Monday, February 25, 2013

2/25-Michael Horn & Nicole Nielsen talk to Drew Hendricks & Dave Muret

Drew Hendricks - Rudd Wines

“Walk with dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you and leave this world better than when you found it.” - Wilfred Peterson
This quote from Wilfred Peterson is one of Leslie’s favorites. It summarizes many of the personal beliefs that have guided his decision-making. Taught the importance of both hard work and customer focus by his parents, Leslie built on this strong foundation, adding excellence, courage, innovation, passion and creativity, and philanthropy to his personal list of success factors. Under the umbrella of these values is his conviction that each generation should leave the company, and more importantly, the world, better off than how they found it. Not one to merely talk the talk, the Rudd Foundation has played a major role in local and national charitable endeavors.

Perched high above the Salinas Valley, the Santa Lucia Highlands promises to become a crown jewel of California viticulture. The AVA has developed a reputation for producing wines with intense fruit character, combined with a graceful, often mineral-laden acidic backbone. Chardonnay is the region’s sparkling gem, representing over half of its production, although Pinot Noir is quickly establishing its own value. The AVA is blessed with quality-minded wineries and vineyards, combined with strong ties to some of the Golden State’s most prolific producers and distributors. Enjoying one of California’s longest growing seasons, vineyard coverage has grown to over 2,300 acres. This north-south oriented alluvial terrace benefits from well-drained granitic soils and shelter from the Pacific Ocean by the Santa Lucia Mountains. Yet the region benefits from cool morning fog and afternoon breezes, drawn into the Salinas Valley from Monterey Bay. The AVA officially starts a mere 40 feet above the valley floor, but vineyards can be found at elevations as high as 1,200 feet, where fog burns off much earlier than below. These higher altitude vineyards have the advantage of more direct sunshine. Coupled with the natural southeastern exposure of these vineyards, the Santa Lucia Highlands have a terroir unique for Monterey.

Resident Wineries
Resident wineries are those with production facilities and/or estate vineyards within the boundaries of the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Boekenoogen Vineyard and Winery
Hahn Estates
La Cave de Mon Lis
Lucia Vineyards
Lucienne Vineyards
Manzoni Estate Vineyard
Margaret's Vineyard Winery
Mer Soleil Winery
Mission Trail Vineyards
Morgan Winery
Paraiso Vineyards
Pey-Lucia Vineyards
Pisoni Vineyard
ROAR Wines
Robert Talbott Vineyards
Smith & Hook
Tondre Wines
Tudor Winery


This list is based upon the varietal content of the wines labeled with the Santa Lucia Highlands designation, as reported by the wineries.
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Petit Verdot
Pinot Blanc
Pinot Gris / Grigio
Pinot Noir
Syrah / Shiraz

Monday, February 18, 2013

2/18-Nicole Nielsen talks to Megan McGrath and Jim Fiolek

Megan was appointed winemaker for Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards in 2007.  Having graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Soil Sciences, she earned her Certificate in Winemaking at U.C. Davis before working as an enologist for Flowers Vineyard & Winery on the Sonoma Coast, crafting Burgundy-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  As winemaker for Cahill Winery in Sebastopol, she had the opportunity to work with Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa Valley grapes, specializing in small lot Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Bourdeaux varietals, and Syrah.

A Biography of Megan McGrath
 Megan McGrath is an eighth generation Californian with a heritage profoundly tied to the land, as the 
family’s Ventura County ranch was maintained until the ’70s. “My mom romanticized the farming life, and 
even though I grew up in suburbia, I felt it deeply,” explains McGrath. She also remembers having a keen 
sensory awareness as a young child and suggests, “I was building a catalog of tastes and smells that I now 
use in my winemaking.” When McGrath was a student at Midland School in Los Olivos, she took her first 
geology class from an influential teacher that inspired her to think about the world in terms of the natural 
  McGrath graduated from Cal Poly 
San Luis Obispo in 2001 with a degree in 
Soil Sciences and earned her Certificate in 
Winemaking at UC Davis. Her first job after 
graduation was working for the Cachuma 
Resource Conservation District, where she 
was involved in promoting soil conservation 
for agriculture including vineyards. Before 
arriving at Lucas & Lewellen as Assistant 
Winemaker under Winemaker Daniel Gehrs, 
McGrath made wines in Sonoma County for 
four years, most recently as the winemaker 
for Cahill Winery in Sebastopol, where she 
had the opportunity to work with Sonoma, 
Mendocino and Napa Valley grapes. She 
managed the winery facility and made wine 
under the Cahill label as well as for custom 
crush clients, specializing in small lot Pinot 
Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux varietals, 
and Syrah.   
Prior to that position, McGrath was retained 
by Flowers Vineyard & Winery on the 
Sonoma Coast as their Enologist, crafting 
Burgundy-style Pinot Noirs and 
Chardonnays. As a soil scientist, she was an 
apprentice to Dr. Alfred Cass with Integrated 
Wine Growing Consortium, a group of 
consultants who are leaders in the field of vineyard development and management. McGrath co-authored an 
article published in the journal of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture titled Compost Benefits 
and Quality for Viticultural Soils. As a passionate winemaker, McGrath may adhere to centuries-old 
viticultural traditions, but she is also tech savvy, utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to maximize 
data relating to the land, displaying it visually using points, lines and polygons.  
  “We make many decisions during the growing, fermenting and aging stages, but ultimately the grape 
really expresses itself,” insists McGrath, who is humble about the winemaker’s role in the process.

Jim Fiolek - Executive Director Santa Barbara County Vintners Assoc

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, February 11, 2013

2/11-Michael Horn talks with Drew Hendricks & HaileyTrefethen

Pairing Trefethen wine with culinary delights is an unforgettable sensory experience when shared with your special someone.
Join us February 14th-17th for a tasting of handcrafted confections paired to our signature wines.
$30 per person ~ $20 per Club Member (2 at this price)
more information: 800.556.4847
Date: February 14
Time: 10:30am - 4pm
Price: $30 per person ~ $20 per club member (2 at this price)
Location: 1160 Oak Knoll Ave., Napa
For reservations: Not Required

Monday, February 4, 2013

2/04-Michael Horn talks with Rick Longoria & Steve Dooley

Rick Longoria - Longoria Wine
Established in 1982, Longoria Wines is a small family owned winery producing acclaimed artisanal wines from some of the finest vineyards in Santa Barbara County. Pioneer winemaker Rick Longoria has been involved in the local wine industry since 1976. His wines are distinctive for their purity of varietal and site expression, balance and compatibility with food. Visitors are welcome at the Longoria Tasting Room located downtown in the village of Los Olivos (open daily) and the Longoria Winery located in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto (open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

Steve Dooley - Owner/Winemaker Stephen Ross Wines
In the summer of 1994, Steve Dooley established a small wine production company based in San Luis Obispo, California. After completing seven vintages (1987 through 1993) as President and Winemaker for the highly esteemed Edna Valley Vineyard in California's Central Coast, Dooley made the transition from President/Winemaker to Owner/Winemaker and now produces wines under his label "Stephen Ross".  

A U.C. Davis graduate with winemaking ex- perience at Louis Martini Winery in the Napa Valley, and the Edna Valley Vineyard, Steve Dooley also served winemaking stints in both South Africa and Australia. 
For Dooley, winemaking has turned out to be a passport to adventure. From his boyhood home in the Minnesota River Valley - also known as the "Valley of the Jolly Green Giant" (where he packed corn in cans as a teenager) - to California, Dooley's career path has taken him to far-flung locations in the Australian outback and the South African Cape. Experiences and insights reaped along the way have played a significant part in shaping his personal winemaking style.