Show 289, September 8, 2018: Claudia Burns, Owner, Turtle Rock Vineyards, Paso Robles

Claudia BurnsTurtle Rock Vineyards is a small, proudly family -owned winery located in Paso Robles founded by Don & Claudia Burns. “Our winemaking philosophy is simple, you can’t make great wine without great fruit. We source our fruit from some of the finest vineyards in the Templeton Gap area of Paso Robles. Through sustainable farming practices, low yields, and harvesting at optimal ripeness, we are able to make wines with both intensity and balance. We hope these wines reflect the beauty of the wonderful places these grapes are grown as well as the people who nurture them.”

“Turtle Rock Vineyards began because of Don’s love for the area where he grew up. He moved to a small property on Willow Creek Road when he was 12. The property was nestled in the Templeton Gap at 1150 feet of elevation and owned by his uncle, Tom Westberg. Realizing the potential of the property Tom planted almost 4 acres of vines, mostly Zinfandel, in the mid-eighties. Don graduated from Mission High School then moved on to Ag Business at Cal Poly. Needing a change, Don knew he wanted leave the small town of Templeton and see what else was out there.”

“In 1999 he began a two -year sailboat trip through Central America that ended in Palm Beach, FL. There, Don began working at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse where his love of wine was sparked again. With access to wine from all over the world, his fondness for the Rhone Valley began to emerge. Don would come back many harvests and work alongside of his longtime friend, Justin Smith of Saxum. He knew it was only a matter of time before he would return home.”

“It took him a little longer than he thought because he met the love of his life Claudia. Soon there was a beautiful beach wedding and the birth of their pride and joy Willow. In June 2008 it was finally time to return home. After a two- week cross country adventure with their six- month old baby girl and 15-year old dog, they arrived in Paso Robles. It was then that Tom and his wife Peggy gave Don an amazing opportunity. He was able to bring the small family vineyard back to life and reintroduce the family label, Westberg Cellars. With guidance from Tom, they opened a tasting room in a small barn on the Westberg property and poured primarily Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Chardonnay.”

“When Don was not working on the Westberg property he was next door interning with Justin Smith. That time solidified his decision on the kind of wine he wanted to make. Because the Rhone varietals were so different from the Westberg label he knew they had to come up with a new brand. Don and Claudia thought about it a lot. One day at the tasting room there was an “Aha” moment when Willow was playing with one of the farm dogs sitting on a “turtle rock”. It was a big calcareous limestone rock pulled from the Westberg vineyard years ago. Over time the rocks wear down and look like the back of a turtle shell. That was it, Turtle Rock was born…”

Claudia Burns uncorks it all for us.


Show 277, June 16, 2018: Charles T. Williams, Master Shrubber, Broken Clock Vinegar Works, Solvang, CA

Charles CT WilliamsShrub cocktails (both with alcohol and virgin) are now on the menu at better bars everywhere. Enter Solvang’s CT and Jody Williams who have long been in the beverage industry, both working in the wine industry for the last 15 years and owning their own wine bar for the last eleven of those. In that time, a love of organic gardening has quite literally taken over their backyard and with that a fascination for all things that can be produced from the plethora of fruits, veggies and roots coming out of their soil.

After enjoying some shrub cocktails at a local restaurant they started thinking how fun it would be to start making their own for home consumption. Naturally, that led to the idea to be able to share these fun flavors with other farm-minded people who love the science of infusing and fermentation.

From there Broken Clock Vinegar Works was born, as these drinking vinegars can be enjoyed anytime of day, either with a dash of your favorite spirit or with a glass of sparkling water. The Williams’ daughter, Audrey, enjoys sipping Shrub sodas when she’s feeling fancy! She’s also very helpful at the winery doing punch downs and taste testing new flavors.

The Broken Clock Vinegar works will soon debut their Tasting Room on June 23rd. It’s the only certified Winery in Solvang. Tastings can be scheduled there by appointment.

We’re fans of the Prickly Pear & Kaffir Lime Shrub.

Founder CT Williams (and Master Shrubber) has all the quaffable 411 for us.


Show 277, June 16, 2018: Jay Boberg, Co-Founder, Nicolas-Jay, Dundee, Oregon

Jay BobergNicolas-Jay is a pinot noir venture located in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Celebrated Burgundian winemaker, Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, and music and media entrepreneur, Jay Boberg, lend their individual talents and shared dedication to the winery, where traditional French winemaking meets quintessential Oregon terroir.

