Monday, August 27, 2012

8/27-Michael Horn visits with Terry Hall & Jim Fiolek

Terry Hall - Napa Valley Vintners

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 .

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

8/20-Michael Horn talks with Daniel Vu & Louie Lucas

Heitz Wine Cellars inhabits a pristine valley in the eastern hills of St. Helena known to the locals as Spring Valley. In 1964, Joe and Alice Heitz acquired this 160-acre ranch and winery to accommodate their burgeoning family business.
The gray stone cellar, constructed of hand-chiseled perlite in 1898, safeguards Heitz' collection of French oak barrels which are filled with aging wine. The rich patina of its weathered walls is in perfect harmony with the high-tech equipment dotting the landscape of the winery's grounds in the 21st century.
Second generation Kathleen Heitz Myers and David Heitz are now at the helm as president and winemaker. They have each been integral to the success of the family business since the 1970s, helping to build the worldwide reputation for Heitz Cellars --- a name that has become synonymous with luxury in the world of winemaking.
Heitz Wine Cellars has earned countless accolades for its dazzling wines every year since 1961. Their three renowned vineyard-designated wines --- Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Bella Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon --- are the highlight of the winery's distinguished resumé.
Heitz' remarkable Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has been a collector's favorite for over 46 years. Wine Spectator underscored this wine's legendary status by selecting Martha's Vineyard Cabernet as one of the Top 12 wines of the 20th Century.
Heitz Wine Cellars' Chardonnay, Grignolino, Zinfandel and Port have also earned their share of ardent fans over the years. To many admirers, the Heitz label is the premiere symbol of fine wine and graceful hospitality.
"We handcraft our wines with the utmost respect for the incomparable vineyards of the Napa Valley. It's a real pleasure to share a bit of their magical bounty in every bottle of wine we make." - Kathleen Heitz Myers, President
Since the winery ranch also includes the Heitz' family home, we direct visitors to our original site on St. Helena Highway where we have welcomed wine lovers for over half a century.

Louie Lucas - Lucas & Lewellan
Originally from the Central Valley of California, Louis Lucas is one of California's premier grape growers. He literally grew up in the business. His father, son of Croatian immigrants, was a leading table grape grower in California for decades. Louis is best described as an innovator and a master at utilizing a variety growing practices and techniques. His vast knowledge and viticulture expertise span over 35 years, making him a sought after speaker, consultant, Louis has sold wine grapes to many wineries over the years including: Sebastiani, Korbel, Chateau Montelena, ZD, Wente Brothers, Ridge, Callaway, Bargetto, Kendall-Jackson, Robert Mondavi, Steele, Rusack, Fess Parker, Sunstone, Dan Gehrs, Austin Cellars, Foxen, Sanford, Viansa, Fiddlehead, McKeon-Phillips, Rideau and Bonny Doon.

Monday, August 13, 2012

8/13-Michael Horn visits with John Komes & Carol Kozlowski

John Komes - President and Proprietor, Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards
While John Komes will say that hard work and a stellar team are the keys to the longtime success of Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards, first-hand interaction with John hints that the secret ingredient to Flora Springs' success is John's charisma. He's a laugh-out-loud kind of guy, who when he smiles, his eyes dance. He teases, he jokes, he holds court in any group situation, and makes everyone in his midst feel like a member of the Flora Springs family. Underneath his convivial exterior lives a hardworking tenacity and an enduring passion for wine.
Growing up in San Francisco in the mid 1950s, John was the son of the President of construction giant Bechtel Corporation. John graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Business Administration and followed in his father's footsteps as a businessman, building a thriving construction business of his own based in the East Bay of San Francisco. John's entrepreneurial drive can be traced to his father Jerry Komes, legendary for being self-taught in everything from swimming to engineering by reading.
John's interest in wine began as a hobby in the early 70's when his wife Carrie sent him to a wine appreciation class near their home in Pleasant Hill, CA as a gift. From there it became an obsession, and he attended more and more classes. It wasn't long before he was making his own wine at home as a hobby.
In 1977, his father Jerry Komes retired to the Napa Valley, purchasing a home that included an abandoned winery and vineyards. With his growing interest in wine, the potential of the property piqued John's interest and the thought of making premium wine in the beautiful Napa Valley led him to found Flora Springs in 1978 with his parents, his sister Julie Garvey and his brother-in-law Pat Garvey.
John eventually moved his construction business to the Napa Valley, using his enterprising ingenuity to specialize in building and renovating wineries. When the demands of Flora Springs grew to be too much, John gave up doing any construction that didn't involve the winery. Instead, he painstakingly renovated each winery building on the property, eventually turning the two abandoned cellars into separate winery facilities and supervising the construction of 1,000 linear feet of wine caves.
As President, John oversees all aspects of the winery's production, sales and marketing. John credits his family's drive, determination and unquenchable thirst for knowledge as one of the main contributors to the success of the winery for the last 30 years.
John sees a bright future for Flora Springs as he gears up to let his son Nat Komes, Flora Springs' General Manager, and nephew Sean Garvey, Flora Springs' Communications and Production Director, take the lead. "This is more than a business, it's an art. Both Nat and Sean are the type of creative thinkers we need for the future of Flora Springs as one of the premier family-owned wineries of Napa Valley," he smiles.

