Monday, December 26, 2011

12/26-Michael Horn visits with Dick Calafato, Larry Van Alst, Terry Hall

Dick Calafato - Partner/General Manager Pyrenees Vineyard and Winery
Special guest Dick Calafato will update you on the latest news from the Umpqua Valley, Southern Oregon's fastest growing wine region.
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!

Larry Van Aalst Hosts the What's Cookin' On Wine: Sonoma Wine Report from the Equus Restaurant inside the Fountain Grove Inn

Located just 65 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the hotel is close to the Redwoods, the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River. The quaint towns of Healdsburg, Calistoga and Sonoma are within an easy drive as well as the wine appellations of Dry Creek, Russian River and Sonoma Valleys.

Golf at the private Fountaingrove Golf and Athletic Club located only a half a mile from the hotel or plan a shopping excursion in nearby charming downtown Santa Rosa. Sonoma Wine Country has so much to offer.

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association announces its annual Premiere Napa Valley Wine Auction June 2 - June 5, 2011.
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents nearly 400 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit .

Monday, December 19, 2011

12/19-Michael Horn talks to Christine Wente and Jim Fiolek

Christine Wente - Wente Vineyards
Wente Vineyards is California's oldest family owned and continuously operated winery. Founded in 1883 by C. H. Wente, the winery is now managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. The winery farms nearly 3,000 acres of estate vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, and Arroyo Seco, Monterey appellations, two premier Central Coast winegrowing regions.

Family owned and operated for 125 years, the fourth and fifth generations are committed to producing wines of distinguished character and excellence at an affordable price.

The Wente family shares wine country experiences with visitors to the Livermore Valley at their award-winning Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Greg Norman designed golf course, wine country events center, summer concert series, and two tasting rooms.

Jim Fiolek - Executive Director Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association

The Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Vintners’ Association produces festivals, seminars and tastings and provides information to consumers and the wine and travel media.

For more info, go to

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12/12-Michael Horn visits with Terry Culton & Robert Z. Hass

Terry Culton  -  Winemaker Adelaide Cellars

Terry Culton had no complaints working as assistant winemaker at San Benito County's Calera Wine Co., refining his education under Josh Jensen, one of California's most respected makers of Pinot Noir.

But when Adelaida Cellars offered him a chance six years ago to return to the Paso Robles region - where he worked as a self-described cellar rat for Wild Horse Winery in the early 1990s - Culton knew it was time to strike out on his own.

"It was a chance for me to do my own thing," said Culton. "I knew I would have total creative freedom."

Plus, he said, it gave him the chance to work with Adelaida's HMR and Viking Estate Vineyards. Paso Robles isn't generally noted for its Pinot Noir, but Adelaida's HMR vineyard sits more than 1,700 feet above sea level and is a mere 16 miles from the Pacific.

It is, noted Culton, the oldest vineyard planted to Pinot in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara counties, having been established in 1964 by Central Coast wine pioneer Dr. Stanley Hoffman.

"Calera was a great place to learn, but the opportunity to work with HMR and Viking vineyards was irresistible."

Culton believes the austere, calcareous soils of the vineyards produce superior grapes.
Upon arriving at Adelaida, which was purchased in 1991 by the Van Steenwyk family, Culton made some immediate changes.

One of the first steps he took was scaling back on the use of oak.
He switched from American to French oak barrels, with only about 25 percent new oak. Oak should spice the wine, said Culton, not overwhelm it.

"I want our wine to give you something from the beginning of your palate to the end of your palate," said Culton. "I want people to taste our terroir, not cover it up with oak."

Under Culton's guidance, Adelaida reduced the yields of its sustainably-farmed vineyards, producing fruit with more concentrated flavors. Culton also uses only native yeasts during fermentation and the wines are unfiltered.

"I believe in minimalist handling," he said.

