Wine Women on Radio Misfits

Wine Women, Radio Misfits

Recorded weekly at The Panel Wine Lounge in Sonoma, California, WINE WOMEN Radio features members of the nonprofit, professional organization that’s focused on providing the tools, guidance and creativity for its members to attain wine industry prominence. read less

Wine Women – Erica Timmerman, pt. 2
Dec 24 2021
Wine Women – Erica Timmerman, pt. 2
Continuing our holiday entertaining theme, part two of our show with Erica Timmerman focuses on two appetizers and how well they pair with each of the sparkling wines Erica shares. (For a bit of background, listen to part one of the show where Erica shared an artichoke dip recipe here.) First up is a delicious salmon “salad” appetizer. Tune in to hear Erica’s comments about how well salmon pairs with various sparkling wines – especially with brut rosés. One of her go-to ingredients for pairing with sparkling wines is salmon, and we couldn’t agree more. The recipe (below) she shared was handed down from the Russian aristocracy and is, in fact, at least one hundred years old. We also noted this dish goes great with still rosés and other high acid white wines. SALMON SALAD/APPETIZER By Anya von Bremzen Serves: 4 or more WHISK TOGETHER DRESSING 4 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar 1.5 tsp. Dijon mustard Salt and freshly ground pepper SALAD INGREDIENTS 3-4 medium boiled, cooked, peeled, diced new potatoes 8 oz. cold smoked salmon, diced 1 to 1.5 Tbsp. diced red onion 1 to 1.5 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives 1.5 Tbsp. minced fresh dill   Gently toss the ingredients together.  Add enough dressing to evenly coat the salad being careful not to over mix.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Serve with lettuce cups (which we didn’t have during the show, so we went without). Lastly, Erica wanted to compare the relatively young sparklers from the first show, Val de Mer Brut Non-Dose and Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rose, with the to-die for Domaine Carneros Le Reve 2009 Blanc de Blanc. Creamy, lemon-y, with loads of bread dough notes integrated fully into the flavor profile, Erica brought out her big guns dip to pair with this decade-plus vintage bottle: a delicate and elegant caviar dip, that hit just the right notes with the wine. CAVIAR DIP By Ina Garten Makes approx. 1 pint INGREDIENTS 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature1/2 cup sour cream 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons freshly minced dill, plus sprigs for garnish 1 scallion, minced (white and green parts) 1 tablespoon milk, half-and-half, or cream 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 100 grams good salmon roe DIRECTIONS In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until smooth. With the mixer on medium speed, add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, scallion, milk, salt, and pepper. With a rubber spatula, fold in 3/4 of the salmon roe. Spoon the dip into a bowl and garnish with the remaining salmon roe and sprigs of fresh dill.  Serve with chips, toasts, or crackers.   Erica used whipped cream cheese and creme fraiche instead of the sour cream.  She also usually leaves out the milk.  Chives can be substituted for the green onion.  And she added some grated lemon peel. What a way to finish the year! We can’t thank Erica enough for her extensive food and wine pairing tips and bringing so many wonderful wines and appetizers to sample them with. Listen in to hear everyone’s reactions to which wines paired best with each dish and try them at home for your celebrations. Cheers!
Wine Women – Erica Timmerman, pt. 1
Dec 17 2021
Wine Women – Erica Timmerman, pt. 1
We’re winding up the year and the season with two shows featuring guest Erica Timmerman. This is a bit of a departure for WWRH as Erica doesn’t work in the wine or hospitality industries, but you’d never know it from her deep knowledge of wine and food pairing, along with her myriad tips for entertaining and making guests feel great. She says she buys a lot of wine because she loves to share it with friends. (We should all have such friends!) When asked what her go-to wines are for celebrating the season and entertaining with friends, she didn’t hesitate: sparkling wine. Thus, she brought not one, but three sparklers to compare, along with some delicious appetizers to pair with them. Sitting in for M.I.A. cohosts, Misty Roudebush and Lisa Adams Walter, were avid wine drinkers, Kim Martin and Marlys White, both of whom enthusiastically gave everything a try and had plenty of smart questions for our guest. When asked what her go-to food pairing is with sparkling wine, Erica didn’t hesitate. It was a fast “Dungeness Crab!” reply. Lucky for us in the San Francisco Bay Area that season is just getting underway… Tune in to hear all the crab dishes Erica prepares during the season. Kicking off the festivities, Erica offered up the Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rose, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Flavor notes included fruity, citrus, grapefruit, strawberries, sweetness and a bit of dough. It was delicious all around. We wondered how Erica learned food and wine pairing, to which she replied it was just innate because she’s Italian. Lol. Works for us! She did cite that she likes to go daring with her food and wine pairings. And often she will taste a wine and immediately begin thinking about what food dishes it would pair with best. (It helps that she’s a chef!) We got the benefit of her expertise when she shared a Hot Artichoke Dip appetizer with everyone: Ingredients 8 oz block cream cheese (reg) 1 Cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise (reg) 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese 4 oz can Mild Diced Green Chiles 12 oz Jar (or 2 - 7.5 oz jars) of Marinated Artichoke Hearts Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drain artichoke hearts, leaving a tiny bit of marinade behind.  Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Pour into baking dish and bake on middle rack for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbling and starting to turn golden brown. Remove and serve with tortilla chips, baguette, crackers, whatever you like… When tasted with the second wine, Val de Mer Brut Non-Dose, it proved an excellent match. (You’ll have to listen in to hear Erica’s explanation of why the artichoke dip was better paired with the Val de Mer than the Brut Rose.) This Chardonnay-based crémant was bright, refreshing, with a completely different flavor profile, featuring green apples, a touch of caramel and far more dough or brioche notes than the previous wine. Paired with the artichoke dip, and what Erica referred to as the “secret ingredient,” the Val de Mer showed why it’s a go-to sparkling wine for any season. (Oh, and that “secret ingredient”? Listen carefully to what Erica thought made the dip stand out above the usual, mayo-based hot artichoke dips! As for the other wines and appetizers? Stay tuned for part 2 of our show with Erica next week, when we’ll taste and pair more sparkling wine and deeee-licious appetizers you can try at home.
