Archive for March, 2009

Black Ankle Vineyards – Maryland

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Welcome to our video podcast Black Ankle Vineyards- Video Show #61.

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One of the promising discoveries during our 2007 trip to visit some Mid-Atlantic wineries was Black Ankle Vineyards. Founders Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron decided to look for an alternative careers to Management Consulting, and their fascination with wine, winemaking and viticulture led them in 2001 to actually consider the process of owning and operating their own vineyard and winery. But where?

After years of research, the pair decided they could make excellent wine in Maryland. After nearly a year of searching, they found a beautiful 146-acre farm in Frederick County, with 40 acres well suited to grape vines. The farm has all of the things they were looking for: relative altitude, well-drained and low vigor soil, and a mix of different eco-systems. They purchased the property in May of 2002.

Beginning in April of 2003, Ed and Sarah planted a mix of red and white grapes, choosing some of their favorite varieties, but also ones known for high quality wine and thought to be most suitable for the Mid-Atlantic climate. Varieties inclluded: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Later they added a small parcel of Pinot Noir, and some Grüner Veltliner, Albariño, Viognier, and the ubiquitous Chardonnay.

They also made a decision to farm with the principles of Biodynamics, the original Organic farming movement which was founded by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the 1920’s. Biodynamics involves working as much as possible by the rhythms of the moon, planets and seasons, with a strong emphasis on biodiversity, and a goal of self-sufficiency. Although they continue to experiment with new pest management ideas, they are not yet able to farm 100% organically, though they are optimistic that they will get there before too long.

Join us as we talk with Ed Boyce about the trials, tribulations and successes of East Coast vineyard management and winemaking.

For More Info on Black Ankle Vineyards:

The sponsor of this video is CrushPad:

GrapeRadio – 2009 James Beard Finalist in Two Categories

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GrapeRadio has been selected as a finalist for the third consecutive year for an award in the category of Video Webcast by the James Beard Foundation.

Click here to access our James Beard nominated video:
The Art of Blending

In addition, we have also been selected as a finalist by the James Beard Foundation for an award in the Audio Webcast or Radio Show category.

Click here to access our James Beard nominated audio show: Thomas Jefferson and Wine

The James Beard Foundation Awards are the nation’s preeminent honors for culinary professionals. More than 60 awards are given out each year in the categories of cookbooks, restaurants and chefs, design and graphics, broadcast media, journalism, and achievement. Nominees and award winners are selected by their industry peers, with more than 600 culinary professionals involved in the voting process.

Thank you to all of our fans who have given us such great support over the years.

Fiddlestix Vineyard – Sta. Rita Hills

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Welcome to our video podcast Fiddlestix Vineyard – Video Show #60.

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Located in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddlestix Vineyard is the brainchild of Kathy Joseph, proprietor of Fiddlehead Cellars. A UC Davis alumni, Kathy worked under Zelma Long at Simi Winery before branching out on her own. She’s always made Pinot Noir – usually from two sources, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and the Santa Maria Valley. However, when Robert Mondavi bought Santa Maria’s Sierra Madre Vineyard in the mid-’90s, Kathy needed to look for a new source of fruit. The location she finally selected was about 122 acres, located directly across the road from the historic Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. After purchasing the land in 1996, she selected rootstalk and began preparation for planting. At this point, Kathy approached Beringer and offered them an opportunity to buy in on a 50/50 basis. They recognized the potential of the site, wanted to partner with Fiddlehead and bought 1/2 of the vineyard development to get 1/2 of the fruit. In retrospect, the partnership with Beringer seems to be the best of both worlds – Kathy has the autonomy to manage the vineyard, and both she and Beringer share the fruits of her labors.

Planted in 1998 to 100 acres of Pinot Noir, the spacing at Fiddlestix is tight, with vines planted 4 feet apart, and each row 7 feet wide – resulting in 1,556 vines per acre. The vineyard is made up of 32 mini-blocks, representing different combinations of six clones, three rootstocks, and various elevation, exposures, and soil combinations. The soil is well-drained Gazos and Botella clay loam, loaded with chirt and Monterey shale.

Join us as we visit during “Fiddlefest”, a tribute to producers of Pinot Noir from the vineyard, and to the vineyard itself. We’ll talk with Kathy Joseph and several other winemakers who buy Fiddlestix fruit for their own labels, including: John Falcone (Rusack), Paul Lato (Paul Lato Wines), and Joe Davis (Arcadian).

For More Info on Fiddlestix Vineyard: /

The sponsor of this video is Pinpoint Technologies, Great Mailing Lists:

Château Petit-Village

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Welcome to our video podcast Château Petit-Village – Video Show #59.

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As with many of the Pomerol properties in Bordeaux, Château Petit-Village is actually devoid of a grand Château. Laid out in a triangular shape, the estate consists of 11 hectares of vineyards, with a nucleus of small buildings that serve as winery, vineyard and business offices. Interestingly, this is presumed to account for its name, which means “small village”.

