Monday, October 10, 2011

10/10-Michael Horn talks to Mikhail Gishizky & Craig Haserot

Mikhail Gishizky - Owner / Apprentice Winemaker,

The Spotted Owl Vineyards story began years ago on a warm Napa Valley summer evening. While enjoying dinner in their vineyard high on Mt. Veeder overlooking the Valley floor, Jill and Mikhail were astonished to see a rare spotted owl fluttering in the moonlit sky. As the tiny owl swooped down from the surrounding forest they became mesmerized watching him survey the vineyard then perching himself on a near by vine as though he was a dinner guest joining them with his meal. Overtime the spotted owl became a fixture among the serene vineyard, guarding the vines that have come to be known as Spotted Owl Vineyards. Since becoming a member of the Vineyard Family he is affectionately referred to as "Chuck" the vineyard caretaker.
Jill and Mikhail Gishizky are wine growers who have sold their prized fruit grown in the legendary appellation of Mt. Veeder for many years. In 2004, they decided to create a special wine, "Alexandria's Cuvee", to celebrate the birth of their daughter. This wine was extraordinary, receiving high praise and being called "Sensational" by Wine Spectator. This response confirmed what Jill and Mikhail had thought about the fruit grown on their unique vineyards and convinced them to create an enterprise that would continue their family passion and provide an opportunity for their daughter to experience how nature, science, art, and business come together to make a positive impact in this world.
At Spotted Owl Vineyards we are dedicated to crafting world class wines that respect our environment, support our community and help our patrons enjoy the wonderful gifts that nature has to offer.

Craig Haserot is co-founder and proprietor of Sojourn Cellars. He oversees sales, marketing, and operations, and he also plays important roles in the finance and winemaking functions of the winery. And while he enjoys his work in all of these different facets of the winery, his favorite part of his job is spending time with customers at release parties, wine events, and Tasting Salon gatherings.
During his nearly ten years in the wine business, Craig has immersed himself in all the aspects of the winery business. On the winemaking front, he has served as unofficial assistant winemaker, planted our estate vineyard (Home Ranch Vineyard), and managed grower relationships at a total of 14 vineyards in 2009. Craig’s main responsibility, however, has been to lead Sojourn’s sales and operations, and his success in these areas has enabled Sojourn’s production to grow to 5000 cases.
After growing up in San Marino, California, Craig attended Humboldt State University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He began his 16-year sales and sales management career in computer software with Ashton-Tate and left it in 2001 after working at Micromuse. Sojourn produced its first Cabernet Sauvignon in 2001 and Craig planted the Home Ranch Vineyard in 2002.
Craig lives in Sonoma with his wife Ellen and their four-year-old daughter Natalie.

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