew up in the countryside. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Corvinus in Budapest with a degree in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits.”

“Patricia first collaborated with Planeta during the 2005 harvest and in 2008, she officially joined the winemaking team in a full-time role as Winemaker. Today, she is responsible for the Buonivini and Dorilli Cellars, and has successfully coordinated startup for the estates on Mount Etna and Capo Milazzo. Patricia is an active a member of Planeta’s Business Intelligence Team and is also responsible for Planeta’s SOStain program, which supports regional sustainable agriculture.”

Patricia joins us from Sicily to pull the cork on all that is Planeta.

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Show 471, April 23, 2022: Patricia Toth, Winemaker, Planeta, Sicily, Italy Part Two

Patricia Toth of Planeta

Planeta’s (Sicily, Italy) journey began at Sambuca di Sicilia, on the estate owned by the family since the 1600s. Here, three enthusiastic young Sicilians, Alessio, Francesca and Santi Planeta, under the guidance of Diego Planeta, began their winemaking venture in the mid-1980s. Subsequent years were spent matching the extraordinarily diverse Sicilian soils with both indigenous and international varieties. Planeta today encompasses six distinct wine estates in five regions across Sicily; Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the newest addition, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Each vineyard site is carefully cultivated with grapes that best compliment the local terroir.”

“Planeta as a family and an organization is at the forefront of sustainability initiatives within Sicily.”

“Born in Hungary, Planeta Winemaker Patricia Toth grew up in the countryside. In 2004, she graduated from the University of Corvinus in Budapest with a degree in Food Science specializing in wine, beer and spirits.”

“Patricia first collaborated with Planeta during the 2005 harvest and in 2008, she officially joined the winemaking team in a full-time role as Winemaker. Today, she is responsible for the Buonivini and Dorilli Cellars, and has successfully coordinated startup for the estates on Mount Etna and Capo Milazzo. Patricia is an active a member of Planeta’s Business Intelligence Team and is also responsible for Planeta’s SOStain program, which supports regional sustainable agriculture.”

A few weeks ago Patricia was on a visit to Los Angeles to present a selection of the current Planeta releases to food and wine journalists at a special lunch at Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles with the cuisine prepared by Chef Celestino Drago himself and with service supervised by Managing Partner (and acclaimed restaurateur) Piero Selvaggio. The Short Rib with Mushrooms and Barley course was tastefully paired with Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese Sicilia 2018. This 100 per cent Nerello Mascalese is a person favorite Planeta selection of Piero himself.

Patricia continues with us long-distance from Sicily to pull the cork on all that is Planeta.

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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.

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Show 464, March 5, 2022: Winemaker Keith Emerson, Vinoce, Napa

Keith Emerson of Vinoce

Twenty-five years after naming his wine brand Vinoce, Proprietor Brian Nuss (Napa Valley based) finds himself in a revitalization mode as he and the rest of the world emerges from the pandemic. Which leads him to proclaim, “I don’t want this winery to go away. It’s been part of my life since 1996. But this reinvention is not for me; it’s for my sons Tim and Tyler.””

“Nuss called his winery Vinoce (pronounced veen-O-chay), which he translates as “wine nut.” He coined the word in tribute to his German-Italian heritage; “nuss” means nut in German, and “noce” is nut in Italian. Brian’s mom was Italian-Spanish, while his dad was German-English.”

“Over the last three decades, Vinoce has developed an intimate knowledge of growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc on the rugged, hillside slopes. Vinoce is devoted to creating wines that reflect the true expressions of Mount Veeder with balance, power, and uniqueness.”

“In 2013, Keith Emerson initially came on as associate winemaker to make the Vinoce wines. Emerson, the winemaker at Vineyard 29, is now Vinoce’s winemaker as well. The wine is made in St. Helena at Emerson’s Vineyard 29 and Ballentine Vineyards. Vinoce’s Mount Veeder fruit comes from an 8-acre estate vineyard near PymRae Nuss purchased and planted in ‘13. Vinoce produces about 2,000 cases a year.”

In 2019 Vinoce opened their tasting room at the historic Tannery building in Napa on the Napa River.

Winemaker Keith Emerson joins us to uncork all that is Vinoce Vineyards.

