Monday, September 24, 2012

9/24-Michael Horn visits with Stuart Spoto & Scot Covington

Stuart Spoto - Owner/Winemaker - Spoto Napa Valley Wines

The Spoto family has been hand-crafting wines for over 30 years.  Stuart Spoto learned the art of winemaking from his father Henry Spoto Jr. who was featured in Wine Spectatorfor his award-winning wines in June of 2003.   This family collaboration has greatly influenced Stuart to create his small boutique winery and perfect his Oakville Bordeaux blends.  Stuart’s formal education is in Chemical and Civil Engineering from the University of California at Davis.  He has also acquired an extensive knowledge in the art of winemaking by working closely with the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.  Stuart’s daughter, Arianna, recently graduated with a degree in Wine and Viticulture from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo and is currently distributing Spoto Wines around the Central Coast.  Spoto Wines is truly a small family business dedicated to producing the finest Oakville Cabernet and Bordeaux blends.
“Family, friends, food and red wine are key ingredients to a happy life” - Stuart Spoto

Scot Covington - Winemaker -Trione Vineyards and Winery

Scot Covington is a California native and a resident of Sonoma County. He is a graduate of California State University, Fresno, and holds a B.S. degree in Agricultural Science, Enology.
Scot brings a vast winemaking experience to Trione Vineyards. In the spring of 1990, he began his career at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, under the tutelage of then-winemaker Bill Bonnetti.

“We experimented with every aspect of Chardonnay winemaking, from the phenolic extraction of whole cluster grapes vs. crushed fruit to planting density,” says Scot. “It was really an exciting time to be a new winemaker, and Bill provided a great learning environment. We were working on techniques in the early ’90s that are common practice today – canopy management, thinning, cryo-extraction, rootstocks and clonal material. Sonoma-Cutrer was on the cutting edge of winemaking technology, and we were really trying to create the ‘Burgundian model’ of California Chardonnay.”

In 1995, Scot was hired as the Production Enologist at Marimar Torres Estate, where his knowledge of Pinot Noir and other varietals continued to grow. While Scot was at Torres, Wine Spectator ranked its Marimar Torres Don Miguel Pinot Noir one of the top 100 wines of 1995.
Scot spent a year with Vergelegen Estate in South Africa, working with Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc wines. In 1997, he was hired as the Experimental Winemaker for Gallo Sonoma, which proved to be another great winemaking training ground. While at Gallo, Scot was asked to travel to Australia to work with Phillip Shaw at Rosemount in the Hunter Valley and Alan Hoey at Yalumba in the Borossa Valley.
The son of an engineer, Scot has always had an interest in construction and design. In 2001, he met renowned winemaker Merry Edwards, and was asked to be part of the construction and design of the Pellegrini Family Winery. As he worked closely with Merry Edwards at Pellegrini, he developed his own defining work with Pinot Noir.
“Unlike many other varieties of grapes, Pinot Noir is so tied to the place it is grown and viticultural practices,” Scot explains. “The clonal selection, yields, exposure and soil are keenly important to the wine’s expression.”
Scot joined Trione Vineyards in 2005. He believes Trione Vineyards & Winery will be his magnum opus.
“Working with the Trione family to build their estate winery is a winemaker’s dream come true,” says Scot. “The foundation for our wines will be some of the best fruit in the county. It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to design a winemaking facility from the ground up.”
“It is my belief that wine develops from the vineyard just as Michelangelo’s David revealed itself from the block of marble,” Scot explains. “In the same way that art shows itself to the artist, wine shows itself to the winemaker. To do anything other would be to change the art of Nature. Trione wines reveal the art of Nature.”

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