Tag Archive for 'napa'

Freemark Abbey – Old School Napa

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Freemark Abbey’s history began in 1886, when Josephine Tychson established the original winery along Route 29 in St. Helena, becoming one of the area’s first woman winegrowers. Although its name might indicate otherwise, the winery was never a monastery, nor was it ever inhabited by monks. Instead, the current winery name originated in 1939, when its three owners – Charles Freeman, Markquand Foster and Abbey Ahem – combined their names to form Freemark Abbey.

In 1967, the winery was sold to a group of seven partners, which actually set the stage for a new era of winemaking creativity. In fact, the winery garnered the nickname the “University of Freemark” due to the sheer number of innovations and significant winemakers that emerged. During the 1960s, Freemark Abbey winemaker Brad Webb, (subsequently known for his time at Hanzell) pioneered a number of methods that have since become California winemaking standards. And, his use of non-malolactic fermentation for Chardonnay is still used at Freemark Abbey today. In the 1970s, Jerry Luper (of Château Montelena and Diamond Creek fame) worked his magic on the red wines, cementing Freemark Abbey’s position as a quality Cabernet house.

When wine shop owner Steven Spurrier conducted his now legendary blind tasting in Paris, pitting the upstart wines of California against the established wines of France, Freemark Abbey was among the 12 American wineries chosen to participate. In an upset that shocked the wine world, California wines won every category of the tasting, elevating Napa Valley and California wines onto the world stage. Owned by Jackson Family Wines since 2006, the legacy continues with the same winemaker for nearly 30 years.

Join us as we talk with Ted Edwards, winemaker at Freemark Abbey since 1985. We’ll get some history, and hear what it takes to continue to make the wines he likes to make at this venerable Napa landmark.

For more info: Freemark Abbey: www.freemarkabbey.com

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Your Business List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #317
(53:51 min 49.3 MB)

Lot Series with Cameron Hughes

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Cameron Hughes makes a “lot” of wine. Growing up in Modesto, California, wine was never far from Cameron’s line of sight. In fact, his entry into the wine business could have easily been considered a foregone conclusion. His father, Steve Hughes invited him to work one summer in support of his direct-marketing team at his wine company. Cameron found he loved selling wine, and seemed to be good at it.

Once bitten by the wine bug, he sold his wine collection and wrote a business plan for a négociant company. Along with wife and business partner Jessica Kogan, he founded Cameron Hughes Wine, to take advantage of the excess juice and fruit during the “wine glut” in the early part of the decade. In 2001, they began by selling wine from the back of their Volvo.

Cameron works with producers and winery owners to purchase their “finished” wines – and sometimes, finishes them himself. He also works with wine growers to make wine in their vineyard with his company’s oversight. A hallmark, some would say a selling point, is that he maintains confidentiality of the original sources of both the wine and the fruit. With several labels in the CHW portfolio, there could be as many as 70 or 100 different wines on the market at one time – though their “Lot series” has become synonymous with Cameron Hughes.

Join us as we talk with Cameron about the trials and tribulations of being a négociant in the world of wine.

For More Information:

Sponsor: Pinpoint Technologies – Mailing List Source: www.pinpoint-tech.com

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Show #293
(55:07min 50MB)

Napa Road Trip

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Like the grapes themselves, every year seems to bring a new crop of wineries to California. And, while Napa Valley is no exception, we recently found a couple of not-so-newcomers to the region, Sommerston and Hidden Ridge, who have been doing some interesting things, if a bit undetected.

First, we’ll visit with Craig Becker, winemaker and General Manager for Somerston vineyards and winery. Located high in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley, this project came to together after proprietor Allan Chapman purchased the historic Priest Ranch and the Elder Valley east of Rutherford – creating one contiguous 1,628-acre property in 2006. With over 200 acres of vineyards, a winery built from a renovated 12,000 square-foot barn, and 1,500 head of Dorper sheep, the place practically has its own little ecosystem.

Next, we were off to Hidden Ridge vineyards, located on Spring Mountain. “ Hidden” is the operative word here, as this site is way off the main road, and practically hanging off a cliff. When Casidy Ward & Lynn Hofacket purchased the property in 1991, they thought the former site of a private hunting club was the perfect location for a home in the country – literally away from it all. However, they hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to develop such a rural property for residential use. Ultimately, it proved to be a better place for grapes than for people, and they found that Cabernet Sauvignon thrived on the otherwise inhospitable 55 degree slopes at elevations from 900 to 1700 feet.

Join us as we visit with Craig Becker of Somerston, and Casidy Ward of Hidden Ridge to hear about their trials, tribulations and experiences at growing grapes in the Napa Valley.

Sponsor: Wine Berserkers – Wine Board: www.wineberserkers.com

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Show #287
(34:58 min 25MB)

Food and Wine with Michael Chiarello

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With a resume that reads like road map to success, it is absolutely no wonder that award winning chef Michael Chiarello has accomplished so much in the world of food and wine in such a relatively short period of time.

