Weekly Interview: Heidi Seifried

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 10-31-2014

Heidi Seifried

Heidi Seifried

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Heidi Seifried, the winemaker at Seifried Estate, the oldest family winery in New Zealand’s South Island.

In 1973, Austrian-born Hermann Seifried and his New Zealand wife Agnes planted their first vineyard in the Nelson region. They passed on their passion to this generation. Heidi is their eldest daughter and the winemaker at Seifried Estate. She is helped by her brother Chris in the cellars, and by her younger sister Anna with sales and marketing.

Before she became a winemaker, Heidi was first qualified as a dentist. She worked full-time as a dentist for three years until 2001, when Heidi went back to Lincoln University and completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology (with Distinction). Heidi still spends some time in surgery though just one day a week these days, while juggling a young family, and working in the family business four days a week.

Check out our interview with Heidi below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Remarkable America

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-31-2014

USA“I’d hazard a guess that we’re at a tipping point: In many of these states, winemaking technique and talent have finally combined with a greater understanding of what grows best where (always a long-term project) to create small constellations of ambitious producers creating truly remarkable wines.” Ray Isle has fallen for American wine.

“Aside from sherry, only one Spanish region has achieved an international reputation that lasted through the entire 20th century up to the present: Rioja.” Eric Asimov announces his next wine school lesson.

“A fair amount of overplanting has beset the region in the past few decades and it feels as if it’s not as fashionable as it once was.” But according to Will Lyons, “anyone who is interested in individual wines should explore Coonawarra’s range.”

Jamie Goode visits Mission, the California wine bar in London.

“Mix a wine tasting party with a vape meet…people sharing their favorite wines and juices, connecting with each other in a more personal way than an online forum, and discovering new flavor combinations to take their vaping experience up another level.” In Punch, Jennifer Cacicio explores “The Weird World of Wine and Spirits Vaping.”

In Wine Lines Online, Glen Frederiksen chats with James MacPahil.

In Wine-Searcher, Caroline Henry offers “10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Perrier-Jouët.”

“The study itself is thoughtfully done, but the Post article misuses its conclusions to forward the idea that cigarette taxes are a way of reducing alcohol consumption.” Tom Natan examines the recent study which reported showed that cigarette taxes reduced consumption of beer and liquor, but not wine.

According to TODAY contributor Edward Deitch, the Spanish wine region of Aragon is worth exploring.

A reminder from Alder Yarrow. The deadline to apply for a fellowship to the 2016 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers is November 1.

Daily Wine News: Darwinian Element

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-30-2014

Flickr, craig.camp.

Flickr, craig.camp.

“There is also a Darwinian element. If a vineyard has lasted through two world wars, Prohibition, and any number of other things, it must be special, or it would have likely been ripped out.” In Town and Country, Jay McInerney profiles Morgan Twain-Peterson.

“They made me want to dive into an ad hoc picnic on a hill in the sunset, or go for a fast, chilly run on a fall morning. They made me want to come home and tell everyone about them.” Sophie Barrett falls hard for the Rieslings of Jochen Beurer in southwest Germany.

“He is the oldest working winemaker in the Napa Valley and at the oldest winery.” Next Saturday, Peter Mondavi Sr. turns 100.

“Since [1989], there has been a tremendous resurgence in quality, and the greatness of the wines has been recognized worldwide — albeit mainly by specialized wine lovers.” In Wine-Searcher, Darrel Joseph explains why Tokaji is so special.

“Cyrus was Sonoma County’s top restaurant when it closed two years ago.” And finally, reports Tim Fish, a “reboot is officially in the works.”

Wine Enthusiast announces its 2014 Wine Star Award Nominees and awards Tony Terlato with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” and names New York State the “Wine Region of the Year.”

“In future generations… perhaps the culture of weed will mature into something akin to the culture of wine, with all its exquisite variation, but also all its madly inflated pomposity.” In Noble Rot, Richard Hemming envisions a world where weed is as legal as wine.

In Forbes, Jeff Fromm offers “Five Marketing Lessons For Brands In The Adult Beverage Category.”

Daily Wine News: Grunt Work

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-29-2014

Jacques-Lassaigne_champagne“Harvest is always a blend of festivity and grunt work, in proportions that vary according to the individual traditions of the domaine. Harvest chez Lassaigne is mainly the latter, punctuated with charcuterie and various interesting non-commercialised cuvées.” Aaron Ayscough helps Manu Lassaigne with harvest.

“You’re going to kill me, dear reader; you really are … the last wine we tasted before lunch in middle earth was a bottle of Savagnin Vert from 2004 that had been kept ouillé for ten years. My notes read ‘awesome.’” Sophie Barrett visits Jean-François Ganevat.

Lyle Fass thinks “unicorn wines are for suckers.”

According to W. Blake Gray, “of California’s 130 AVAs, only 34 have any real meaning to anyone other than the regions’ biggest boosters.”

