2006 Wine and Fire – Santa Rita Hills – Part 1


Celebrating their first Wine and Fire festival, the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance put on a fabulous weekend-long event, beginning with a film screening of Rob Dafoe’s From Ground to Glass on Friday evening at the historic La Purisima Mission. Saturday consisted of appellation wine seminars, followed by a huge BBQ lunch – all held in a secluded canyon. We’ll be presenting this unique event in four parts.

Join us at Friday’s reception as we talk with winemakers Bruno D’Alfonso, Peter Cargasacci, Joe Davis, Brian Loring, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton, Kathy Joseph, and filmmaker Rob Dafoe.  For More Information:

– Santa Rita Hills Wine Growers Alliance: www.staritahills.com

Sponsor: The Beaches of South Walton: www.beachesofsouthwalton.com

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Show #117
(1:05:19 min 29 MB)

16 Responses to “2006 Wine and Fire – Santa Rita Hills – Part 1”

  1. 1 Jess Knauft Nov 6th, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks for the great show.

    Here is my question. Have you guys thought of doing a “Myth Buster” type show, where you deliberately heat wine bottles for a certain amount of time at high temperatures to observe what happens? Is the rapid aging beneficial, for some wines, at least for immediate consumption?

    Also, Brian Loring had a recent “Wine Spectator” blog where he debates the best berry size. It would be interesting to know what the consensus view is on adding water and acid when grapes are picked at a high sugar brix. What is the ideal brix level to maintain for a future alcohol balance – so that the acids, tannins and overall fruit profile are kept in a maximum synergy of flavor?

  2. 2 Sean Dixon Nov 7th, 2006 at 9:53 am

    Great Show……really got me excited about Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills and made go directly to work and log into new wine websites, including Fiddlehead….Best thing I like about your shows is that they are very impartial in that they take out the retail spin I get from my local wine shop trying to sell me all sorts of wine they need to sell….also, just so educational for me. I have learned a lot recently about Santa Rita producers and it sparks my desire to go and buy some of these wines and test the producers comments…..One good comparison I am still trying to do is Loring vs. Arcadian given the controversy there…I think Joe Davis might be fianlly appreciating Brian Loring’s style and passion…..He is not a classic Burgundy producer like Joe Davis and that is OK cause CA and American’s in general want drinkable wines not just ageable wines cause we have no patience….thx and keep up the great work…..your site and the podcasts are awesome….

  3. 3 GrapeRadio Bunch Nov 7th, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    Jess, I really dig your idea. I doubt you would get a consensus view on your questions. Perhaps we could arrange a debate on the questions?


  4. 4 GrapeRadio Bunch Nov 7th, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    I am so glad you mentioned about the impartial inature of our show. We do not have anything to sell you. We do not have an agenda. I must confess, we try to create a positive discussion, which might translate into not being critical enough or asking hard enough questions. We are not 60 minutes, so I can live with that weakness.


  5. 5 Doug Smith Nov 8th, 2006 at 7:46 am

    Hey Jay, no worries, you guys are doing a GREAT job on GR in opening up discussions and keeping them going strong. Nothing wrong with accenting the positive in a subject that produces so much fun and enjoyment for so many.

    The carping can go on in the comments section …


  6. 6 Tim Beauchamp Nov 8th, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Wow, what a wonderful show. Sta Rita Hill has become my current favorite area. I hope for the wineries there, it gets the recognition it deserves, but I hope it does not suffer from overexposure.

    You sounded like you had soooooo much fun there and it was such a great time. It makes me want to sneak into the trunk of your car so that I can get to these events too.

    Is there any chance that you could put some of these events on your website’s schedule in advance for people that would want to attend them also?


  7. 7 GrapeRadio Bunch Nov 8th, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    Hey Tim, was that YOU in the trunk of our car? (;-) We DID have fun – glad it showed (how could it not!).

    This was an amazing event, and for a small AVA to pull off something this good, and this flawless the first time out of the gate… well, if you look up “organization” in the dictionary, I think you’ll find a picture of the folks from Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

    Good idea about listing the upcoming events. We’ve actually been exploring that very thing. Stay tuned.


  8. 8 Wes Hagen Nov 8th, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    Much respect to Katie at Seasmoke, Jessica at Carr Wines, Karen at Fiddlehead, Chystal at Brewer-Clifton/Palmina and Cathy at Clos Pepe for doing some serious work putting this event together.