It is unknown who initially planted vines at the estate, but after the French Revolution, it has been under the ownership of several families, including the Dufresne family, the De Seguin family (Clos Fourtet), and was acquired by the négociant Fernand Ginestet in 1919. It remained among the Ginestet properties, along with other properties such as Château Margaux and Château Cos d’Estournel, until the difficult 1970s forced the Ginestets to divide their properties. Petit-Village was run by Bruno Prats until 1989 when it was sold to the present owners, the insurance group AXA Millésimes. Christian Seely oversees the AXA portfolio, but Petit-Village was managed by Jean-Michel Cazes and Daniel Llose until Cazes’ retirement. Currently, the property is managed by Daniel Llose and technical director, Serge Ley.

The property is nestled among some well-known neighbors: Vieux Château Certan, La Conseillante, and Beauregard. The Petit-Village vineyards consist of 75% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc, however, the cepage (blend) varies year to year (for 2007: 78% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc). As with nearly all Right Bank properties, the blend is predominately Merlot.

Join us as we talk with technical director Serge Ley about the vineyard, the winemaking, and of course, the wine.

For More Info on Château Petit-Village:

The sponsor of this video is Millesima, Fine Wine Merchants:

Brian Clark Injured in Car Accident

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09bc1main.jpgAs you may know, our friend and colleague Brian Clark was injured in a terrible traffic accident in Paso Robles earlier this month.

A blood drive has been planned for Wednesday, March 18, from noon to 6pm. For local folks the information is below. Due to limited time slots it is important to have everyone make an appointment online.

Brian Clark Blood Drive

March 18th
Noon to 6:00

Tustin Hospital
14662 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA. 92780
Tel. 714. 669-5881

Sign Up:
Please open this following link and make your reservation:
Sponsor code: THMC

* The Red Cross can handle 3 to 4 people at a time, every 20 minutes. It is imperative that, with the limited amount of spaces available, everyone signs up via the e-donor registration.

Everyone wants to help but with the limited amount of reservations available, people can also give blood at the following blood drives that are also running during this upcoming week:

Sunday March 15th, 10:00 to 4:00
Sheriffs Academy
15991 Armstrong
Tustin CA. 92782
code: ocrsta

Monday March 16th, 1:00 to 7:00
B’nai Israel
2111 Bryan
Tustin, CA. 92780
code: B’nai

Monday March 16th, 9:00 to 3:00
Orange County Fire Authority
1 fire authority road
code: ocfa

*If you are out of the Orange County Area and wish to locate a place to donate blood in your area, please visit

2009 Hospice du Rhône – Tickets Now On Sale!

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Meet the GrapeRadio Bunch at the 2009 Hospice du Rhône, to be held in Paso Robles, CA, April 30th thru May 2nd.

Focusing on syrah, grenache and 20 other grape varieties, HdR is an exceptional three-day event that is globally regarded as the single most essential and enjoyable gathering of international Rhône wine producers and enthusiasts.

Tickets are still available!

For more information on the 2009 Hospice du Rhône:

Andrew Jefford – A Day in the Life of a Wine Writer

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Welcome to our video podcast Andrew Jefford – Video Show #58.

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Andrew Jefford is an English author, journalist, editor, radio and television personality, as well as a poet. Andrew’s approach to writing encompasses not only what is contained within the glass but also the personalities, environment, and culture that surrounds it — making him a standout amongst his peers. His passion for wine has led to numerous articles and books, including the remarkable “The New France” (2002), and most recently “Andrew Jefford’s Wine Course” (2008). He has won eight Glenfiddich Awards along with a host of others, including the Louis Roederer International Award for Wine Feature Writer (2008).

Join us as we talk with the multi-talented Andrew Jefford about his philosophies on wine, wine writing, and wine education.

For More Info on Andrew Jefford:

The sponsor of this video is Pinpoint Technologies, Great Mailing Lists:

Wine Judging

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With a veritable sea of wine available to consumers, how can a winery get some individual recognition for the wines it produces? Well, one of the ways is to enter their wines into competitions or shootouts, to see how they fare to a group of wine judges.

As President and founder of Affairs of the Vine, wine educator Barbara Drady is the event organizer for several of these wine shootouts. Their competitions employ a panel of industry professionals to act as judges, tasting through hundreds of wines to determine their preferences.

All wines are tasted “blind” during a series of four or five flights (10 wines per flight) per day. Each wine is judged on its own merit and not judged against other wines in the flight.

Scores and notes are collated, and once the preliminary tastings are completed, the top scoring wines are chosen for the final round. The 50-60 top scoring wines are then reviewed in the final round by a larger panel of experts.

Most interestingly, the final results are tabulated with comments and observations on each wine by gender.

Join us as we talk with Barbara Drady to see what kind of organization goes into conducting these shootouts, and discuss the beneficiaries of the results.

For more information on the Affairs of the Vine:

Sponsor- Pinpoint Technologies, Mailing List Source:

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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

GrapeRadio has received numerous awards and honors including the 2008 James Beard Award for excellence in Journalism.

GrapeRadio has been the subject of numerous news reports by: The New York Times, Business Week, CNN, The Financial Times of London, and Wired Magazine.