Carol Kozlowski - Kozlowski Farms
Our family has always believed: If you have a passion for something; go for it. That’s what Carmen and Tony Kozlowski did when they bought their first Sonoma County apple farm in 1949, and again two years later, when they bought the adjacent property that would become Kozlowski Farms.

They decided to plant their picturesque Russian River Valley farm to juicy Gravenstein, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Red Rome apples. Knowing it would take seven years for the young trees to bear fruit, Carmen and Tony had the revolutionary idea of planting raspberries between the trees. They were also successful in cultivating blackberries, blueberries and cherries.

With so many beautiful berries for inspiration, Carmen was soon pursuing another of her passions: Baking and canning. At first, she made her jams and pastries just for family and Kozlowski farmhands. Then she started selling them at the entrance to the farm, and word of Carmen’s irresistible wine country cooking spread.

One of Carmen’s most popular creations was her no-sugar-added raspberry spread—a genuine novelty in the early 1970s, and like everything else that she made, all natural. Her secret was sweetening the spread with a combination of apple juice and dried apples that came from the family’s orchard. Quality ingredients and traditional farm fresh cooking defined Carmen’s specialties, which is why today, her recipes are still the backbone of the family business.

The Second Generation

Carmen and Tony’s three children: Carol, Perry and Cindy, shared their parents’ love of Sonoma County farming, along with their roll-up-your-sleeves, old-fashioned work ethic.

It was a good thing too, because this is how Kozlowski Farms launched its specialty food and retail business: In 1969, with the first crop of raspberries ripening on the vine, Tony got up one morning, gave his daughter Cindy a refrigerator and told her she’d be running the retail side of the business. She was 13 years old. He told Carol, then 19, to run the raspberry picking crew, and then turned to his 16-year-old son and said: “Perry you’re driving the truck.”

Trial by fire never tasted so good.

Going For Organic

Living and working together on the family farm, the second generation naturally began to think about the importance of agricultural preservation. In the early 1980s, Kozlowski Farms transitioned to organic agriculture and became one of the first California Certified Organic Farmers (C.C.O.F) in Sonoma County.

A Sonoma County Classic Continues

After the death of their father in 1982, Carol, Perry and Cindy were determined to see the family business flourish. They were off to a great start. Kozlowski homemade specialties were a hit, and the kitchen was always cooking. One busy day, Perry came into the kitchen to help out, and he never left. An accomplished home chef and grilling guru, Perry took over the no-sugar-added fruit spread and fruit butter making and began lending his culinary expertise to the creation of barbecue and grilling sauces.

Meanwhile, Carol, who had also inherited her mother’s love of cooking, began bottling her homemade salad dressings as a complement to the family’s wildly successful Red Raspberry Vinegar. They soon introduced flavorful fat-free dressings and a line of specialty canola oil-based dressings to the market.