    We’ll be announcing a date for next year’s event soon!

    Keep an eye out on the http://www.staritahills.com website.

  9. 9 Eric Rayburn Nov 11th, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Another great show fellas. I just love it when you have The Llama on the show, he’s always fun to listen to. And Kathy from Fiddlehead just sounds like a trip. Looking forward to the other parts.
    I’m really digging the fact that you aren’t afraid to go longer than 30 minutes. I think it allows you to get deeper into topics. Keep it up!

  10. 10 John Weippert Nov 14th, 2006 at 6:06 pm

    Another great show from GR.

    I really enjoy these shows since I live no where near these events. They give me the ability to hear from the winemakers that I can not get where I live. Even when there are wine events/festivals in my area; the people I get to talk to are either the local distributers or the marketing staff for the label. Although if I were able to attend an event like this, I doubt I would not get the same access as the mighty Grape Radio;-)

    Thank you guys for going to the shows on my and other faithful listeners behalf saving us the admission while still benefiting from the knowledge shared.

  11. 11 GrapeRadio Bunch Nov 15th, 2006 at 9:58 am

    If we are so mighty, how come I have NEVER been asked for an autograph.

    We really want to do more remotes. I just have to get off my lazy butt and get to work.


  12. 12 David Nov 20th, 2006 at 8:15 am

    Great work guys! I’m just sorry I wasn’t able to make the event part of my continuing education program. Fortunately, you have brought it to me! Thanks!

  13. 13 petercargasacchi Nov 23rd, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    Just, as Jay alludes I think that if you had 100 winemakers and asked them the question of ideal brix you would get 1,000 answers rather than merely 100. As you are aware there are many variables that come into play because alcohol as well as tannins, acids, etc., work synergistically. When you change one wine component the perception of others also change. Each year the grapes are different so then each year those particular sweet spots would be different.

    I think ideally lower alcohols are better and more socially friendly, but higher alcohol wines taste better to many people because alcohol contributes positively to mouth feel within certain limits.

    Ideally a couple should be able to order a bottle of wine at their favorite restaurant, drink it with dinner and be able to enjoy their evening. With higher alcohol wines that can be a problem. During the summer months I find myself shying away from the higher alcohol wines as well.

  14. 14 Jess Knauft Nov 27th, 2006 at 7:32 pm


    Thanks for your comment and I really enjoyed hearing your comments on the podcasts. I am sure that there are many factors that might be considered in the pursuit of the ideal brix. For example, I noticed that some of the research indicates that a reduction in excessive vegetative and grassy notes caused by MLB has been seen in wines made from under ripe grapes, though the mechanism for this is unknown [Krieger et al., 2000; Riesen, 1999].

  15. 15 Peter Cargasacchi Dec 5th, 2006 at 11:42 am

    For those interested, MLB are malo lactic bacteria. In wine MLB convert malic acid into lactic acid which reduces the total acidity of the wine and softens the mouthfeel. Before the time of Louis Pasteur winemakers did not understand microbiology. They called the secondary fermentation we know as the malo lactic fermentation (MLF) “the spring sickness.” These bacteria are temperature sensitive and MLF needs some warmth, (like a cellar in the spring after winter.) MLF make the wine less tart. The wine kicks off CO2 during the process and it is like the wine is fermenting again. The barrels crackle and gurgle.

    Under ripeness is to be avoided in the winery. Under ripe grapes generally tend to express vegetative and grassy notes because under ripe grapes contain more pyrazines, amongst other nasty flavors under ripe grapes have. (Pyrazines and methoxypyrazines are the compounds responsible for vegetative and herbaceous character, “green” flavors.)

    The best way to reduce these compounds is in the vineyard, by reducing vine vigor through balancing the vines, reduced irrigation and with shoot and leaf removal to expose clusters to light. Sunlight converts many of the “green” tasting compounds into terpenes and monoterpenes which are floral and fruity aromatics.

    In regions where ripeness is an issue, reducing vegetative character in barrel would be very useful.

    I really don’t know why MLB would decrease vegetative character. But… since many flavors are synergistic with other wine flavor components perhaps the decrease in acidity from MLF is what causes the reduced green flavors after MLF? It decreases perception of greeness? Ie. less tart tastes more ripe?

  16. 16 Jess Knauft Dec 25th, 2006 at 5:11 pm


    Thanks for the insightful comments about this subject.

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