Friday, October 22, 2010

10/25-Andrew Apodaca

Andrew Apodaca-Pyrennes Winery
Apodaca family’s commitment to the superb quality of their wines is evident in its excellent quality and distinction. Pyrenees Vineyard and Winery pulls many of its influences from the Basque country of northern Spain where the Apodaca’s Heritage was originated. Pyrenees Vineyard and Cellars brings to you their many varietals of wines from the finest Oregon grapes influenced by the textures of the rich soil, the abundant vegetation and mild climate of the Umpqua Valley.

Pyrenees Vineyard and Cellars sets along the South Umpqua River surrounded by 30 acres of lush grapes and rolling hillside.  You will find sitting out on the vineyard’s deck overlooking the river extraordinary, while you take pleasure in one of our indescribable wines. Come walk through our long rows of beautifully intertwined grape vines and smell the aromas in the earth and wind that you find as welcoming on your palate as you take each sip of our Vino.
At Pyrenees Vineyard and Cellars we have a wonderful group of people who will welcome you as old friends and take you through our majestic wine selection. A place where relationships are created that last life times and memories will be made that last through-out countless generations!

Monday, October 18, 2010

10/18-Steve Pride, Katherine Strange

Steve Pride-Pride Mountain Vineyards

In December 1989, when Steve was on a break from finishing his doctoral degree in geophysics, he and his parents, Jim and Carolyn, went looking for ranches to purchase; a place to get away from the urban environment and be in touch with the land. Just before Christmas, they visited a 170-acre ranch with forty-five acres of dry-farmed vines in the hills west of St. Helena. The family, including Suzanne, fell in love with the mountaintop setting, the property was purchased a few days later, and thus began Pride Mountain Vineyards.
A lot has transpired since then. Only nine of the original forty-five acres of vines are still in production, the rest having been replanted. There are now eighty-three acres of vines on a ranch that has grown to 235 acres. Since Jim passed away in 2004, Steve has been general manager and overseen much of the recent replanting and growth. "One of the most exciting things about the ranch right now," says Steve, "is the youth of the vines. We see time and again that as the vines get to be ten to twelve years old, the wines they produce become more structured and complex. Since most of the vineyard blocks are still quite young, our best vintages are before us, and not behind us."
In the early 1990s, before the winery was in existence, Steve began his career as an academic scientist. After two years as a post-doc at MIT, he married his French wife Laurence, and became a professor at the University of Paris and later at the University of Rennes in France. In 2000, he took a sabbatical at Stanford University as a visiting professor, which enabled him to spend time with his Dad who was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2001. In 2003, Steve and Laurence, and their boys Tommy and Sammy, moved from France to the Bay Area to get involved with the winery. Steve obtained a staff-scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab along with an adjunct-professor position at UC Berkeley, and now splits his time between Berkeley and the winery.
"Being a scientist is actually good training for owning and managing a vineyard. As a scientist, you are required to solve difficult problems, experiment and hypothesize, and think outside the box; all qualities that come in handy here at the winery. We are taking nothing for granted at Pride Mountain Vineyards, and are constantly exploring ways to push the quality envelope to the maximum. It's a lot of fun."

Initially started by Katherine Strange as a broker of wines the company has steadily expanded and evolved. Strange Wines is now primarily a distributor in Southern California with sales representation from Santa Barbara / Montecito continuing down south to San Diego and into Palm Desert.
Strange Wines now directly imports and represents select imports of wines from wine producing regions around the world.
Our goal is to service our customers not simply the retailer and restaurateur, but also the winery. We strive for a long term relationship between ourselves, the winery and customer.
We believe that you will appreciate our wine selections. We will be pouring wines from Clif Family and Vina Robles.

Monday, October 11, 2010

10/11-Bob Cabral, Nat Komes

Bob Cabral has been involved in growing and making wine professionally since 1980 and has had an interest in wine and farming since his childhood helping his grandfather make wine in his barn. Growing up pruning grapes, irrigating vineyards and harvest became routine on his family’s 70 acre ranch near Escalon, CA. A fourth generation farmer and grape grower from the great San Joaquin Valley, he took all he learned at the family farm and applied it to his degrees at Fresno State University. His passion for pinot noir was evident very early on as he would spend every spare dime, and good chunk of his student loans, on buying wine from all over the world—especially Burgundy and Russian River Valley pinot noir. One of the first North Coast wineries he became passionate about was Williams Selyem. He joined their consumer list during graduate school in 1985 as customer #576, soon after experiencing the Williams Selyem 1983 vintage wines. In the mid 1980’s while working at a large winery south of Fresno, Bob knew that Sonoma County was where he could best hone his skills and learn to make wines that could rival the best made anywhere in the world. He worked the next 11 vintages in various winemaking positions as the Associate Winemaker at De Loach Vineyards, Custom Crush Winemaker at Kunde Estate Winery, Winemaker at Alderbrook Vineyards and Winemaker at Hartford Court Winery. In 1998 Burt Williams recommended that Bob take over for him as Winemaker at Williams Selyem. Bob met with John Dyson, then the new owner of Williams Selyem, and discovered that they shared a similar philosophy about winemaking and viticulture: that the most important aspect of winemaking is in the vineyard. Bob became the winemaker at Williams Selyem July 29, 1998. Heading into his 13th vintage at Williams Selyem and 31st at a commercial winery, his winemaking philosophy has not changed: “The key is to respect the vineyard and value the fruit. Working with some of the best growers and vineyards in the world allows us to farm to the highest possible standards and provides us with the finest fruit available. That’s more than half the battle in working with Pinot Noir. Once the fruit is taken care of, then we try to intervene as little as possible. While there is no shortage of hard work in the cellar and you must still pay careful attention to detail as great wines are really made in the vineyard. My job is to just guide it along and allow the individual vineyard to be expressed in every bottle.” Bob is an experienced winemaker whose meticulousness and patience yield wines that are authentic expressions of each vineyard site. Bob, his wife Heather and daughter Paige, make their home in the Russian River Valley.