Wine Women – Chef Lauren Kershner (part 2)
Dec 10 2021
Wine Women – Chef Lauren Kershner (part 2)
The celebration continued into our 101st podcast, with guest Chef Lauren Kershner. In part 1 of our interview with her, we talked extensively about the origins of her new endeavor, Songbird Parlour, in Glen Ellen, California. In the second part, we turned to her holiday hospitality tips and business advice. Among Chef Lauren’s recommendations during the show were dialing up your holiday parties by offering gourmet cheeses to guests and not just the usual cheese log fare. Co-host Lisa Adams Walter responded that great cheeses were one of her three vices (one of the others is yummy Sauvignon Blanc). Turning to challenges facing any catering and hospitality business, we asked Chef Lauren about what issues she’d been facing recently. And surprisingly to the hosts, it was the lack of heirloom tomatoes. (Evidently the season had been too short for them to get to market.) Chef Lauren mentioned climate change is affecting the supply of ingredients available to her and her staff. That means she has to be more general in her menu descriptions, which gives her the freedom to substitute when ingredients either aren’t available or bring in special ingredients that wouldn’t otherwise have been available to her. When she was first getting started, she didn’t have a fixed menu and was regularly reinventing the catering wheel (per se) for each client. She soon learned it was a better business practice for her to set her menus. With them in place, she then could offer clients variations or substitutes as availability and seasonality necessitated. The cohosts wondered how Chef Lauren, as a young graduate (at 19 y.o.) of Le Cordon Bleu, learned about food and wining pairing. Tune in to hear Lauren’s answer. But suffice it to say that her time in wine country has afforded her the opportunities in the past decade to hone her skills in balancing flavor weight, fats, acids and more. Under her Goodness Gracious Private Chef & Catering company, Chef Lauren offers a number of different catering packages. Most popular are the private chef experiences, often requested by those visiting the region in AirBnBs. She mentioned that she designed her various offerings based upon how she would like to experience wine country if she was visiting from elsewhere. That includes maintaining healthy eating habits and exercise. One of the other popular experiences she offers is a yoga and champagne brunch experience, where the yoga instructor arrives on site to take guests through a class before sitting down to a stellar brunch with a wine country view. Next, the cohosts turned to the food and wine pairing, featuring Ferren Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. Lisa noted their wines were sold entirely by allocation. The bottle she brought was stunning with a classic, cool-climate tasting profile, including notes of fresh cherry. Lauren explained her pairing strategy, as she said pinots are versatile to pair food with. Her method? Switch up the smooth, fruit flavor profile of the wine with spice. She preferred pork over beef or lamb. She crafted bites made from chorizo sausage base with orange gastrique, topped with microgreens – a combination none of the hosts would have come up with (which is why Chef Lauren is the gourmet professional)! This paired beautifully with the Ferren Pinot Noir. But wait! There’s more… In contrast to the spicy charcuterie and citrus bites, Chef Lauren also prepared bites of brie topped with brandied cherries and pinot noir-infused sea salt. While very much a flavor opposite to the spicy meat and citrus bites, the fat in the brie, along with the brandied cherry, made for a wholly different, but very dynamic and delicious pairing. Munching away on these goodies, the hosts wanted to know more about Chef Lauren’s career and observations about success. Having not only survived but thrived and expanded her business during the pandemic, to what did she attribute her success? Unsurprisingly,
Wine Women – 100 with Chef Lauren Kershner
Dec 3 2021
Wine Women – 100 with Chef Lauren Kershner
We were thrilled when Chef Lauren Kershner agreed to help us celebrate our 100th  podcast. Chef Lauren, founder and culinary director of Goodness Gracious Private Chef & Catering in Sonoma, had been searching for the right facilities for some time to serve her team’s expanded catering needs. Additionally, she’d been wanting to offer her own venue for private events and parties. These dual goals neatly intertwined and became available in one space within Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village. Built in 1839 (with the sawmill General Vallejo constructed at the confluence of the Asbury and Sonoma Creeks to process locally harvested redwoods), the property was converted into a gristmill nearly two decades later, then a winery and distillery. It was replaced in the 1940’s with the current building. Here, Lauren could envision a home for her growing team of chefs and catering managers, as well as building out the space as a private events venue. Songbird Parlour was born! In their new space (that just opened) guests can experience a glimpse into a bygone era, when the social elite would gather in salons to tell stories and discuss art and culture. Designed to evoke your senses with modern and global food, art and music, and inspiration from around the world, this modern Victorian event parlour and dining experience has been reimagined for the twenty-first century. But we’re getting ahead of our story! What were some of the hosts’ favorite shows in the past 100 podcasts? Hint: you’ll have to tune in to hear what made the biggest impressions on them. What were common threads they heard from multiple guests over the last three years? Endless curiosity was a recurrent theme, according to co-host Misty Roudebush Cain. And there were several other memories recounted about past guests… To celebrate the occasion, the hosts popped the cork on a bottle of Perrier Jouet Blason Rosé Champagne, a sparkling wine that came highly recommended by guest and sommelier Simone F.M. Spinner. Chef Lauren, who was trained in classical French technique at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Portland, Oregon, prepared two delightful bites that paired perfectly with the bubbly wine. One featured a cheese slice topped with nuts, fruit and a sweet topping. The other was a slightly sweet but oh-so-light dessert olive oil cake. While tasting away, enjoying the plush, deep velvet chairs and divan in a corner of the parlour, Lauren filled us in on her background. Originally from Mendocino, she became hooked on travel while studying at the culinary academy. She incorporates dishes she’s enjoyed during her travels into her repertoire and is the go-to chef for true, internationally-inspired Wine Country cuisine. She specializes in Mediterranean and French fare and is currently fascinated with Middle Eastern cuisine. Her Persian mezah, kookoo, and dill salmon dinner are a must-try! Songbird Parlour began as a dream during the pandemic when the restaurant and food industry had been brought to their knees. Yet, Lauren’s catering business acumen helped the company thrive during the downturn in traditional dining. As we wound up part one of our show with her, she divulged some of her secrets: She felt the need was there for alternative venues. Winemakers and wineries without tasting rooms could rent her space for winemaker dinners and release parties. Visitors to wine country who may be celebrating milestone events, such as birthdays and anniversaries, can hold intimate dinner parties where they can indulge and enjoy life to its fullest. Let food and wine be the center of memories and let conversation guide the night. And tune in to part two next week! To join the celebration, or learn more about Songbird Parlour, playback the 100th show (with a celebratory glass in hand). Songbird Parlour  |  Goodness Gracious Catering  |  @GoodGraciousEats  |  @SongbirdParlour
Wine Women – Kari Auringer, Winemaker, Cornerstone Cellars Pt. 2
Nov 19 2021
Wine Women – Kari Auringer, Winemaker, Cornerstone Cellars Pt. 2
Kari Auringer, winemaker at Cornerstone Cellars, continued to regale us with her wonderful wines and tales in the second part of our conversation with her at their newly opened tasting room in Yountville, California. In the first show, Kari tasted us through Cornerstone’s sauvignon blanc, rosé and pinot noir, three wines from their Taste of Cornerstone experience. In this second half, she tasted us through their merlot, two cabernet sauvignons and a cabernet franc, all of which kept delivering the most delightful flavors and aromas. It's all “location, location, location” when it comes to sourcing grapes for great wines. In this episode, Kari started us off with the Merlot, Oakville Station. As she explained, Cornerstone has about an acre of Merlot that was once part of the famed To Kalon vineyard. Here, she is able to visit the vineyard throughout the growing season to check on progress of the three wines she makes from blocks all nestled together. Featuring melt-in-your-mouth flavor integration, this was yet another wine that could go with most dishes on any Thanksgiving table. During the tasting, we once again experimented with Cornerstone’s current “nut and wine” pairing, noting a bit of cheddar flavor in the salted almonds went well with the Merlot. In fact, different nuts went well with the wines in the Cornerstone portfolio, as we began trying them during the first show. (Cornerstone is waiting upon final permit approval to add their menu of wine and food pairings to the tasting experiences offered to the public. Stay tuned!) Next, Kari poured the Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Station, a signature grape for Cornerstone and this plot of land on the Napa Valley floor. While the hosts savored the marriage of flavors in the wine, Kari explained her process for visiting vineyards multiple times throughout the growing season to gauge the progress of each location. With her extended visits, she is better able to make adjustments in vineyard management and determine optimal ripeness for harvest. At this point in the proceedings, we jumped to their deluxe tasting experience, sampling Kari’s Cabernet Franc, also grown “across the aisle” from the Merlot at Oakville Station. Here was a cab franc grown and harvested in optimal conditions–no pyrazine aromas or flavors poking out like getting elbowed in the ribs–just pure fruit flavors! And while this wine would certainly be enjoyable at Thanksgiving, Marcia thought it might make a great pairing with Chicken Molé, with its layered chocolate notes. While enjoying the array of Cornerstone’s reds, the hosts discussed the challenges Kari faces: One was the general desire of Napa Valley growers to replant to Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa’s most famous grape. It commands the highest dollar per acre. But Kari expressed hope for maintaining diversity in the Napa vineyards she sources from. We also hit upon the unique label design that makes Cornerstone Cellars’ bottles so easy to spot among hundreds of wines on a shelf. Listen in to hear the story of how it developed. With Kari’s unique background in marketing before she went into the wine business, we thought she was uniquely qualified to tell us about the goals and challenges she faces not only as a winemaker but also for the Cornerstone brand. Few have this unique background to bring perspective to both halves of the equation. This discussion and Q&A section of the conversation led to some keen insights on her success: Kari stressed the importance of building strong relationships, as well as trusting them enough to feel comfortable asking for what you need. In fact, she cited her continued outreach, asking for specific introductions and connections as the primary reason she was able to work with Celia Welch. When Celia’s name came through on Kari’s caller ID, she thought it was a mistake. But it wasn’t! And this led to more connections (not to mention a fabulous work opportunity).