Born and raised in California, Michael has known what he wanted to do since early childhood, and has pursued it with both drive and passion. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 1982, Michael then attended hotel school in Florida and immediately began his professional career by opening Toby’s restaurant in Miami to much acclaim.

Michael was named Chef of the Year by Food & Wine magazine in 1985. The following year he was lured back to California to open Tra Vigne restaurant in Napa Valley, where he focused on Italian-influenced wine country cooking and entertaining. He stayed as Executive Chef/partner until 2000, when he left to create NapaStyle and Chiarello Family Vineyards, as well as host several food shows on television. In 2008, Michael donned his chef jacket once more to open his Bottega Napa Valley restaurant in Yountville – again to much acclaim.

Join us as we talk with noted chef, TV host, author, and vintner Michael Chiarello about his passion for food and wine, and his unending desire to create the perfect food and wine marriage.

For More Info:

Michael Chiarello : www.michaelchiarello.com
Napa Style : www.napastyle.com

Sponsor: California Wine Club: www.cawineclub.com

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Show #254
(53:34min 38MB)

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The Napa Road Show – Part 1

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It’s always a pleasure to visit Northern California’s Wine Country. There’s so much to see and do – as well as taste and smell. With this in mind, we were quite pleased to accompany a small group recently, and head up to Napa and Sonoma to visit to with some familiar wineries; plus, we were able to make some new friends along the way.

Join us as we visit with Mary Rocca and Eric Grigsby of Rocca Family Winery, as well as their winemaker, Paul Colantuoni. We’ll also visit with John Komes and Sean Garvey to see what’s happening at Flora Springs, and then talk with Todd Graff from Frank Family Winery.

Sponsor: GrapeNutz, Wine Site: www.grape-nutz.com

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Part 1

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Show #250 A
(51:13 min 35MB)

The Napa Road Show – Part 2

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In part 2, we sit down with Randy Lynch and Rob Hunter to hear more about Bennett lane Winery in the Calistoga area of Napa Valley. Then, we’ll head west up over the Mayacamas Mountains to Sonoma County and visit with winemaker George Bursick at J Vineyards and Winery. And finally, we talk with Kimberly Pfendler and her winemaker Greg Bjornstad about bringing their efforts to fruition at Pfendler Vineyard in the famed Petaluma Gap.

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Part 2

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Show #250 B
(49:35 min 36MB)

The Wines of Paloma Vineyard

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In 1980, Barbara and Jim Richards were living in Midland, Texas, and began thinking about a second home. They had an interest in wine and started looking for some property in the Napa Valley to build a home and plant a small vineyard. They realized their dream in 1983 when they found a property located five miles west of St. Helena and over 2,000 feet above the Valley floor near the top of Spring Mountain. Vineyard exposure is generally east with many variations, and the soils are derived from the Sonoma volcanics and from Franciscan sandstone. Total acreage is 20 acres with 15 acres planted.

In 1985, after clearing, ripping, and terracing about ten acres, they planted 3,555 bench graft Merlot vines, and 945 Cabernet Sauvignon vines. By 1987, the Richards’ recognized their previous absentee landlord role was insufficient to monitor the vines. So, Barbara came to manage things from January through harvest, while Jim would come to help when he could get away from his business as a petroleum geologist. Their first small harvest was sold to Conn Creek Winery. In 1988, they planted another 2,300 Merlot vines in their last five acres of vineyard.

The early ‘90s were momentous for the Richards’. By 1993, Barb and Jim had moved into their new home in the vineyard, and Pride Mountain Winery released a 1991 Merlot, made from their grapes blended with Pride’s Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. The Richards’ agreed to sell their grapes to the Prides beginning in 1994 and their wine maker, Bob Foley, agreed to make wine from part of the grapes into Paloma Merlot for the Richards’ new label, debuting their Merlot-based blend in 1996. Also, Barb and Jim decided to plant a block of Syrah to see how it would do, and by 1996, they started making the wine commercially as well. Unfortunately, they’ve since pulled up the small Syrah vineyard, and replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2000, the Richard’s finally decided to construct their own winery on the property. A few years later, their son Sheldon joined them in the business, and to this date the Richards’ Paloma Merlot still stands as one of the enduring benchmarks of the variety in California, and indeed the world.

Join us as we talk with Barbara Richards about Paloma – their early years, and what it was like to basically become pioneers on Spring Mountain, and well as Merlot’s place in Napa Valley.

For more info on Paloma Vineyard: www.palomavineyard.com

Sponsor- Gold Medal Wine Club: www.goldmedalwineclub.com

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Show #219
(36:18min 26MB)

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Spring Mountain Vineyard

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Spring Mountain Vineyard is rich with history. After the sudden death of Tiburcio Parrott in the late 1800s, neither the house nor the 800 acres were used between 1896 and 1938.

Eventually the property was purchased by Mike Robbins in 1974. Robbins bought an old Victorian on St. Helena Highway near Deer Park Road and constructed a small winery which became Spring Mountain Vineyards. Soon Robbins outgrew this first location and discovered the wonderful Parrot estate.

