Monday, March 25, 2013

3/25-Michael Horn and Nicole Nielsen visit with Jeff Pisoni and David Fleming

Jeff Pisoni - Winemaker, Pisoni Vineyards
Jeff Pisoni is the winemaker. He earned a B.S. in Enology at California State University, Fresno, and got hands-on experience at premium wineries before becoming the Pisoni Estate and Lucia winemaker in 2002.

"The Pisoni Brothers (Mark and Jeff) are turning one of America's great vineyards into one of its great wineries." 
-Richard Nalley, Food & Wine

The Wine

The Pisoni Family produces one wine each year under the label bearing its name: Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir. Although actual quantities vary with fruit yields, typical production is a mere 500 cases annually.

Often noted for their deep color and intensity, wines from Pisoni Vineyards offer complex flavors and layers of undulating texture. The rocky mountain soil and the long, cool growing season provide the fundamental character of the wine, and the tannin and acid structure contribute to the age-worthiness.

The Philosophy

As Émile Peynaud once said, "Wine is both a reflection of the people who make it and the region that produces it …" In accordance with the legendary French winemaker, the Pisoni Family's ultimate goal is to create a great wine that represents this vineyard site and the passion of the family.

The Craft

Wines are made from several different blocks, harvested on different dates. Winemaker Jeff Pisoni vinifies small lots with a focus on artisanal methods and a non-interventionist style of winemaking: hand sorting, native yeast fermentation, hand punch-downs, no fining, no filtration. This philosophy retains the character of the wine and the vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands.


The Site

A special place, Pisoni Vineyards expresses the land and climate of the Santa Lucia Highlands and the spirit of the Pisoni Family. The site is a source of exceptional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah.

First planted by Gary Pisoni in 1982, Pisoni Vineyards consists of small vineyard blocks arranged on and around the ridges of the mountainous landscape. Ranging in size from one-half to seventeen acres, the vineyard blocks perch at an altitude of 1,300 feet in the granite-laced mountains of the coastal Santa Lucia Range.

The Philosophy

Inspired by the Burgundy tradition of having several wineries source fruit from the same vineyard, Gary Pisoni has formed relationships with some of the most prestigious Pinot Noir producers in California. With agreements based on handshake alone, these wineries are guaranteed specific rows and blocks each year. They purchase grapes at a per-acre price rather than a per-ton price, which maintains the focus on quality and not yields.

In addition to supplying fruit to artisan producers of vineyard-designated wines, the Pisoni Family retains a portion of the vineyard for the production of Pisoni Estate wine.

The Practice

Vineyard management is meticulous. Under Mark Pisoni's leadership, a long-time permanent crew of 18 skilled individuals perform all the work by hand. Every decision implements sustainable farming practices and long-term considerations.

This commitment, combined with the rocky soils and cold Monterey Bay weather, produce serious and compelling wines.

Bibliana González Rave - Rave Vines & Wines
As a 14-year-old girl growing up in Colombia, the thought of making wine seemed to be an impossible dream. At age 16, I was determined to prove otherwise. 
I attempted to make my first wine, in a 5-gallon glass jar, in my bedroom closet without so much success. Nevertheless, the experiment marked the beginning of my career as a winemaker. 
With literally no more than a backpack and lots of expectations, I went to France to learn about wine. After five years of total immersion in all things French, I obtained a degree in Viticulture, a DNO of Enology (Diplôme National d'Œnologue) from Bordeaux and the experience of five harvests.

David Fleming - Winemaker, Paraiso Vineyards 
As the Paraiso Vineyards winemaker for more than a decade, Dave manages all aspects of winemaking and production. He is crazy-passionate about vineyard expression in his wines, and is very careful not to “over-make” them. Never satisfied with his extensive winemaking knowledge, he is an eternal student always looking to learn more. Married to Rich and Claudia’s daughter Kacy, Dave is a part of the Smith family. He spends his off-time with their three kids at various sporting events and volunteering in the local Monterey County community. Unless the Redskins are playing…then he’s in front of the television with a glass of Paraiso.

Monday, March 18, 2013

3/18-Michael Horn and Nicole Nielsen visit with Henry Patland

Henry Patland - Proprietor Patland Estate Vineyards

In 1978, Henry immigrated to the United States with his family from the Ukraine. Living during Soviet regime, he understood early on the value of hard work. He found his first job in the states at the age of twelve, delivering newspapers at night and going to school during the day. Henry graduated from Washington High School in San Francisco and continued his education in UC Santa Cruz in Computer Engineering. During his second year, he met Olga, who had only recently immigrated to the United States from Israel. She later graduated with a degree in Multimedia Communication and Graphic Arts. Two years after the birth of their first son, Michael, Henry co-founded a High Tech company in Silicon Valley. Olga then gave birth to twins, Felix and Kevin. While raising her three boys, she maintained her work in publishing. And while the dream of a winery was put on hold, it was never too far from their hearts. In 2007, Terra Del Cuore was purchased and Patland Estate Vineyards was established. In 2010, the first PEV wines were released.

