Randall Grahm on Bonny Doon


Named after a logging camp in the idyllic region of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, Bonny Doon Vineyard began as one man’s attempt to wade into wine with both feet and hands. As with many of us, Randall Grahm’s journey began innocently enough. Mix in a little Beverly Hills upbringing, a UC Santa Cruz education in philosophy and literature – and viola, you have a man convinced that if you can conceive growing the great American Pinot Noir, you can do it! Well, long story short, Pinot did in fact turn out to validate its title as ‘the heartbreak grape,’ and Randall, the ever cockeyed optimist that he is, decided to tackle something more…uh…. normal. Thus, running counter to established norms of the day, Randall decided to vest his future with Rhône varieties. Now, since this was 1983, it is fair to say that he was on the bleeding edge of things vinous.

As most listeners know, the names Bonny Doon and Randall Grahm easily became synonymous, along with Le Cigare Volant and Rhône Ranger. And so a movement was born, baptized and confirmed – all within a relatively short space of time. End of story? Not hardly. It’s a much longer (and stranger) journey than that.

Join us as we talk with Randall Grahm about the trials, tribulations and mentors of his life-consuming passion. We’ll even discuss biodynamics, screw caps, and his efforts to rein-in uncontrolled hedonism – all in an effort to return wine to the people.

For more information on Bonny Doon Vineyard: www.bonnydoonvineyard.com

Sponsor: VinAssure, Wine Preservation System: www.vinassure.com

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Show #267
(56:07 min 48MB)

5 Responses to “Randall Grahm on Bonny Doon”

  1. 1 Doug Smith May 3rd, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Well, there’s a lot to agree with that Grahm says. He’s an effective and articulate spokesperson, always interesting to hear.

    But just to mention the same issues as with the Lapostolle interview: Grahm says that BD “cannot be defended scientifically” but nonetheless that it “works”. (Around 34:50). This is tendentious. The scientific literature with which I am familiar shows that the “mystical” stuff with which Jay took objection in fact does not or cannot work. What does work is the organic farming, high quality organic mulching, and the like.

    Brian did make one point that echoed something we said in one of our papers on BD: it may well be that the mere fact of having people working the fields longer may make a difference to a BD farmed field. But if so, that isn’t because of the “mystical” stuff. It’s because the fields are simply being more carefully tended.

    Correlation isn’t necessarily causation.

  2. 2 Hello Vino May 4th, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Good listen guys.

    To your point about the amount of choices…Wow, 40K wineries in Germany alone.

    So many labels to choose from, and I agree that a lot of people are image driven, or they see the shelf-talkers with a sale price that automatically determines their consideration set for purchase. I do think mobile can assist here (offer quick recommendations, short reviews, and a label image for easy identification on the shelf).

    We try to help the people you speak of in the supermarket aisle, so I loved to hear that you see people are dying to be told “this is the one you want.”

    Hello Vino

    P.S. I’m a fan of Grenache as well : )

  3. 3 John A. Martelly May 18th, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Well there goes my chance of landing my flying saucer in the vineyard. Damn those French. Anyway, loved the show. To make a point, I take issue with what Randall said about Bonny Doon not being special enough. Mr. Grahm, your wine was a major contributor in getting my girlfriend to enjoy wine. Because of your skills(and awesome label) your riesling started a snowball effect that has amassed some great experiences and memories. Therefore, proving that your wine was special.

    As for the BD farming. Something doesn’t make sence to me. Wouldn’t BD farming be cheaper in the long run? I mean, why would you spend money on sprays and fertilizers if you can go without? What point am I missing? My Uncle owed a farm and he never spent money on something he didn’t really need or he could make himself.

    As always great show.

  4. 4 Wineontheway.com May 27th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Boony Doon is one of our favorite California Wines. Their 2007 Pinot noir is to die for and thier 2005 Cabernet was one of the all time greats!

  5. 5 John Jun 30th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Great show guys. I met Randall in Minneapolis Monday night and he is entertaining and a great guy. I got to try a few of the Cigare Volant exclusive wines and they were great.

    Love the show and keep them coming.

    John Glas

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