"This winery has enabled us to touch a lot of lives - our purpose is about wine, but it's also about people, relationships and the joy of what's shared around wine," says Nat Komes, Manager at Flora Springs. He's not just waxing poetic (though he is, notably, a poet, having graduated with a degree in English Literature and published his own volume of poems, called Nighttime Melodies in 1992) - Nat lives his beliefs as well. At home, at the winery, or on the road, it's not uncommon to hear Nat pondering the meaning of it all - wine, art, or life in the Napa Valley - with a customer, fellow staff member, or family over a glass of Flora Springs wine.
Nat has been training for his current role as General Manager at Flora Springs all of his life: his teenage years were full of miscellaneous jobs at the winery, whether on the bottling line, painting the winery, or washing his Uncle Pat Garvey's vineyard truck. "I think my brother Otto and I were Flora Springs' first janitors," he laughs. But it wasn't until his sophomore year in college at the University of the Pacific that Nat realized he wanted a life in the wine business. "I'd always thought Napa was a lonely, rural place growing up, but after moving to Stockton for school I realized just how special this valley is for me," he says. "It was clear that I wanted to continue the tradition that my family started - what a great gift they've given us."
One of Nat's favorite childhood memories is of the Trilogy release party in 1984, the inaugural year for the Meritage blend that has today become a standard bearer for Flora Springs. "A huge crowd of people showed up," he recalls. "Seeing all those people made me realize that what my family had started only six years earlier was something very special," he says.
In addition to his role overseeing wine production and the tasting room, Nat also manages sales for Flora Springs within the state of California. Like his cousin Sean, Nat feels it's important to keep one foot in the marketplace at all times.
Nat credits his dad, John Komes, as a major influence in both business and family life, and relies on his candor, notorious sense of humor and thunderous, arresting laugh for inspiration. "His shoes are big," says Nat. "And they will be hard to fill, but if I am able to continue the Flora Springs tradition long enough to pass on our values and prestige to a fourth generation, then my mission is complete," he adds.
Nat's wife, Anne, is a native of France, and annual visits to her parents' home in Marseilles reiterate the importance of wine in everyday life for them both. Noting the admiration for many of France's 5th, 6th, 7th, and even 8th-generation Chateaux, Nat is disconcerted by many Americans' pre-dominating interests in the new. "I'd like to break that mold and ensure that Flora Springs is a winery that that will be passed from one generation to the next. Consistent, superior quality is what we admire most about older family wineries, and that's what we strive for at Flora Springs," he says.
Much of Nat's spare time is spent remodeling his Victorian home or playing with his toddler son, Matthias, and infant daughter, Charlotte. Are Matthias and Charlotte destined to take on the role of vintner as the torch is passed to the fourth generation in a few decades? "I hope so," says Nat. "But that's their choice. If not," he says, pausing for effect, "There's always Phileas." (He is referring to the family dog.) The Komes' sense of humor, it seems, is certain to live on as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

10/4-Ren Harris, Dan Teldeschi

Ren Harris-Paradigm Winery
Paradigm Winery, located in the Oakville appellation of Napa Valley, hand-crafts small quantities of estate-bottled red wine. We're known for our Merlot and our Cabernet Sauvignon, though we also produce a tiny amount of Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. Regardless of the varietal, our wines are a rich expression of the vineyard we've been farming now for twenty-nine years.

Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Marilyn's grandparents immigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren's family came to California in 1769. Marilyn and Ren purchased Paradigm Vineyards in 1976, and began producing wine with the 1991 vintage. Since that first vintage, the wines have been made by renowned winemaker, Heidi Peterson Barrett. Heidi's father, Dick Peterson, was instrumental in laying out and designing the winery.

Dan Teldeschi-F. Teldeschi Winery

Teldeschi Winery is a premium wine producer in Dry Creek Valley. The Teldeschi Family owns approximately 70 acres of vineyards in the AVAand makes mainly Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Muscat.
Brothers Dan and John Teldeschi currently run the winery. Their parents, Frank and Catarina, established most of the vineyards. Although Frank has passed away, Catarina remains the family matriarch and land owner.
Frank sold grapes to home winemakers in San Francisco in the difficult years following World War II. There was very little commercial demand for wine grapes at this time, but the Teldeschis persisted, and found buyers wherever they could. The Frei Brothers and Seghesio Family were two of their consistent customers followed by Pedroncelli and Ravenswood in later years.
In addition to Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Malvasia, Cinsault, and Gamay are planted. There is also a bit of French Colombard and Palomino. These are rustic grapes not exceptionally valued for winemaking that John Teldeschi says he feeds to the deer and turkeys so they don’t eat his better varietals.
Teldeschi Winery makes a number of wines with a focus on Zinfandel. The family also produces outstanding Petite Sirah, a Port-style wine with Zinfandel grapes, and a blend Carignane, Valdiguie, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah called Terranova. This wine is made in memory of Dan and John’s father, Frank Teldeschi.