Wine Women – Kari Auringer, Winemaker, Cornerstone Cellars
Nov 12 2021
Wine Women – Kari Auringer, Winemaker, Cornerstone Cellars
Bright, airy, and elegant, with Carrera marble tables and wine bar, and a black and white checkered floor, the new tasting room at Cornerstone Cellars in Yountville, California, was a welcoming respite from a busy workday. Kari Auringer, winemaker for well over a decade at Cornerstone, greeted the hosts with beautifully appointed tasting flights, featured as their signature wine tasting experience. We settled into the luxurious, gray velvet armchairs to hear Kari’s latest news. (The tasting room only recently held its soft opening, with food service still to come with final permitting.) “You’re going to get to taste some of our best,” Kari intoned. You would never know from the room’s modern appointments we were sitting in an historic former train station, complete with beadboard walls and the old, sashed ticket window behind us, overlooking their outdoor seating area. We couldn’t wait—not with five wine glasses, each with a generous pour ready for us to enjoy, sitting in front of us. Hence, we jumped right into Cornerstone’s offerings for guests. First up was the Sauvignon Blanc from Farina Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. The color of straw with aromas ranging from tropical to citrus and a bit of apple, it was the perfect wine to kick off our conversation. (We last spoke with Kari a few months ago about another wine venture of hers. Playback that show here.) Tune in to learn how Kari sources from the best vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma and beyond, seeking out the best grapes grown for of each varietal wine she makes. We were a bit surprised (because the hosts are NOT winemakers) to learn it’s gotten a lot harder to find fabulous Sauvignon Blanc in Napa Valley. Next, our conversation took a sideways turn. (No, not the movie, although it did come up later when we tasted Kari’s amazing Merlot, in part two of our show). The sideways turned out to be our impromptu wine and nut pairing. You’ll have to listen in for the longer version of the story, but the short version is that Cornerstone is currently pairing its wines during tasting experiences with a variety of nuts. You’ll be surprised to learn how well each of the wines pairs with specific tree nuts, given their unique flavor profiles. The Corallina Rosé of Pinot Noir added yet another beautiful color to the palette on the table—pale salmon pink. Its classic, rose petal aromas gave way to the floral and fruity notes of a Provence-styled rosé. Layers upon layers of different flavor notes revealed themselves while we debated which Thanksgiving dishes it may pair best with. (Answer: There are no wrong answers if you like the pairing. But if you want to know how Kari pairs it, tune up the volume.…) Did we mention Kari’s cooking show? Or, as she puts it, she talks about the wine while her husband, Jeff, does the cooking. Right now, you can catch Kari’s latest episode, Roasted Winter Vegetables for the Holidays, on Cornerstone’s YouTube channel. (Prepared for Cornerstone’s club members, the winery makes episodes available to the public soon after their club debut.) Pinot Noir is the perennial favorite wine to be paired with Thanksgiving dishes. But as you’ll hear on the show, we all had much to say about their classic, Pinot Noir, sourced from Fiddlestix Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The color. The aromas. The mouthfeel. And the combination of all of them put together. Kari’s leading comment, “It’s a fickle grape to grow and a fickle wine to make.” (This is why it takes an expert to handle this, um, “fickle” variety for best results.) We’d never know from tasting this wine that it might be a bit challenging at times for Kari… She mentioned that there are a number of women winemakers and female up ‘n’ comers who work at the custom crush facility Cornerstone uses in Napa Valley. She noted how eager to learn the younger ones are about techniques, their variations (and when to apply them), and methodologies. She truly enjoys the camaraderie of being invit...
Wine Women – A Wine Women Thanksgiving
Nov 5 2021
Wine Women – A Wine Women Thanksgiving
The hosts’ Thanksgiving wines show got off to a rousing start with a discussion about climate action. Twenty-two CEOs and senior leaders of the International Wineries for Climate Action just called on all wine trade CEOs to join their rigorous, science-based efforts to de-carbonise the wine sector—and begin working towards net zero emissions by 2050. In fact, they’re hoping to halve carbon emissions by 2030. It’s a tall order. In parallel news, the hosts discussed Jason Haas’ (Tablas Creek Winery) rebuttal of W. Blake Gray’s article – Regenerative Disorder: Behind Wine's Latest Buzzword. Haas argues that regenerative organic certified agriculture is the farming you’ve been looking for. Regenerative farming takes the soil health and biodiversity core of biodynamics (without its mystical origins) then adds the prohibition of chemical inputs and government oversight from organics and the focus on resource use, animal welfare, and farmworker equity from the best sustainability certifications. All in all, we’re seeing more news entreating members of the wine community to join in with their efforts to help abate the climate crisis. The hosts then turned their attention towards Thanksgiving plans and recommendations. They noted that recent Thanksgiving wine pairings have run the gamut, from wine pairings with November horoscope zodiac signs, to pairing with Netflix movies. What wines pair with Thanksgiving dinner? Of course there were plenty of traditional pairings offered during the show, such as Pinot Noir and Beaujolais Nouveau. (Under French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is released on the third Thursday of every November at 12:01 am, just weeks after September's “vendage”, when grapes are harvested. And its release always coincides with American Thanksgiving celebrations.) Here’s a quick summary of some of the hosts’ tips for a relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving celebration: Planning and preparation are key for everyone’s enjoyment. Enlist family members to prep various dishes; and prepare as much in advance as possible (including the grocery shopping). Setup your table settings and decorations at least a day in advance. With so many using their fine china and tablecloths for but one or two major holidays a year, get them out, cleaned and displayed as early as possible so they can be visually enjoyed as long as possible. Lisa Adams Walter recommended involving children on holiday prep: Have them make hand drawings of turkeys and other decorations, such as placecards, written in their “kid” handwriting, so they feel they’ve contributed and family can admire their handiwork. About the Thanksgiving wine: Have several beverage choices available throughout the day. Guests and family are often in attendance for many hours during food prep as well as during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football games, the Kennel Club show and other programs and movies. Include non-alcoholic drinks for teetotalers, including mocktails, soft drinks and other creative beverages. Decant older wines and those needing “air” time before consumption well in advance. Offer sparkling wine to everyone as a way to kick off festivities and bring them together over a shared beverage. Wine can be “leftovers” too. Don’t feel obligated to finish a bottle (or two) at the end of the day. Just as the Thanksgiving dishes often taste better as leftovers, once the flavors have had time to marry, wines can often taste even better on the second day. As the show wound up, Misty Rodebush Cain offered a couple of great pairings: First, she recommends Mimolette French cheese as an excellent pairing with big red wines. As a hard cheese, its strong flavors pair well as an appetizer for those in need of nibbles ahead of the big meal. Last, Misty offered up a family recipe for dessert that she swears thrills her family year after year: Pecan Pie Recipe from Jane Cain 2 eggs, beaten ¾ c. sugar 2 T. flour 1 tsp vanilla
Wine Women – Valerie Fisch, Pillsbury Wine Co.
Oct 29 2021
Wine Women – Valerie Fisch, Pillsbury Wine Co.