Fruit for the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is sourced from almost every AVA in the Willamette Valley, ensuring optimal blending potential and representation of the diversity of pinot noir in the appellation. Unique sites include vineyards located in the high-elevation Eola-Amity Hills, the foothills of the cool coastal range in the McMinnville AVA, the warm red-soiled vineyards of the Dundee Hills and our expressive Bishop Creek Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. This wine is sourced almost exclusively from biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified vineyards.

“Pinot Noir is my desert island wine,” says Jay Boberg, “and I love the Pinots from Oregon. I’ve been drinking wines from Willamette Valley since 1983. People used to talk about their potential, but now you can taste what that potential has become—earth and elegance.”

In 2012, as Jay was winding down his fulltime role in the music industry, he approached his friend, Jean-Nicolas, with the idea of starting a winery together in Willamette Valley. “Jean-Nicolas and I have been friends since 1988. We share very similar philosophies about life, business, wine and friendship. Nicolas-Jay is about making the very best Pinot Noir we can possibly make.

It is also about building something together that one day we hope our kids will be a part of. When you look at the great domaines of the world, these two ideas go hand in hand.

Nicolas-Jay has recently opened a rustic farm house tasting room in Dundee near their Bishop Creek Vineyard. Tasting by appointment only, please.

Jay Boberg is our guest.


Show 228, June 17, 2017: Matt Sobczak, Certified Sommelier, Presqu’ile, Santa Maria

Matt SobczakLocated in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to crafting exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Designed and planted to create a diverse tapestry of vineyard blocks, the sustainably certified, 73-acre Presqu’ile Vineyard features an array of clones, exposures and elevations. Made using this estate fruit and grapes from a handful of the finest vineyards in the valley, Presqu’ile’s wines capture the essence of their vineyards and vintages, and have earned acclaim for their elegance and balance. The striking, contemporary winery building and tasting room are a destination on their own.

Presqu’ile is a multigenerational collaboration between Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey. No strangers to agriculture, four generations of the Murphy family have been farming land in Louisiana going back almost a century.

The Murphys are also a family of wine lovers, with a deep appreciation for the world’s great Pinot Noirs. This love of the land, combined with their shared reverence for great wine, and a deep desire to create something meaningful and enduring together, led the Murphys to pool their talents and establish Presqu’ile Winery.

Certified Sommelier Matt Sobczak, Presqu’ile’s Assistant Tasting Room Manager, joins us with the story.



Show 168, April 23, 2016: Four Brix Winery, Ventura, CA

Gary Stewart of Four Brix WineryThe Four Brix Winery in Ventura grew out of three couples’ hobby of making premium wine at home for their appreciative friends. The Winery represents a throwback to the days of blended wines made in California. Winemaker and Partner Gary Stewart uncorks it for us.

“We believe that California offers the best grapes in the world, but not all varietals grow best in every area of the State. So, we source more than a dozen single varietals from different vineyards covering at least five separate appellations to make our California blended wines.”

The name Four Brix pays tribute to the four wine regions we have traveled to and experienced the beauty, culture, and manner in which blended wine fits into everyday life : France, Italy, Spain, and our home, California.”

The enthusiastic Wine Club Members, The BrixHeads, are active participants in promoting the Winery. They even name individual wine barrels.

“Not just another Brix in the Wall.”


Show 151, December 19, 2015: Adam Craun, Co-Founder, Memento Mori

Adam Craun and the Wainwrights from Momento Mori WineryMemento Mori winery (Napa Valley) is one of the small, exclusive cult boutique producers showcased at Ultimo Weekend. Their 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon was poured at the $1,000 per guest Ultimo Grand Banquet – Dinner in the Clouds. This was the eagerly anticipated debut of the just released 2013 vintage. The Winery’s premium Cabernet grapes come from just four highly regarded vineyards in St. Helena and Oakville.

Co-founder Adam Craun is our guest. As always there is an intriguing story here that starts with the name…A portion of the proceeds from the Grand Banquet benefit the ment’or BKB Foundation.

“We produce and offer only one wine.  Memento Mori is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California.   We source from only the best vineyards and have one of the most talented young winemakers (Sam Kaplan) on the planet.  Our singular mission is to craft the absolute best product possible.  We will never cut corners. Ever.”


Show 133, August 1, 2015: MJ Hong, Proprietress, The Wine Artist, Laguna Beach

MJ HongMJ Hong is the gracious proprietress of The Wine Artist in Laguna Beach. She is a former corporate executive turned entrepreneur. It’s a boutique winery, special event venue (and more) designed to accommodate team building exercises. It’s also a destination for unusual cooking demos and classes.