Culton didn't grow up thinking he would become a winemaker. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a psychology degree, but changed careers after moving to Paso Robles in 1991 so his wife could attend Cal Poly.

He wound up working for Wild Horse Winery, where owner/winemaker Ken Volk gave him the job of cellar master. It was there that Culton first worked with Pinot Noir grapes from HMR Vineyard, which Volk purchased.

Volk, said Culton, was "an incredibly gracious man" who became somewhat of a mentor to Culton and others working at Wild Horse (including Jon Priest, now the winemaker at Napa's Etude.)

"He's responsible for a lot of us being where we are today."

Culton continued learning his craft during stints in the Anderson Valley and Oregon's Willamette Valley, before landing at Calera.

Besides Pinot Noir, Culton is producing Rhone-style reds and whites that are gaining fans and generating positive notices. Culton said 85 percent of the grapes he uses are estate-grown and he expects Adelaida to be 100 percent estate-grown within a few years.

And Culton is happy to be back in Paso Robles, which he said retains the close-knit feel among winemakers that was present 15 years earlier, when only a handful of wineries existed.

"I think that's what makes the Central Coast so special."

Robert Z. Hass  -  Tablas Creek Vineyard

Robert Haas has played a leading role in the American wine industry for over half a century. After graduating from Yale in 1950, he joined his father’s firm, M. Lehmann, Inc., a retailer of fine wines and spirits in Manhattan. As a buyer for the company, Haas traveled through the cellars of France, establishing a formidable reputation as a wine taster while forging lifelong relationships with premier wine producers.
In the mid-1960s he set out on his own to import fine estate wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire, Alsace and the Rhône Valley, where he met the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel and became the exclusive American importer for Beaucastel.  As his company Vineyard Brands grew, it introduced the American market to brands such as La Vieille Ferme, Marqués de Cáceres, Santa Rita, Warre’s Port, and Villa Maria. The company also served as a representative for newly emerging California wineries including Chappellet, Freemark Abbey, Clos du Val, Joseph Phelps, Rutherford Hill, Hanzell, Kistler, and Sonoma-Cutrer. He founded the symposium "Focus on Chardonnay" in 1984 to promote dialogue between producers in Burgundy and California.
As Managing Partner of Tablas Creek since its foundation in 1989, Haas has consistently spoken in favor of organic viticulture, minimum-intervention winemaking and wines of terroir and sophistication. He has spoken on wine and winemaking topics at festivals around the country, including the New York Wine Experience, the Boston Wine ExpoSociety of Wine Educatorsannual meeting, Santa Fe Wine & Chile FiestaHospice du RhôneCentral Coast Wine Classic and many others.
Haas is one of four American members of the Académie Internationale du Vin. In recognition of his contributions to the international wine community as an importer, a vintner, and an advocate for quality, he was elected as the AIV president in 2000.  He manages Tablas Creek with his son Jason.

Monday, December 5, 2011

12/05-Michael Horn talks to Richard Arrowood and Dave Pramuk

Richard Arrowood - Winemaster Amapola Creek Vineyards & Winery
Richard is an iconic winemaker who has recently completed his 46th harvest in Sonoma County. Throughout the years, Richard has gained critical acclaim and a world-wide reputation for crafting exceptional wines. In 2005, Richard and his wife Alis founded Amapola Creek, a tiny, ultra-premium winery in the Sonoma Valley to focus on producing small quantities of organically farmed wines including a Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel (SRP $$40), an Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $$70) and Cuvée Alis, a Rhône blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Dave Pramuk was born and raised in Napa in a medical family. After graduation from CSU Chico and newspaper work, he began a career working in sales and public relations at Napa Valley wineries. A Founding Partner in Robert Biale Vineyards and lifelong friend of Bob Biale all the way back to grammar school, Dave is a board member of the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley and active in Appellation St. Helena, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers and Petite Sirah’s P.S. I Love You. Dave is responsible for the Biale winery’s marketing, sales, and communications.