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Show 462, February 19, 2022: John Rivenburgh, Proprietor & Winemaker, Kerrville Hills Winery, Kerrville, Texas Part Two

John Rivenburgh of Kerrville Hills Winery

“Texas wine industry luminary, John Rivenburgh, purchased Kerrville Hills Winery in late 2020 and he transformed it into a winery incubator. That conversion allows Rivenburgh to realize one of his central career ambitions of fostering the development of highly talented winemakers.”

“The Kerrville Hills Winery incubator is now a home for winemakers to manage the capitalization of their business, learn winemaking techniques, and work in a collaborative environment. Kerrville Hills Winery differs from a custom crush facility in that member winemakers are intrinsically involved in all production aspects. It is akin to an educational think tank for collaboration, sharing ideas, and fostering creativity so various winemakers can make their best products. Rivenburgh provides project and program oversight, access to an industry network developed over 14 years, as well as winemaking guidance and mentorship.”

“Before purchasing Kerrville Hills Winery, Rivenburgh widely planted the grape variety Tannat and created award-winning wines with it. Tannat, a grape grown widely in France and South America, is loved for its deep color, and tannins that give wine structure and complexity. Rivenburgh helped plant dozens of acres of Tannat in more than 20 vineyards in the state. This extensive development of Tannat has cemented his reputation as a leading innovative winemaker and viticulturist responsible for elevating its status to become a heralded varietal in Texas.”

Kerrville Hills Winery has a Tasting Room at the Winery plus a newly launched Tasting Room (by Appointment only) in Hye, Texas (near Fredericksburg.)

John Rivenburg continues with a glass of Kerrville Hills Winery 2019 Tannat, Rustic Spurs Vineyard in hand.

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Show 462, February 19, 2022: John Rivenburgh, Proprietor & Winemaker, Kerrville Hills Winery, Kerrville, Texas Part One

John Rivenburgh of Kerrville Hills Winery

“Texas wine industry luminary, John Rivenburgh, purchased Kerrville Hills Winery in late 2020 and has transformed it into a winery incubator. That conversion allows Rivenburgh to realize one of his central career ambitions of fostering the development of highly talented winemakers.”

“The Kerrville Hills Winery incubator is now a home for winemakers to manage the capitalization of their business, learn winemaking techniques, and work in a collaborative environment. Kerrville Hills Winery differs from a custom crush facility in that member winemakers are intrinsically involved in all production aspects. It is akin to an educational think tank for collaboration, sharing ideas, and fostering creativity so various winemakers can make their best products. Rivenburgh provides project and program oversight, access to an industry network developed over 14 years, as well as winemaking guidance and mentorship.”

“The wine industry is innately collaborative,” says John Rivenburgh, winemaker and owner of Kerrville Hills Winery. “I benefited from the guidance of people in the industry when I started my career in winemaking and from many more industry friends when I launched my own label and consulting firm, Rivenburgh Wine. This experience helped me fully appreciate the need for a facility for consulting winemakers to make high-quality wine. I’m glad to have a role in it because I like teaching people, and I really like helping people succeed. Helping people achieve their goal of putting great wine in a bottle is a thrill for me.”

“Before purchasing Kerrville Hills Winery, Rivenburgh widely planted the grape variety Tannat and created award-winning wines with it. Tannat, a grape grown widely in France and South America, is loved for its deep color, and tannins that give wine structure and complexity. Rivenburgh helped plant dozens of acres of Tannat in more than 20 vineyards in the state. This extensive development of Tannat has cemented his reputation as a leading innovative winemaker and viticulturist responsible for elevating its status to become a heralded varietal in Texas.”

Kerrville Hills Winery has a Tasting Room at the Winery plus a newly launched Tasting Room in Hye, Texas (near Fredericksburg.)

John Rivenburg is our guest to gently pull the cork on all that is Kerrville Hills Winery.

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Show 459, January 22, 2022: Michael Larner, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager, Larner Vineyard & Winery, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley Part One

Micheal Larner of Larner Vineyard and Winery

Larner Vineyard & Winery established in Ballard Canyon in 1999 is truly a family affair operated by two generations of the Larner Family. It’s a California Certified Organically farmed estate. Tradition and passion guide the meticulous farming of 34 acres of Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier as well as the Italian variety, Malvasia Bianca. Limited annual productions of handcrafted quality wines define this boutique winery.

The Larner Vineyard & Winery Tasting Room is located in historic downtown Los Olivos and is open daily. Winemaker and Vineyard Manager Michael Larner’s wife, Christina, is the Retail Manager and also runs the adjacent Los Olivos General Store.