After acquiring Parrott’s Miravalle estate, Robbins restored the Victorian residence and built a 17,000 square foot winery at the site of Tiburcio’s wine cave and small winery. Though his primary vineyard was in Rutherford on the Silverado Trail (now the site of Domaine Mumm), Robbins planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc in 1980 on the land around Miravalle. Robbins’ Spring Mountain Chardonnay became highly prized by connoisseurs and was a “cult” wine of the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

Once the site for the former TV show, Falcon’s Crest, Spring Mountain lives on, now comprising four separate vineyards totaling 245 acres in 130 blocks. The Miravalle, Chateau Chevalier, Streblow (Alba), and Draper (La Perla) vineyards are beautifully terraced, rising up the hillside from 400′ to 1600′ in elevation creating several microclimates. The “main house,” an 8,000 square foot Victorian was built in 1885 by Tiburcio Parrott.
Featured during the aerial flyover in the opening credits of the TV show, the house is meticulously maintained both inside and out, and all of the original features of stained glass and molding have been kept.

Join us as we talk with Valli Ferrell, winemaker Jac Cole, and vineyard manager Ron Rosenbrand about the vineyards and this lovely estate.
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For more info on Spring Mountain Vineyard: www.springmountainvineyard.com

Sponsor: Bagged Wine: www.baggedwine.com

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Show #215
(24:29min 17MB)

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Sycamore Vineyards and Biodynamics

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Welcome to our video podcast Sycamore Vineyards and Biodynamics – Video Show #41.

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The name biodynamics might be a term you recognize – or maybe not. Strictly speaking, biodynamics is an agricultural process that places first emphasis on the soil as a living organism. Possibly one of the least understood and/or controversial wine practices in present day enology, the term is derived from Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual beliefs and philosophical teachings. These beliefs stress the merits of using organic methods to maintain the health of land that is producing crops, and the practice is steadily gaining a foothold in current-day winegrowing practices throughout the world.

Join us as we hear from biodynamic consultant Philippe Armenier, and John Bryan, owner of Napa Valley’s Sycamore Vineyards, about what the process has done for this winegrower for Freemark Abbey winery.

For more info on Freemark Abbey and Sycamore: www.freemarkabbey.com

Click Here: Freemark Abbey Winery

Opus One

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Opus One, certainly one of the most iconic wineries in Napa Valley, was the fruition of a 10-year collaboration between Robert Mondavi and Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in Bordeaux. Celebrated as the first joint venture between California and France, the winery produced its first vintage in 1979, having been made, aged and bottled at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. Some 10 years later, construction began on Opus One’s own winery – right across the highway from the Mondavi winery. As with the concept of Opus, the design of the new winery was groundbreaking, combining Greek and Roman motifs with those of early California.

Join us as we talk with Roger Asleson and Michael Silacci about Opus One and its history, as well as its place in today’s Napa Valley.

For more info on Opus One Winery: www.opusonewinery.com

Sponsor: Bagged Wine: www.baggedwine.com

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Show #211
(45:08min 31MB)

If you like this show check out:

Audio #93: Mondavi – 40 Years in Napa
Audio #186: Chateau Mouton Rothschild

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The Wines of Groth

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When Dennis and Judy Groth purchased 121 acres in Oakville in 1981, it included the Oakcross Vineyard – filled with prime Cabernet Sauvignon that had been planted by Justin Meyer and Ray Duncan some 8-10 years earlier. So, it didn’t take long for them to establish a track record with their Cabernet. In fact, Robert Parker gave the 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon the distinction of California’s first 100 point wine.

Fast forward to today, and between 1999 and 2003 they replanted all of the Cabernet Sauvignon with new clones, rootstocks, and new trellising. With all the young vines, they also decided to not produce wine for the Reserve program for vintages 2000-2004.

Join us as we talk about Oakville, Cabernet and what it’s like to be given the first perfect 100 point score on a wine from the U.S.

For more info on Groth Vineyards and Winery: www.grothwines.com

Sponsor: Vinfolio: www.vinfolio.com

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Show #210
(44:13min 31MB)

Click Here: Groth Vineyards and Winery

Winery Spotlight: Shafer Vineyards

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Brian, Jay, Doug Shafer, President of Shafer Vineyards, and Leigh.

Today we interview Doug Shafer, the President of one of California’s premier wineries: Shafer Vineyards. We discuss Doug ‘s journey and transition from wine maker to President and some of the things that make their vineyards such a consistent producer of quality wines. Click here to learn more about Shafer Vineyards.

Doug and his wife Annette are also highly involved in charitable causes. Doug talks about Festa Primavera which benefits local education. There are going to be some incredible auction items so make sure you check it out.

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Show #15
(32:39min 15 MB)

If you enjoyed this episode check out these other related shows:

Audio #16: The Wines of Bob Foley
Audio #93: Mondavi – 40 Years In Napa
Audio #103: Bo Barrett and Ch. Montelena
Audio #108: Winery Profile: Trefethen Vineyards
Audio #125: Winery Profile: Staglin Family
Video #1: The Staglin Family
Audio #148: Wine Maker Profile: Mike Trujillo
Audio #197: The Wines of Dunn Vineyards

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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.

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