Valerie Fisch, a woman wearing many hats at the Pillsbury Wine Company in Cottonwood, Arizona, is very expressive. (See the pics!) The hosts loved hearing her stories, laced with fascinating observations. Since the Pillsbury tasting room is in Old Town Cottonwood, we were curious if they’d participated in the recent and nearby Sedona Wine Festival? (See our earlier show on the festival with Paula Woolsey.) Valerie’s story about it was telling of the current state of the wine hospitality industry: Staffing was challenging. The festival was always so heavily attended they could count on overflow traffic to visit their tasting room to the north. Sure enough, even though they couldn’t participate in the festival directly this year, they had one of their best weekend’s ever, hosting a large number of guests in their own tasting room. We wanted to know if Valerie grew up in a “wine family” or had been drawn to the industry for many years before landing a wine job. And as it turns out Valerie gave no thought to a wine career growing up in Southern California. But a family camping trip in 2014 changed everything. She and her family fell in love with the Verde Valley nearby. And wine accompanied the new fascination. They moved to Cottonwood the same year, seeking out jobs in the wine industry. Both she and her husband were pointed in the direction of Pillsbury Wine Company. No “dough boy,” Sam Pillsbury grew up far away in Auckland, New Zealand, and became a filmmaker and director, running his own documentary production company. Hollywood eventually called, prompting a move to the states. Then a taste from an amazing bottle of a 1997 Arizona Chardonnay blew him away. He had to investigate wine growing (and then wine making) in Arizona. Following his documentary roots, a vast research project ensued: Enchanted with the Verde Valley and also the Sulphur Springs Valley near Wilcox in southeast Arizona (where he now grows the estate vegan wines for his brand at a 4,350 foot elevation), Sam Pillsbury’s first vintage was 2006. He’s been building his wine business ever since. Valerie’s husband landed a wine job with Pillsbury before she joined the company. In 2014, Pillsbury’s wine club had 150 members. Valerie was brought on to organize and manage the club. Today it boasts more than 500 members, much of its growth no doubt attributable to Valerie’s infectious, bubbly personality and inquisitive nature. She’s since added on tasting room management duties to her work. Valerie told the hosts she just fell in love with the people in the wine industry. She loves learning about wine and is endlessly curious and excited about it. (You’ll hear it in her voice telling stories on the show!) Today, the Pillsbury wines have racked up impressive accolades, garnering 16 honors in the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including Best of Class for their 2019 Malvasia; Double Golds for both their 2018 Grenache and Mourvedre; and three Golds for their 2018 Petite Sirah, Syrah, and 2019 Chardonnay. Inquiring about their signature wine, Valerie immediately cited their very popular Wild Child Red, a co-fermentation of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, and Sangiovese, made in a Côte-Rôtie style. But there are many other Rhône style wines in the Pillsbury portfolio, made from Pinot Gris and Symphony (in white blends) to Shiraz. And, oh, yes, Arizona Chardonnay… Returning to the subject of what Valerie sees in her crystal ball for the future and what she hopes to accomplish, she simply stated her focus was her customers visiting the Cottonwood tasting room. She wants them to feel like they’re getting an escape from everyday life, and the wine bar is their second home with cozy sofas and nooks. There, they can visit with their wine “family,” sharing their own stories and making memories. The hosts’ list of wineries to visit in Arizona just keeps getting longer and more fascinating.
Wine Women – Michelle Rulmont, La Belle Vie Tours
Oct 22 2021
Wine Women – Michelle Rulmont, La Belle Vie Tours
Like many, Michelle Rulmont arrived at a career in the wine industry unexpectedly. Having dabbled in teaching, and raising twins with husband Marc, Michelle found herself working as the sponsorship coordinator of the Red & White Ball in Sonoma one year, contacting wineries for donations. (The ball is a fundraiser for Sonoma Valley schools.) She had never considered working in the wine industry at this point but was enchanted to find most wineries she contacted were very enthusiastic to support her and the ball with donations of wine. Their open-hearted nature and easy-going manner struck Michelle as refreshing. When the Rulmonts got a Mercedes Sprinter several years ago, one of their twins suggested to Michelle that she get into the winery tour business using the van (like a friend of theirs was doing). And the more Michelle thought about it and discussed it with Marc and their friend, the more the idea appealed to them. La Belle Vie Tours was born! Today, Marc and Michelle take turns driving up to seven tour guests at a time through the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. As they say, La Belle Vie Tours started over a glass of wine, as they love exploring local wineries while enjoying picnics with a glass of Zinfandel in their hometown. The company name, of course, came from a sense that they feel so fortunate to live 'the good life' in the Sonoma Valley. They love to share the local secrets and what they love about wine country with their guests. Michelle smartly realized they needed a unique hook to stand out from the many wine tour businesses in the North Bay. And she found it almost accidentally when queried about vegan wine opportunities. She realized no one was offering vegan wine tours and that many visitors would often turn to the one vegan in a group of visitors to say, “You pick where we go; we can go anywhere to be happy.” Thus, Michelle began querying winemakers about whether or not their offerings were vegan. And she compiled a list of vegan wine providers for her tours. (To learn more about vegan wines and food, visit barnivore.com.) Realizing that many visitors fatigue of the “rinse and repeat” process of visiting one winery after another, Michelle also introduced another unique offering that has become a huge hit with her clients: a visit to Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary. With well over one hundred forty rescued farm animals (that would have otherwise landed on someone’s dinner plate), the nonprofit sanctuary dedicated to the care of rescued farm animals offers Michelle’s tour guests an opportunity to get up close and personal with pigs, goats, cows and numerous other four-legged residents. Now Michelle’s Vegan Wine Tours, with a stop to visit Charlie’s Acres, has been featured in United Airlines’ Hemispheres in-flight magazine. This has provided La Belle Vie Tours greater exposure and brought guests from as far away as Germany. Besides this unique niche, the hosts asked Michelle about the keys to her success. She cited a number of things that all add up to La Belle Vie’s continued growth and success. First, Michelle says she loves the match-making aspect of her job, i.e. listening to what her clients are looking for in their custom tour. Many visitors are not vegan, but she says that doesn’t deter their interest in visiting Charlie’s nor does it make a difference to non-Vegans that the wine is vegan as long as it tastes fantastic and the experience is memorable. Second, she’s inspired by her own clients and loves to see how happy they are while on the tour and admiring the beautiful surroundings. She says it drives her to seek out even more wonderful experiences for guests. Lastly, she said her partnerships with about a dozen wineries help her do a better job, and membership with organizations like Wine Country 2.0 provide resources to expand her offerings with other members. (Listen to our show with Alison Kilmer from earlier this year about Wine Country 2.0 here.)
Wine Women – Lauren Maldonado, The Art of Wine
Oct 15 2021
Wine Women – Lauren Maldonado, The Art of Wine
Lauren Maldonado is such a breath of fresh air! Our latest guest is co-owner (with her husband) of The Art of Wine in Sedona, Arizona. Our conversation with Lauren was so refreshing due to (at least) two proclivities that have served her well in life: First, she has boundless curiosity. It led her to Sedona and to the wine industry. (You’ll have to hear her story in the podcast to learn how infectious her curiosity really is.) Second, Lauren has dogged determination. While she never said (out loud) that she never gives up, you can tell it’s true from listening to her stories. Lauren’s journey into wine started in 2012 when she settled in Sedona after touring the western states. She hadn’t planned a career in wine, but at each turn learning about wine, she was drawn to understanding more about it and working in the industry. In 2013, Lauren joined the team at Page Springs Cellars, outside of Sedona, serving in the tasting room, on events, and as a tour guide. She joined the vineyard crew and helped farm their vineyards for four years as the only female on the crew. More recently, along with the other women of Page Springs Cellars, Lauren co-founded of Vin de Filles, which takes a specific wine from its birth in the vineyard through to its harvest, winemaking, and bottling, entirely by women. Not only did they oversee nurturing of the vines through winemaking production and marketing, but also the wine’s net profits will be donated to The Verde Valley Sanctuary, a local nonprofit organization that provides shelter and support for women who have survived domestic violence. (Listen to our podcast on Vin de Filles from earlier this summer.) If that wasn’t enough, Lauren made a big leap this year from her work at Page Springs Cellars to co-ownership of Uptown Sedona’s premier wine bar and tasting room, The Art of Wine. Located within the Hyatt Pinon Pointe Shops, they offer over 40 Arizona, U.S. and international wines by-the-glass or for sampling. They also offer craft beers, local meads, seltzers, and non-alcoholic beverages. The shop portion of the wine bar includes a 300+ bottle selection as well as a growing selection of wine accessories and wine art. As Lauren’s experience includes a background in graphic design, she gets to flex her artistic and creative muscles throughout The Art of Wine by curating their art selection and overseeing upgrades to the wine bar’s décor and promotional materials. With a number of light fare options, wine flights, by-the-glass, and happy hour offerings with discounts, and the ability to ship wine, visitors have ample choices to enjoy great experiences at The Art of Wine. (They can even join the recently launched wine club, which offers more customization than we may have seen anywhere! It’s a great way to enjoy a bit of Sedona at home.) We wondered what hadn’t Lauren tackled? What did she find challenging? And what would she advise others entering the industry? Her answers didn’t disappoint. (Listen in to get the fully story!) She told us she was particularly looking forward to expanding the wine bar and tasting room’s selection of art and accessories now that they had just leased the adjacent retail space. The expansion added 500 square feet to the facility. The addition sounded like a necessity given what we were hearing about the visitor traffic to Sedona, which continues to grow at a good pace. Lauren cited the continuing traffic challenges Sedona faces. As more and more visitors arrive to commune with the red rocks, dark skies, award-winning restaurants, and nearby wineries, the more guests she meets from behind the wine bar. Thankfully, she says, they have very knowledgeable staff who are well-versed in the many wines they carry to assist their growing clientele. As for the challenges she faces, Lauren cited the number one problem was insufficient hours in the day. (We couldn’t agree more!) While she said she finds all aspects of owning and growing her wine bus...