“Driven to find a family property they could all share in winemaking, founders Christine and Stevan Larner came to the Santa Ynez Valley. When they first set eyes on the property in Ballard Canyon in 1995, they knew this was their route to a family legacy. Christine still lives on the property but Stevan passed away in 2005. Stevan Larner was an Oscar-nominated, Emmy winning cinematographer who spent much of his early career in Europe where he first learned to love wine.”

“When the couple found the ranch property in Ballard Canyon, they set about clearing the land to plant vineyards in a place that had never before been cultivated. It was amazing to see the land toiled by machines, and analyze the soil and weather. Son Michael Larner took care of all the soil and geology matters, and the land told the family what to plant: Rhône varietals. And the rest is history.”

“Winemaker & Vineyard Manager Michael Larner earned his Master’s Degree in Viticulture & Enology at the University of California, Davis and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His formal training in wine continued with cellar apprenticeships at Marchesi Antinori’s Tenuta Guado al Tasso (Bolgheri, Tuscany) and E. Guigal’s Château d’Ampuis (Rhône Valley, France). He previously worked with Santa Ynez-based wineries Babcock Winery and Rusack Vineyards. He has been making wine since 1999.”

“Michael is co-founder of the Ballard Canyon AVA and recently served as president of this newly-founded AVA (American Viticulture Area). Ballard Canyon is one of our nation’s smallest AVAs and is focused on the production of quality Syrah.”

“Michael’s sister, Monica Larner, is a wine writer based in Rome. Following ten years as Italian Editor with Wine Enthusiast, she now reviews Italian wine for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Monica takes a smaller role at the winery, but continues to contribute her knowledge in the final wines: from blends to aging time.”

Michael Larner is our guest to gently pull the cork on all that is Larner Vineyard & Winery.

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Show 459, January 22, 2022: Michael Larner, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager, Larner Vineyard & Winery, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley Part Two

Micheal Larner of Larner Vineyard and Winery

Larner Vineyard & Winery established in Ballard Canyon in 1999 is truly a family affair operated by two generations of the Larner Family. It’s a California Certified Organically farmed estate. Tradition and passion guide the meticulous farming of 34 acres of Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier as well as the Italian variety, Malvasia Bianca. Limited annual productions of handcrafted quality wines define this boutique winery.

The Larner Vineyard & Winery Tasting Room is located in historic downtown Los Olivos and is open daily. Winemaker and Vineyard Manager Michael Larner’s wife, Christina, is the Retail Manager and also runs the adjacent Los Olivos General Store.

“Driven to find a family property they could all share in winemaking, founders Christine and Stevan Larner came to the Santa Ynez Valley. When they first set eyes on the property in Ballard Canyon in 1995, they knew this was their route to a family legacy. Christine still lives on the property but Stevan passed away in 2005. Stevan Larner was an Oscar-nominated, Emmy winning cinematographer who spent much of his early career in Europe where he first learned to love wine.”

“When the couple found the ranch property in Ballard Canyon, they set about clearing the land to plant vineyards in a place that had never before been cultivated. It was amazing to see the land toiled by machines, and analyze the soil and weather. Son Michael Larner took care of all the soil and geology matters, and the land told the family what to plant: Rhône varietals. And the rest is history.”

“Winemaker & Vineyard Manager Michael Larner earned his Master’s Degree in Viticulture & Enology at the University of California, Davis and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His formal training in wine continued with cellar apprenticeships at Marchesi Antinori’s Tenuta Guado al Tasso (Bolgheri, Tuscany) and E. Guigal’s Château d’Ampuis (Rhône Valley, France). He previously worked with Santa Ynez-based wineries Babcock Winery and Rusack Vineyards. He has been making wine since 1999.”

“Michael is co-founder of the Ballard Canyon AVA and recently served as president of this newly-founded AVA (American Viticulture Area). Ballard Canyon is one of our nation’s smallest AVAs and is focused on the production of quality Syrah.”

“Michael’s sister, Monica Larner, is a wine writer based in Rome. Following ten years as Italian Editor with Wine Enthusiast, she now reviews Italian wine for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Monica takes a smaller role at the winery, but continues to contribute her knowledge in the final wines: from blends to aging time.”

Michael Larner continues as our guest to gently pull the cork on more about the Larner Vineyard & Winery.

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