Today, Henry and Olga, together with their three sons, the support of their families, and the exceptional talent of Jay Buoncristiani, have taken Patland Estate Vineyards to a great start, and continue to reach new heights. 

The Family invites you to come and visit the beautiful Napa Valley, pour a glass of Patland Estate Vineyards wine, and enjoy the Tuscan landscaping of the Terra Del Cuore Estate.

Chris and Cathy Weidemann met in 1994 while studying Viticulture and Enology at U.C. Davis. Amongst classes and exams, and while subsequently working in Napa Valley, they shaped their dream of founding a small artisan winery.
The Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey ultimately provided the ideal location for the project: offering just the right combination of terroir and opportunity. While working in Monterey, Chris and Cathy were able to forge relationships with Gary Franscioni of Rosella's Vineyard, and Rich and Claudia Smith of Paraiso Vineyards, thereby securing access to what they regard as the best Pinot Noir and Syrah sites in the area.
As an Assistant Winemaker for Newton Vineyard and later at Morgan Winery, Chris has honed his craft alongside winemakers John Kongsgaard and Dean DeKorth. He describes his winemaking style as a joining of John's focus on intense and dramatic wines with Dean's discerning sensibility regarding textural balance and complexity.
Cathy brings a love of food and wine along with a business foundation to the enterprise, having completed her MBA at San Jose State University. She has also worked as communications and marketing director for Paraiso Vineyard conveying winery image to press as well as consumers.

Monday, March 11, 2013

3/11-Michael Horn & Nicole Nielsen talk to Jaime Orozco and Heather Muran

Jaime Orozco - Associate Director of Sales and Marketing - Mi Sueno Winery

Perhaps new to the Mi Sueño team, Jaime is no stranger to the wine industry. Rising up the ranks in the hotel and restaurant industry, he discovered his passion for wine while working for Miner Family Winery. Like Rolando, Jaime is yet another example of a Mexican immigrant in pursuit of the American Dream. It seems so fitting that he found his way to Mi Sueño Winery. Jaime recieved his bachelors degree from Sac State in PR and Marketing, making him second in his family to graduate from college.

Heather Muran - Executive Director - San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association

The wineries of SLO Wine Country boast an average distance of just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in prevailing marine conditions that are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California.
Collectively, these growing conditions forge a unifying wine quality that is native to SLO Wine Country:


The reliable cooling effect of the nearby Pacific Ocean ensures a long growing season, enabling the grapes to achieve physiological ripeness and natural balance. Cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir excel in the heart of SLO Wine Country, and even the warmest areas benefit from considerable marine influence.    


The ocean proximity also exerts a moderating effect on the climate, minimizing temperature swings so that growing conditions are rarely hot or cold. The result is an extraordinarily steady growing season that fosters balanced ripening and consistent quality from vintage to vintage.


The imprint of the ocean is also evident in SLO Wine Country's uncommonly complex soils, which are frequently riddled with ancient sea fossils. Soil variation enables the winegrower to mix and match varietals to specific soil profiles, or to add more "colors" to the palette of a single varietal, heightening overall quality and complexity.

Monday, March 4, 2013

3/4-Michael Horn and Nicole Nielsen talk with Rachael Snedecor

Rachael Snedecor - Executive Director Livermore Downtown Inc.

Downtown Livermore

May 4th & 5th, 2013
• Saturday, 5/4 : 10am - 6pm
• Sunday, 5/5: 10am - 5pm

2013 Livermore Wine Country Festival is the largest celebration of wine, craft brews, arts, crafts, shopping, dining, entertainment and hometown charm in the East Bay! Over 150,000 attend each year to explore over 300 vendor booths and to shop at Downtown's incredible specialty boutiques. Enjoy our collection of restaurants that are globally inspired and locally enhanced!

Downtown Livermore — the place to come home to!
Livermore Downtown is committed to preserving Livermore's historic downtown district as the destination place for Livermore residents who want to eat, drink, shop, gather to meet neighbors, and enjoy cultural activities in their hometown.

Livermore Downtown is a member of the California Main Street Association. Backed by the National Historic Trust and the National Main Street Center, Main Street projects take a holistic approach towards economic development. By promoting historic preservation and downtown merchants, and supporting a coordinated approach to design and development, Main Street projects help towns preserve their past as they revitalize their economic and cultural present — they truly become vibrant hometowns that future generations can enjoy.

Livermore boasts a beautiful downtown area, steeped in history reflecting the cattle and wine industries that created a thriving community. We have a very eclectic selection of restaurants and retail shops offering everything from home decor to gift items, fine wines, and, of course western wear.

Our Annual Wine Country Festival, Certified Farmer's Market, Holiday Parade, and Downtown Halloween Carnival bring people to the center of town year round to celebrate the bounties of our agricultural heritage and spirit of our community.