Wine Women – Shana Bull, Digital Strategist
Oct 8 2021
Wine Women – Shana Bull, Digital Strategist
Shana Bull is the owner and digital strategist at her own digital marketing strategy agency in San Francisco’s East Bay. She is a lover of rosé, craft beer, and food adventures with her husband and redheaded (feisty) youngster. Shana works with wine, food, technology, consumer brands, marketing agencies and local businesses in the East Bay, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and San Francisco. She’s been named one of North Bay Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Professionals in the North Bay area. Shana is also a freelance writer, producing articles on music, social media, marketing, wine, lifestyle, food and drinks for travel websites, SonomaCounty.com, Wine Country Moms Blog, Sonoma Magazine and wine industry publications. We wanted to talk with Shana in part due to the recent revelations at Facebook. How did she feel about the whistleblower news about Facebook prioritizing profit over safety? How does or doesn’t it affect wineries on social media sites? Her background includes social media marketing and advertising, strategic planning, content direction, public speaking, influencer marketing, consulting on best practices for social media marketing, community management, public relations, and event planning for everything from small wine events and large seminars, to large tweetups for hundreds. Bottom line: Shana’s got her pulse on the digital marketing world! During the show, a number of topics came up of vital to importance to the hosts and listeners: The challenges mothers uniquely face when balancing personal and professional work lives. The added layer of perception when it comes to juggling the personal and professional on social media platforms and the audiences watching. (“Keeping up with Ms. Jones,” anyone?) Shana also offered expert advice on how to balance the content of your social media channels with your audience: How often to ask for the sale? How much education and entertainment to offer? We also delved into management of emergency events on social platforms. (This might also be categorized as Reputation Management in some circumstances.) Shana’s advice in short: Be honest, be transparent. Don’t sweep problems under the rug, hoping they’ll go away. Post-pandemic (for the most part), Shana now spends much of her efforts towards teaching clients how to be more successful on social media. She no longer creates content for clients’ social media channels. Recently she added a whole new channel to her own portfolio of work: author. In fact, she is now co-author, with her son Ryeson, of two Randall the Blue Spider books. The first, Randall the Blue Spider Goes Surfing was an Amazon #1 Best Seller. The second, Randall the Blue Spider Plays Pretend, comes out late 2021. Shana’s own memoir will be making its debut in the near future… Needless to say (but we are), Shana Bull leads a busy life, juggling many balls all at one time. (We even paused the recording mid-show to juggle one of Shana’s many life demands that couldn’t wait…for her dog!) As a woman who’s been working in the wine industry (and now food, technology, and many other industries) for more than a decade, the hosts took away myriad lessons from Shana in how to walk through life gracefully: More than once she has pivoted to take her life and entrepreneurial business in a new direction. “Resilience” came up multiple times in conversation about how Shana keeps it all going at top speed. She even had wonderful stories about where she finds inspiration – an important trait for someone who thrives as a great storyteller. Listen in to hear the whole story. Then, learn more at https://shanabull.com/. Connect with Shana on Instagram and Linkedin. And for more on her children’s book with co-author Ryeson Bull, visit: https://www.randallthebluespider.com/. You may find the perfect holiday gift for a young person in your family!
Wine Women – Harvest and the Hosts
Oct 1 2021
Wine Women – Harvest and the Hosts
While harvest is underway across wine country, we check in with the hosts in this episode. Unsurprisingly, everyone reported mighty tight and busy schedules, with Misty Roudebush Cain just in off a night harvest where she was working with a videographer for St. Supery hours earlier. Lisa Adams Walter announced a new initiative headed by Napa Valley Wine Academy (NVWA), America’s Premier Wine School, and Albertsons Companies, a leading food and drug retailer with more than 2,200 stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia, across the United States. NVWA has developed a proprietary certification program for professional wine stewards within the Albertsons brands. (Listen to our show with NVWA Founder and CEO Christian Oggenfuss here.) Their beverage stewards can take the courses online while on the job, to earn two different levels of certification: Wine 101 and Wine 201. During the show Lisa also talks about a very special and rare bottle of sherry from 1906 she recently got to sample (and mighty tasty, she reports) at a special event. And she shares her personal recipe for Frosé, a blended cocktail gaining popularity. We were all excited to hear from Misty about St. Supery’s latest art gallery exhibit since there have been few shows held in person during the pandemic. Their latest show does follow all safety protocols for those visiting the winery’s gallery. Celebrating unsung everyday heroes who make a difference in communities and neighborhoods across the country, the #InJoy Everyday Hero project, is an event and exhibit that St. Supéry hopes will inspire people to give back and spread joy. In addition to highlighting the stories of everyday heroes on the winery’s website and social media platforms, St. Supéry will feature local volunteers at the winery in its art gallery with the #InJoy Everyday Hero Art Exhibit, presented and curated by Virgie Giles Foundation founders Topher Delaney and Calvin Chin. You can even nominate heroes you know to be featured. Marcia reported in on a number of wine industry stories, of which one of the most intriguing came out of China, where officials made the largest counterfeit Bordeaux wine bust ever. A wedding banquet in China’s eastern Shandong province led police to uncover a whopping haul of US$46.5 million worth of counterfeit Bordeaux wines churned out by a Chinese company that went as so far to fabricate a fictitious war with Château Lafite Rothschild for its Bordeaux estate’s back story. Closer to home, the hosts were delighted to hear Governor Newsom signed legislation that supports sustainable practice in wine, i.e. consumers can refill bottles at tasting rooms. As bottle glass packaging is one of the biggest consumables that is expensive to transport and recycle, this could be a huge win on multiple fronts for the industry to mitigate climate issues. Following that good news along the same lines, we learned that International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) has accepted 12 new applicant winery members from around the globe who have committed to tackle the severity of the climate crisis by taking immediate action to reduce their carbon emissions. These new applicants bring the total IWCA membership to more than 20 wine companies spanning 7 different countries and 5 continents. With the industry news recapped, we turned back to hosts’ activities. We had conducted a deep dive into Misty and Lisa’s careers in a show last spring. So they decided to turn to co-host Marcia Macomber for news on her business, Cornucopia Creations, which offers award-winning website and graphic design services among other marketing services. Marcia discussed her current projects for clients as well as advice she has for anyone in need of website design, marketing or other promotional services, much of which had to do with ensuring you connect all the dots. Without making those connections, business owners are often unaware why campaigns or initiatives may be underperf...