With over 2,500 square feet, this elegantly decorated Tuscan Winery is perfect for hosting private parties, team building, birthday parties, fund raising and charity events where you can incorporate wine tasting, and bottling your favorite wine.

MJ’s passion for entertaining, food and wine led her to leave her secure corporate job of 15 years to pursue her dream job of reinvigorating The Wine Artist which she acquired in late 2009.

We’ll learn all about it with MJ.


Show 112, February 28, 2015: Jim & Judi Brady, Roadrunner Ridge winery

Jim and Judy Brady of Roadrunner Ridge WineryRoadrunner Ridge is a young California Winery located in North San Diego County. It is nestled on a hillside 10 minutes South of Temecula and 10 minutes East of Fallbrook. The vineyard lies on a rocky, clay hillside at 1,500 feet. Warm days with afternoon breezes ripen the grapes and the coastal influence provides cool evenings for quality grapes.

Roadrunner Ridge is owned and operated by Jim & Judi Brady, who have made wine for over 30 years. They planted their own vineyard in 2008.

“Our focus is on Rhone and other warm weather varietals which prosper in our Mediterranean climate. We produce small, handmade lots and many unique blends. Roadrunner Ridge is located on the property formally known as Rusty Acres Herb Farm, which grew beautiful Lavendar & Herbs for 8 years.”

Case production is a boutique 500 cases per year. The vines are planted over four and one-half acres.


Show 111, February 21, 2015: George Bursick, Winemaker, Europa Village, Temecula

George BursickWe’re continuing our preview of Chocolate Decadence and the Pechanga Wine Festival set for Friday evening, February 27th and Saturday afternoon, February 28th at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.

Europa Village winery in Temecula is part of both events. Their new winemaker, George Bursick (ex-Ferrari-Carano,) joins us to provide an overview of what they are doing at Europa Village and the ambitious plans for the future. They currently produce about 5,000 cases a year.

“Our story is simple. It began with a vision of combining Old World European wine country charm with the modern amenities and technological advancements of California wine craft.”

“Today, more than 30 acres of prime Temecula Wine Country property has been planted with popular European-style varietal grapes. We are now crafting premium wines in the classic traditions of France, Spain and Italy. You can savor these vintages offerings and experience a taste of what’s to come at our interim Europa Village Tasting Room and event facilities.”


Show 83, August 9, 2014: Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

Guest Host Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill restaurants and Producer Andy preview the show.

Chef Jimmy Shaw of Loteria! Grill is with us. He brought the rich Mexican Street Food of his native Mexico City to Los Angeles. Keep in mind that Los Angeles is the 2nd largest Mexican City in the World. It all started in 2002 with a modest stand in the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles.

Chef Jimmy Shaw educates us on the ample Mexican sandwich, The Torta. He also talks about stocking Mexican ingredients in your home pantry.

Josh Lurie of Food GPS is at it again with delectable food and beverage events. The 3rd Annual Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival is set for Sunday afternoon, August 17th in Chinatown’s historic Central Plaza.

The Museum of the American Cocktail (based in New Orleans at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum) is presenting an evening of cocktails, food, and entertainment featuring (the always entertaining) culinary historian and author Richard Foss on August 18th at 6:30 p.m. at Roxanne’s Lounge in Long Beach. The presentation is : “Dry With a Twist: A Liquid Lesson in How Prohibition Changed America.”

One of the most important wine regions in Mexico is the Valle de Guadalupe located about an hour and one-half South of Tijuana. The best of these wines are slowly finding their way North to Southern California. Manuel Alvarez of AlXimia Vino Elemental winery joins us from the Valle de Guadalupe with his Family’s story.

Tarit Tanjasiri is the baker/proprietor of the revered CremaCafe in Seal Beach. It started as a small breakfast and lunch spot. Tarit couldn’t source a bread for his sandwiches that satisfied him so he added an adjacent production bakery. We’ll meet him.

“A new kind of cocktail book, The 12 Bottle Bar, distills the craft cocktail movement for the home bar. Irresistibly uncomplicated, just 12 bottles create over 200 distinct and seasonal cocktails, including beer and wine cocktails.” The husband-and-wife authors are with us.

Orange County’s answer to the prestigious, red carpet awards shows is The Golden Foodies. Voting has started for this year in the first group of categories and the public is invited to vote for their favorite restaurants and related categories. Good luck to all…

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!