In 1999, Kozlowski Farms—located in the famed Russian River Valley—planted its first Pinot Noir grapes. And once again, the family joined together to make an outstanding agricultural product. Mammy Carmen’s eldest granddaughter, Tracy, and her husband Joe Dutton began crafting the family’s boutique-production Pinot Noir at their Dutton Estate Winery near Sebastopol.

At various times, each of Mammy Carmen’s grandchildren have worked part time on the farm, and two of them—Kyle Hayworth and Janae Kozlowski—currently work at the family business full time. Today, Kozlowski Farms is proud to be a third generation-strong family business in the heart of Sonoma County.

A Sense of Place

Located five miles north of Sebastopol near the town of Forestville, the Kozlowski Farm itself is steeped in California history. We’re part of the old El Molino Rancho, a large ranch belonging to the last Mexican Governor of California, General Mariano Vallejo, before he granted it to his brother-in-law, Captain John Bautista Rogers Cooper, in 1834. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

8/6-Michael Horn speaks to Barrie Lynn, Gary Pisoni and Heather Muran

Barrie Lynn - The Cheese Impressario

Welcome to The Cheese Impresario!

Here we are going to talk about all kinds of cheeses from all around the world. We will learn together and I will help you bring the world of cheese closer to your heart and learn the great enjoyment that it can bring to you, your family, and your guests.

I am the cheese columnist forThe Beverly Hills Times and write the monthly "Cheese Matters" column that covers all things cheesy. I will keep you posted on events that I will be covering and other cheese events in your local area.

At Pisoni Vineyards & Winery, we are committed to growing the best grapes possible and producing exceptional handcrafted wines that represent our vineyard and the dedication of our family. When Jane and Eddie Pisoni started farming vegetables in the Salinas Valley in 1946, they had no idea what lie ahead for the future Pisoni generations. They started a heritage that continues today. Their son Gary, an avid wine collector, had ambitious dreams of his own vineyard. In 1982, against many obstacles, Gary planted his first 5 acres of vines. With the success of his first vineyard, he planted an additional 40 acres. Today Pisoni Vineyards consists primarily of Pinot Noir, with most of our grapes sold to recognized producers of vineyard-designated wines. The partnerships with these small wineries are based on long-term friendship and enthusiasm for great wine. In 1998, we started retaining a small percentage of grapes for our own Pisoni Estate label. Gary Pisoni exudes passion—for adventure, for family and friends, for grape growing and definitely for wine. He is the Burgundian-crazed founder and visionary of Pisoni Vineyards & Winery. After collecting and making wine for most of his life, Gary wanted to plant a vineyard of his own. He was fascinated by the mountain landscape of the ranch his parents purchased in 1979, so he decided to plant the first vines early in the spring of 1982, without even having a source of water. As he will tell you, the story started with him driving a water truck from the Salinas Valley floor to the vineyard to irrigate his young vines, which would struggle to survive in the shallow, granitic soil. After ten years, Gary finally discovered a well hidden within the far reaches of the mountains. With this source, Gary propagated his vines and began selling grapes to California’s finest Pinot Noir producers. In 1998, he started the Pisoni Estate label. According to Wine Enthusiast, this free spirit and maverick among winegrowers personifies the new face of American Pinot Noir.

Heather Muran - Executive Director SLO Vintners Assoc.

You know you are in the heart of wine country. Back country roads lined with vineyards, rolling hills, a light breeze, and blue, blue skies. A feeling of peace sets in. From the people who greet you, to the laid back setting of San Luis Obispo, an un-crowded, un-hurried and un-pretentious wine tasting getaway awaits.
Midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the SLO (that’s what we locals call it) wine region is comprised of three pristine viticulture areas: the Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley and Avila Valley. Our small, mostly family-owned wineries are well known for their hand-crafted bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Zinfandel and more.
The marine influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean provides a mild summer and warm fall, resulting in an unusually long growing season. Combined with the region’s rocky volcanic soils, these growing conditions produce fruit with intense varietal character and complex flavors that are typically found in the world’s greatest wine regions. The SLO life. Wine tasting with family and friends. Exploring the sidestreets and byways of our many small towns. Playing on white sandy beaches, savoring the outstanding cuisine of our local restaurants, or just hanging out. It’s how we live. And you’re welcome to join us.