Wine Women – Wendy Narby, Insider Tasting
Sep 24 2021
Wine Women – Wendy Narby, Insider Tasting
British-born Wendy Narby’s premise ‘Knowledge Increases Pleasure’ not only applies to her extensive wine education but also to her wellness education. The Chef d’Enterprise (love the title!) at Insider Tasting zoomed in directly from Bordeaux to talk with the hosts about returning to France post-pandemic, as well as to discuss The Drinking Woman’s Diet, A Liver-Friendly Lifestyle Guide, her most recent book. Previously a wine and food consultant in Paris and Bordeaux, Wendy’s wine experience is not just based upon study, but on her time spent working as a marketing consultant, journalist, teacher and guide. She received her Bachelor of Science with Honors in Agricultural Economics from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Fast forward a bit and she moved from Paris to marry a local Château owner and negociant. And now Wendy enjoys sharing her passion for Bordeaux and the famous region’s wines with guests and friends from all over the world. In fact, Wendy frequently leads wine tours throughout Bordeaux and environs (and is looking forward to more Americans returning to visit France as the pandemic recedes). Wendy is a member of the Association of Wine Educators (AWE), lecturing on behalf of the Bordeaux Wine School (Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux); the author of Bordeaux Bootcamp, The Insider Tasting guide to Bordeaux Basics, and (more recently), The Drinking Woman’s Diet, which we talked about on the show extensively. On the WWRH show, we often get to talk with winemakers, marketers, and others promoting the industry or their brand. But we rarely have the opportunity to talk about wine’s health effects (or lack thereof). Every wine bottle already carries significant health warnings. And for women in the wine industry, wine consumption can come with additional risks from over-imbibing to inappropriate behavior. Long envious of the supposed French woman’s diet (which appears to maintain everything in balance from wine consumption to food intake, exercise, and still projecting a chic and stylish elan), we wanted to learn from Wendy how they do it. What is the “Drinking Woman’s Diet”? Is it a secret? Throughout the conversation, Wendy dispelled myths and offered well-researched health tips. Her fast-paced, easy-reading book is chock-full of valuable lessons that can easily be put into use immediately for a sensible, but still fun, lifestyle including alcoholic drinking. First, Wendy dispelled our notions of equality between men and women when drinking – there’s none! More alcohol reaches women’s bloodstreams faster than in men, disadvantage #1. She also taught us signs to watch for about too much alcohol consumption with the CAGE Questionnaire. We learned how the body processes alcohol, a toxin. And then we were on to her many tips to maintain wellness within a diet that includes alcohol. It included her magical “2-2-2” method (which you’ll have to listen to the show or buy the book to learn), and being able to enjoy foods and beverages that send us signals when we’ve had enough. All of her advice provides an excellent framework for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while enjoying food, friends, fun and wine. Oh, and how do you maintain that healthy lifestyle while out on a wine tasting? Tune in to find out! To be transported to Bordeaux from your armchair (or phone in hand), subscribe to Wendy’s Insider Tasting newsletter. Or find her on Instagram at @insidertasting and @drinkingwomansdiet and @wendynarby. And The Drinking Woman’s Diet is available for purchase online.
Wine Women – Scout Driscoll, Founder & CEO, VINT Studio
Sep 17 2021
Wine Women – Scout Driscoll, Founder & CEO, VINT Studio
“I had a lot of moxie at 22!” replied Scout Driscoll, Founder and CEO of DesignScout and VINT Studio, when asked about her entrepreneurial inclinations at such a young age. The co-hosts (none of whom had dreamed of owning their own businesses at such a young age) were eager to interview Scout to learn about her success. In particular, we knew before speaking with Scout she had plenty of moxie since her firm was woman-owned and she touted it as an all-woman studio, with no ladders, no promotions, and no senior staff. In short, balls-y. Or, in Scout’s case: moxie! —a word often used to describe Barbara Stanwyck back in the day. Scout Driscoll is the founder and CEO of VINT, Wine Branding & Design. VINT is a subsidiary of DesignScout (est. 2003), her design studio born of a strong desire NOT to sell products, services and programs that she didn’t really LOVE. Although she did some of the usual job-seeking rounds after college graduation at Chicago’s well-known advertising agencies, her heart just wasn’t in it. You’ll have to listen in to hear of her tales about applying for positions with some of the leading firms… It seemed Scout was destined for a far more unique journey. (Aren’t all “scouts”?) Kanye West (another Chicagoan, and her first customer) tapped her to design his “Get Well Soon” album package. Soon she was producing branding and graphics for others in the entertainment industry. On a parallel track, Scout’s many years working in the restaurant and hospitality industry led to more gigs providing the branding and design work for numerous restaurants and related businesses. And all of those led to: Wine! VINT has designed more than 90 wine labels for Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, helping them build the nation’s largest wine club (with 400,000+ members) with a wine program that includes VINT designed collaborations with Jean Charles Boisset’s Raymond and DeLoach Vineyards, Dr. Loosen, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and John Legend’s LVE Wines. You can imagine our interest in speaking to Scout when we learned of her firm’s design work for Cooper’s Hawk. What’s it like designing for the world’s largest wine club membership? How do you keep it fresh? Where does the inspiration for each wine’s packaging come from? Co-host Misty Rodebush Cain wanted to know what Scout’s process was when looking at a rebranding project and what tips could she provide to listeners when beginning a design project. So we dug in on a few examples from VINT’s portfolio: First up was discussion of the design for Cooper’s Hawk “Below the Belt” brand. Scout explained that the wine was a blend of grapes from below the Equator in South American. Design inspiration came from a painting as well as using a die cut to “draw” the equator line on the bottle. Simple typography coupled with a nifty flip of “BELOW” completed the branding visuals, married with various elements, such as gold foil to cement the brand message for consumers. Next up was a new redesign project that will be hitting store shelves this fall: Soleil’s “Mimosa” packaging redesign. The current design looked too much like a blended orange juice cocktail through a transparent bottle. This is always a tricky visual delivery since the fresh fruit pulp can be seen in the bottle. Here the design team had a number of design and logistic challenges to address: Distributors had difficulty getting it placed on shelves next to sparkling wine. Retailers wanted to position it with pre-mixed cocktails on the shelf and other locations they didn’t want to be. VINT’s solution involved a full bottle wrap. Voila! Now they have a bottle design worthy of competing for eyeballs with the sparkling wines on the shelf. Last up in discussing some VINT case studies was the evolution of Cooper’s Hawk “A4” wines from Eastern France. Co-host Marcia Macomber noted the intricate dieline design along the roof and skyline of the label,
Wine Women – Kevin Holt, Bartholomew Estate Vyds. & Winery, Pt. 2
Sep 10 2021
Wine Women – Kevin Holt, Bartholomew Estate Vyds. & Winery, Pt. 2
Kevin Holt has been making wine professionally in northern California for more than twenty years. A native of the southern end of the Golden State, he’s been indulging his passion for fine wine most of his adult life, as a consumer, retailer, wholesaler, student, and now, producer. Kevin loves to hear, "You know, I hate [fill in varietal name here], but yours is really good!" Or, better still, "I love [fill in varietal name here], and this is the best one I've ever had!" Hearing both sentiments, about the same wines, on a regular basis lets him know that he’s doing something right! I sat down with him for part 2 of our shows on Bartholomew Estate Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma, California (find part 1 here), which is part of the Frank H. Bartholomew Foundation. Surrounded by the exquisite paintings by members of the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation in the historic tasting room’s art gallery, Kevin poured two of his wines from Bartholomew Estate, the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, and the 2018 Garden Block Zinfandel. (He told a particularly interesting story of working with two different Zinfandel clones on the property during the show.) Prior to becoming a winemaker, Kevin sold wine, both retail and wholesale, so he knows the wine business both inside and out.  He brings all his production, tasting, and sales experience to the wines he makes and is never satisfied with "good enough." As Anna Pope, Trustee of the foundation, mentioned in part 1 of our Bartholomew Estate show: she liked Kevin’s winemaking style from her enjoyment of his wines at Beltane Ranch, where is also winemaker. At the top of the show, Kevin mentioned to me that the first thing he wanted to find out when Anna asked him his interest in making wine at Bartholomew was whether or not the organically-farmed and certified vineyards on the 375-acre private park (open to the public) could produce terrific wines. He made it very clear that without great source vines, there’s only so much magic he can perform in the winemaking process. He was pleasantly surprised to find the 22-acres of vines planted within the park were producing great grapes. The rest would be in his hands to ramp up production. The next challenge he faced was the absence of wine-making equipment on the property. Previous wineries hadn’t made the wine on the property, so he began the laborious process of acquiring equipment and crafting a production facility in the 100-year-old building. Tune in as we taste through Kevin’s Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. We had planned to taste on the tasting room patio within sight of the vineyards or out on the Oak Knoll, which provides visitors with plenty of shade while enjoying the wine. But there were so many visitors enjoying their glasses and bottles of wine, we retreated to the art gallery. Bartholomew Estate is open daily to the public for tasting experiences and sales. But to fully enjoy the park (which is privately owned but open to the public), visitors have a number of outdoor experiences to choose from, including horseback riding, picnicking and trail hiking in the back country. Within the winery, visitors can enjoy tasting at the wine bar or sipping in the art gallery while viewing the works on display. Here the first commercial vineyard in California was planted in 1832, before Mariano Vallejo’s arrival in Sonoma, and decades before Count Agoston Haraszthy first sampled the wines made from the grapes grown on this land which he would later purchase. It’s quite a legacy—and one most worthy of sampling from one of the many seating and picnic areas overlooking the vineyards. You can even bring your dogs (on leash) to hike the trails or relax next to you while you sip your wine overlooking the vineyards on the Oak Knoll. Fido can choose from treats and toys available for sale for visiting pooches in the tasting room. Best of all, visitors to the park can enjoy Kevin’s wine while viewing the land on which the first commercial vineyard was ...
