Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26-Michael Horn visits with Gina Gallo & David Hunt

Gina Gallo - Gallo Signature Wines

Gina Gallo followed the footsteps of her grandfather Julio Gallo to find her calling as winemaker for Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve. Today she creates award-winning wines from grapes grown by her brother Matt Gallo.
For Gina, a career in winemaking was inevitable. During high school she worked summers at E. & J. Gallo Winery, and after college she joined the company full time in the sales department.
She was drawn to the creative process of making wine, and years later she began studying at the acclaimed Viticulture and Enology program at the University of California, Davis. At the Winery, she apprenticed under 30-year veteran Marcello Monticelli.
Gina is immediate past president of the International Wine & Spirit competition.

David Hunt - Hunt Cellars
“At Hunt Cellars we pride ourselves on being a hand-crafted boutique producer, making small lots of world class wines,” says David Hunt, owner, winemaker and visionary behind Hunt Cellars. Located on Highway 46 on Paso Robles’ coveted Westside, Hunt Cellars has achieved cult winery status by compulsively focusing on their wine. There is an eagerness for Hunt to show his wines against places like Napa and Sonoma, and for good reason. “When we first opened up our tasting room we, and many other wineries, had to overcome the stigmatism of Paso Robles selling cheap over ripened wines,” he says. But those days are long gone. Paso Robles is being hailed as the next Napa, and part of that is due to David Hunt.

Hunt Cellars is often asked to compete in Cult Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Meritage competitions against Napa and Sonoma’s most acclaimed cult wineries: names like Harlan, Grace Family, Joseph Phelps, Mt. Veeder, Paul Hobbs, and Mondavi. “It is always an eye opener to Master Sommeliers and wine writers that our premium wines compete toe to toe with the most expensive and best that Napa and Sonoma offer,” Hunt says. And as proof of that Hunt Cellars was just notified that in the recent California Bordeaux competition, held by Food and Beverage World, they had won four out of the eight categories and came in 2nd in the Meritage blend tasting. Hunt Cellars won Best White Wine with their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc "Starlight Concertio"; Best Merlot for 2007 "Unforgettable” - Best Cabernet Franc for their 2006 "Opulance" and Best Cabernet Sauvignon with their 2007 "Cabovation" and came in 2nd place with their 2006 Meritage Blend "Rhapsody In Red".

David Hunt said he was amazed and honored that he had won these categories against over 60 of California's top wineries from Paso Robles, Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Lake County, Monterey and others. Said Hunt, “I knew the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc was good, but did not know how good the competition was so I was grateful to have won “Best White Wine.” In the last few months Hunt Cellars has received 96 to 96-plus scores on six of their wines including their 2005 Cabernet Reserve Cask 21, their first Pinot Noir called “Imagine” and their tasty Tawny Port “Oldie But Goodie.”

Hunt, who is blind, has been told that he has heightened senses as a result of his blindness, and some believe this affects his winemaking abilities. “I do not believe in excuses but I work with the wines until I cannot produce a better flavor profile,” Hunt admits. And that takes time, something David Hunt is more than willing to accept rather than rushing his wines to market. “We do not have a set program dictated by barrel aging but we let the barrels and wines tell us when they are ready to be bottled, with the perfect balance and amazing finish.” And Hunt does this with each of the 14 different varieties he works with.

As any wine consumer knows, and as David Hunt routinely says, “Life is too short and you work too hard to drink bad wine.” Has Hunt Cellars become one of the leaders in changing perceptions for high quality wines in Paso Robles? Every one of his high scoring wine says yes!

Find out just how excellent the Hunt portfolio of wines really is. The Hunt Cellars tasting room is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are located at 2875 Oakdale Rd. directly off Highway 46 West. Contact them at (805) 237-1600 or

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