Wine Women – Paula Woolsey, CSW, Cellar Door Unhinged
Sep 3 2021
Wine Women – Paula Woolsey, CSW, Cellar Door Unhinged
Paula Woolsey, CSW, aka “The Wine Witch,” is the owner of Cellar Door Unhinged, helping Arizona wineries in the fields of sales, marketing and business operations. She consults in all areas of the wine industry, restaurant wine programs, tasting rooms and Liquor Compliance. Although she was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has long called Arizona home and played a major role in shepherding the state’s wine industry to newfound growth over the past couple of decades. Paula’s also been a member of the Society of Wine Educators since 1998. She became a Certified Specialist of Wine in 2000, Italian Wine Specialist certified in 2004 and Gallo Wine Academy certified in 2007. She has also been Cellar Master Certified by the Master Court of Sommeliers since 2001. Paula has sat on the Board of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium since its inception in 2008. This month in September 2021, she’s looking forward to hearing Arizona’s Verde Valley named a new American Viticultural Area (AVA) after years of hard work to gain approval for this wine-growing region. After extensive research and collaboration with colleges and universities in California and Washington, Paula helped to create the first viticulture program degree program in Arizona at Yavapai College where she’s served as an instructor for the past eleven years. Now wineries from across the country come to her when looking for advice or to fill a position on their staff. She says that watching the growth of the Southwest Wine Center has been a true privilege. As we delved into our conversation on the show, Paula gave us a master class in Arizona wine: Will Arizona wine regions become the new Napa? What’s the biggest lobbying impediment to the success (and distribution) of Arizona wines? How is teaching viticulture now different than it was a decade ago when she began? How do Arizona wines stand up to California wines? (The latter we can answer easily – Arizona wines come out on top in competitions and reviews!) Tune in to get the answers to all of these questions and much more. As co-host Lisa Adams Walter said in conversation with Paula: “It’s never too late to learn!” (In all fairness, that was in reference to learning that one of Paula’s current viticulture students at Yavapai is 79 years young!) In fact, Paula said one of her favorite things about teaching now is what she learns from her students, who average 35-48 years of age. Many of them already have advanced degrees in other fields and are practicing or retired attorneys, doctors and other professionals. Yet they’re just as excited about earning their Associate’s Degree in Viticulture! In addition to all of her credentials in the wine industry, Paula’s also served as a national wine sales director, expanding the reach of Arizona wine in 40 states and a few countries. And she’s also a Licensed Event Planner, serving to head up the upcoming Sedona Wine Fest, September 25-26, among several other wine-related events she oversees. Now in its 12th year, Sedona’s expecting thousands to descend upon the high desert town in a few weeks to enjoy wine tasting from 28 Arizona wineries, music, food trucks, a Plein Air Painting demonstration, the Sugar Thieves band, and a variety of artisan vendors. What an epic event! Tickets are still available if you’re venturing to the southwest. All CDC guidelines regarding COVID will be adhered to for the safety of all attendees and exhibitors. When asked to reflect on current challenges and advice, Paula grew wistful as Arizona had just lost one of their beloved winemakers to COVID. And to those just entering the wine industry workforce (in and out of the wine industry)? She offered great advice: “Ask for help when you need it,” and, “Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer.” We know where we want to go to get our answers on the Arizona wine industry! This was quite a treat for the WineWomen team.
Wine Women – Paul Franson, Napa Life, Pt2
Aug 27 2021
Wine Women – Paul Franson, Napa Life, Pt2
Paul Franson has been writing about Napa Valley for so long, it took two shows for us to cover all the topics on our list! (Part one of our show with Paul can be found here.) We wanted to learn his perspective on the many events and changes that have occurred across the past quarter century in Napa. Paul’s writing has not only been seen in almost every North Bay publication over the decades, but he also self-publishes a weekly subscription newsletter, NapaLife. His work has extended to his most recent book, “The NapaLife Insider’s Guide to Napa Valley.” In the second half of our conversation with Paul, he looked back on some of the biggest changes that had taken place in the valley: When he moved to Napa, wine was the big deal 25 years ago. But there were few stellar restaurants. Today, food is a BIG thing in Napa Valley. Same with music events. The town previously had a small symphony orchestra and no rock ‘n’ roll events of note. Today, because of the efforts of Margrit Mondavi (in large part), there is the summer music festival (which now bears her name), bringing a variety of acts from jazz to major billboard artists who came to play at the Mondavi Winery each year. Napa’s also welcomed classical music festivals and the big one that’s brought the masses, BottleRock. While sports entertainment has not seen substantial growth in Napa Valley, Paul has seen the performing and visual arts gain significant footholds. The Blue Note holds forth with a huge array of concerts currently being held at Charles Krug. Napa is also home to various theatre groups such as Lucky Penny Productions, which have thrived in providing (mostly) musicals along with a few straight plays. A number of wineries also offer art galleries, including HALL Winery, St. Supery, Hess, Mumm and others. Climate change has had its hand in wine’s evolution in Napa Valley. A big change Paul Franson observed has been rising alcohol levels. He said when he first came to Napa and was making home wine himself, alcohol levels were more in the 12% range. Today they’re more often around 14%, a result, from his point of view, of not only changing tastes in flavor profiles but also a result of rising temperatures in the valley, making for riper fruit at harvest. Another agricultural development to Napa Valley has been the change in laws regarding the growing of cannabis. Residents, tourists, growers and regulators are all still grappling with how they feel about this inevitable change in our world. The jury is still out, but it looks to be a permanent development to Napa. Last, but certainly not least, has been the rejuvenation of the rail lines. When Paul moved to Napa Valley twenty-five years ago, the rail lines were fairly dormant except for occasional freight movement. He, along with many others (including co-host Lisa Adams Walter), wondered why the powers-that-be didn’t make use of the rail line to move people up and down valley since the main roads were often congested at peak times. Afterall, rail transportation had been central to the valley for more than one hundred years. Rail travel first arrived in Napa Valley in 1864 when San Francisco's first millionaire, Samuel Brannan, began to transport visitors to his spa resort in Calistoga. Passenger service didn’t begin to wane until the 1930s with the advent of auto travel. As the decades passed, freight travel also began to disappear along the line until Southern Pacific attempted to sell the land. In the 1980s, concerned citizens worked to resurrect the train’s operation. And in 1987, Vincent DeDomenico bought the train and right-of-ways to bring it back to life in its current incarnation. The hosts and Paul agreed that it’s been nice to hear the train’s daily runs up and down valley again since the pandemic began to recede. The train had been shut down for more than a year as the world grappled with COVID-19. During the show, we enjoyed the Priest Ranch Winery 2019 Grenache Blanc and...
Wine Women – Paul Franson, NapaLife
Aug 20 2021
Wine Women – Paul Franson, NapaLife
Paul Franson has been writing and self-publishing his weekly subscription newsletter, NapaLife, for more than sixteen years. With his pulse on Napa Valley’s wine, food and arts scene, we couldn’t think of anyone better to reflect on the trajectory of, well, life in Napa Valley for lo these many years. As he mentions several times throughout part one of our interview with Paul in Yountville, California, he’s seen several trends, developments and big changes come and go throughout Napa Valley. Having been lured to Napa due to its wine focus, Paul made his home in St. Helena about a quarter century ago and has been writing about Napa Valley ever since. His most recent book is, “The NapaLife Insider’s Guide to Napa Valley.” But he’s also co-written a guide to PR best practices for the wine industry with Harvey Posert, cleverly titled, “Spinning the Bottle Again.” A ardent traveler, Paul has also penned, “Escapes to Paradise: Adventures and Misadventures in the Beautiful Caribbean Sea,” and, with a nod to Silicon Valley nearby, he’s written, “High Tech, High Hope: Turning Your Vision of Technology Into Business Success.” If his weekly newsletter and books aren’t enough, Paul’s also written for virtually every newspaper and magazine in the Napa Valley. If Paul’s CV as a long-time journalist weren’t intimidating enough, then his deep knowledge of Napa Valley’s history would be. For every speculative query the hosts put forth during the show, Paul had a ready answer and an elephant’s memory. Tune in for a lively hour of fun conversation as we touch on the Delicato acquisition Francis Ford Coppola Winery and the Virginia Dare Winery; packaging developments (including box wine and cans); the “Sideways” effect; the benefits of canned wines; Napa’s explosion of music festivals, entertainment and much more. During the show, we enjoyed the Priest Ranch Winery 2019 Grenache Blanc and 2019 Priest Ranch Rosé, perfect accompaniment for stimulating conversation among friends on a late-summer afternoon in Napa Valley! Both were icy cold, refreshing and ideal for a hot day. During the show, Paul pointed out that cans chill faster than glass bottles and are 100% recyclable. And cohost Lisa Adams Walter reminded us that canned wines make for ideal picnic fare, as they’re far more lightweight, compact containers than glass bottles. Their wine can be poured into attractive stemware so you can still see the wine’s color while enjoying it. Lisa also shared delicious cheese and charcuterie from the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company, a family-owned and operated  purveyor in the valley since 1931. Their techniques and processes in olive oil making have never been altered in any way, and their oil is available for purchase by the jug. They foodstuffs were a perfect accompaniment to the wine and sunny afternoon. For those interested in a subscription or more information about NapaLife, it runs 12 to 40 pages each week, including a list of almost everything happening in Napa Valley in the next week. It is e-mailed each Monday and an online version is also available. For a sample copy, call or email Paul at (707) 326-0797 or paul@napalife.com.
Wine Women – Anna Pope, Bartholomew Estate Vyds. & Winery
Aug 13 2021
Wine Women – Anna Pope, Bartholomew Estate Vyds. & Winery
What if every decision you made for your winery had to be planned around ensuring that the estate property was thriving 100 years from now? Anna Pope has that mandate. As Trustee of the Frank H. Bartholomew Foundation, which owns and operates Bartholomew Estate Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma, California, Pope is charged with ensuring the 375-acre private park (open to the public) with winery remains financially sound and the land prospers. We sat down on the tasting room patio with Anna for the podcast to learn about the park’s amazing history and evolution as a winery and to learn how she plans for its future. Most Sonomans think of the town’s history as beginning with the construction of the Spanish Mission Solano de Sonoma in 1823 and, in 1833, with Mariano Vallejo’s arrival. The Bartholomew Estate vineyards occupy the most historic and fabled site in California viticulture. In 1832, a Native American homesteader, baptized Viviano, planted the first privately owned vineyard in the Sonoma Valley on the banks of Arroyo Seco, two years before the founding of Pueblo Sonoma by Mariano Vallejo. This six-acre vineyard now forms the heart of Bartholomew Park, and the original vineyard site is now their prized Viviano Syrah Block. Fast forward a few decades and a few owners of the land: In 1853, Julius Rose, a prominent attorney and land speculator, purchased the property. Rose made the first major expansion of the rancho’s vineyards, planting another 18 acres, for wine and table grape production. And Rose’s expanded vineyard won gold for best vineyard at the first California State Fair in 1854. In 1855, Agoston Haraszthy sampled Rose’s wine. Its quality convinced him this was finally the spot to fulfill his decade long quest to produce European quality wines in America. Haraszthy purchased Rose’s vineyard and surrounding acreage and constructed the first wine caves in California (1857-58). He introduced dry-farmed vineyards, constructed the stone winery (1858), his signature villa (1859), and assembled his 6000-acre Rancho Buena Vista, planting over 200 acres to vineyards by 1860. Eventually he was undone by a tiny vineyard pest: phylloxera began to slowly devastate the vineyards in 1874. During the ensuing years, new owners continued farming the vineyard until it became non-producing. It became a country estate, with owners Robert and Kate Johnson completing their 40-room Victorian “Castle” in 1883, converting the creekside vineyard into their formal lawn and gardens. It was the end of an era. The estate passed through many private hands until it was purchased in 1919 by the state for the State Industrial Farm for Delinquent Women. The castle burned to the ground a few years later, and the property was abandoned for a number of years until it was purchased in 1943 by Frank H. Bartholomew as a gift for his wife, Antonia. They had no idea that buried below weeds were the remains of a zinfandel vineyard. Upon learning of the property’s illustrious viticultural history and that they had acquired the storied Buena Vista Winery, they set out to restore both it and Count Haraszthy to their rightful places in California viticulture history. The original Buena Vista Winery building was restored in 1946, and the more damaged Press House several years later. Frank and Antonia ran the resurrected Buena Vista Winery for several decades before selling it and 12 acres while retaining 375 acres including the historic vineyards, the hospital building, and forest land as their country residence. But wait, there’s more! Frank Bartholomew missed the winery business and founded Hacienda Wine Cellars in 1973, producing small lots of award-winning wines. He eventually sold his majority share to another investor, who in turn, sold the brand to Bronco Wine Company. Realizing the value of the land as a vineyard (22 acres) and the bulk as forested wilderness (350+ acres), the Bartholomews created a foundation in 1980 to ...
Wine Women – Vin de Filles, An Arizona Women’s Wine Project
Aug 6 2021
Wine Women – Vin de Filles, An Arizona Women’s Wine Project
VIN DE FILLES: An Arizona Women’s Wine Project Not only does Arizona have a thriving wine industry, but there’s a vast breadth of talented women working there in the industry to bring women-made, women-supported and women-affiliated wines to market. Gayle Glomski and her husband Eric, owners of Page Springs Cellars, near Sedona, traveled to Champagne in France, a few years ago, during which Gayle was inspired by a serendipitous meeting with the owner of the Duval-Leroy winery. Madame Duval-Leroy and her husband had collaborated to reconstruct the winery for her to take over after his anticipated death. Upon his passing, she hired a female vineyard manager, a female winemaker and created a wine called Femme de Champagne in honor of women. A light bulb went off for Gayle. And she took the idea back to Page Springs’ cellar mistress, Bree Nation (also co-owner of The Oddity Wine Collective). Together, they ran the idea by Lauren Maldonado, multi-faceted manager at Page Springs (and co-owner of Art of Wine—also in Sedona, Arizona). They collaborated on a mission statement for their project: A wine produced by women to highlight the vitality and feminine strength within the world of wine. Bree had the idea to extend the project beyond helping women in the wine community to include helping women in the Verde Valley, which lead them to work with The Verde Valley Sanctuary, a local non-profit organization that provides shelter and support for women who have survived domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. A new wine label was born: Vin De Filles (French for “Girls’ Wine”). With everyone’s blessing, Gayle, Bree and Lauren went to work. In fact, the seeds of the project went further back to Gayle’s days supervising a harvest. She managed a grape pick in 2019. And while on the back of a truck dumping grapes from buckets into their fermentation bin, she noticed that the picking crew was mostly women embracing grueling physical labor. It was this 'ah ha' moment when Gayle thought, “We need to recognize and support the women behind the production of winemaking as Madame Duval-Leroy has done!” In the past two years, the Vin de Filles’ group of women helping on the project has grown to include women between the ages of 11 and 68. They’ve nurtured Malvasia and Syrah grape varieties since the beginning of the 2020 winegrowing season. Their female team started a co-fermentation with the two different grapes using wild yeast and pressed the finished fermentation with successful results! Now heading towards their release event, the project’s net profits will be donated to The Verde Valley Sanctuary for their housing expansion project, which will increase their capacity and provide the women of the shelter private accommodations for their families and pets. The release party for this 100% women-produced wine will be hosted outdoors at Page Springs Cellars on Sunday, October 17th, and Monday, October 18th. The event will include a 5-course dinner with each food course prepared by a highly recognized Arizona female chef. And each food course will be paired with a female-supported wine. An auction will be hosted and will include artwork created by local women, encouraging additional donations for The Verde Valley Sanctuary’s expansion project. (To donate an auction item for the release party, please contact gayle@pagespringscellars.com.) And of course, the new Vin de Filles wine will be enjoyed by one and all. Tune in to hear more about this all-female endeavor in Arizona’s great wine country, to buy tickets, and to learn about the women making it all possible. We’re raising a glass to Vin de Filles!