“American popular culture has always been awash in alcoholic beverages, but seldom has the drink been wine, red wine in particular, and rarely has it been treated so specifically as a beverage primarily for women, served in oversize goblets and consumed like the after-work cocktails of previous eras.” Eric Asimov examines the portrayal of wine in popular culture.

In Playboy, Patrick Cappiello selects Guy Breton’s Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” as his wine of the week.

In Wine-Searcher, Adam Lechmere chats with South African winemaker Bruce Jack.

In Oregon, more winemakers are finding special sites for Pinot Noir. Harvey Steiman has the details.

S. Irene Virbila is impressed with Argentina’s latest offerings.

Need some advice on vintage Champagne? Talk to a stripper.

Alison Crowe shares a true “Wine Country” ghost story.

A Napa Valley Tech Entrepreneur Is Revolutionizing Customer Service

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 10-28-2014

logo_vintankAs regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.

These columns are hosted by Grape Collective. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at – Terroirist.com).

In my latest column, I profile Paul Mabray, who is revolutionizing customer service for wineries across the world.

A Napa Valley Tech Entrepreneur Is Revolutionizing Customer Service

Earlier this year, the number of wineries in the United States passed 8,000. When the news hit, Napa Valley tech entrepreneur Paul Mabray took to Facebook to remind his followers that “in a world of infinite wine choices, the only differentiator is service.”

This quote has long been Mabray’s mantra. And it’s the guiding philosophy behind VinTank, the company he launched in 2009.

“If your phone rings, you answer. If someone sends you an email, you reply. But with social media, there’s so much noise that some people simply ignore it,” Mabray explained one recent afternoon in Yountville, California.

For Mabray, this is crazy. Every communication deserves a response. So together with programming wizard James Jory, he designed a platform to “hear” every conversation about wine on social media, and for wineries to “listen” to conversations about their brands.

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Daily Wine News: Esoteric Grapes

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-28-2014

Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla.

Vare Vineyard Ribolla Gialla.

“In a landscape where most consumers are buying chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, what prompts a California winemaker to produce wines from cinsault, ribolla gialla or chenin blanc?” Laurie Daniel explores this question in the Mercury News.

In Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman pays tribute to Eric Dunham, a pioneer winemaker in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley who died on Thursday.

In the Los Angeles Times, readers reply to S. Irene Virbila’s recent piece about restaurant wine service and share their biggest pet peeves.

“A glass of wine is a way to relax after a day’s studying for many MBA students. But at Sonoma State University… the business of producing the fermented grape is a growing opportunity for executive training.” In the Financial Times, Jonathan Moules writes about MBA programs designed for the wine industry.

According to Dan Berger, “many wines now taste like one another and less like the varietals from which they come.”

“Given the difficulties of training the explosively vigorous vine and turning its fruit into a civilized wine — another producer curses it as a “bastard of a grape”—one pure Sagrantino per year is enough.” In his latest letter from Europe, Robert Camuto profiles Giampaolo Tabarrini and his efforts to grow Sagrantino, an indigenous red grape in Italy’s Umbria region.

From Wine-Searcher, “Auction bidders are showing no signs of fatigue.”

In Business Insider, Richard Feloni explains “Why Mark Cuban Invested $1 Million In [A] Boxed Wine Company.”

Steve Heimoff has a conversation with a guy in a tasting room.

Michel Rolland’s niece, Virginie Rolland, has launched a wine importing business in New York.

Daily Wine News: Terroir Opportunity

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-27-2014

Flickr, www.kvins.com.

Flickr, www.kvins.com.

“Mr. Johnnes… pointed out that it wasn’t just ‘about going on a fun trip’ but giving sommeliers the opportunity to ‘see the terroir and the culture and meet the people’ behind the wines.” In the Wall Street Journal, Lettie Teague writes about the La Paulée scholarship fund.

Elsewhere in the Journal, Teague finds “A New Generation of Elegant, Well-Priced Chablis.”

In Decanter, Panos Kakaviatos charts the history of Domaine des Lambrays.

In the Los Angeles Times, S. Irene Virbila shares her biggest pet peeves with restaurant wine service.

“Beaujolais Nouveau, in large measure, is just uninteresting wine backed by a massive marketing campaign. Buy some cru Beaujolais instead.” Some sage advice from Ray Isle in Food & Wine.

In Los Angeles Magazine, Jonathan Cristaldi asks five of the city’s hippest somms “to let us in on what they are drinking right now.”

“The real genius of the Naked Wines model is that it fully grasps and harnesses the possibilities of social media, a concept still foreign to most of the wine trade.” Jancis Robinson profiles Naked Wines.

In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray chats with Raffaele Boscaini of Valpolicella’s Masi.

To dispose of its grape waste, Van Duzer Vineyards is helping a neighbor feed their beef calves.

In the New York Times, John Leland takes a quick look at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

In Forbes, Nick Passmore wonders why Chianti is so unappreciated.

“With 27 farm wineries (and 10 distilleries) listed in the various branches of state government that track such things, somehow there’s just never been enough momentum to get a wine and distilleries trail going. Until now.” In West Virginia, there’s now a “Country Roads Wine and Distillery Trail.”

Wine Reviews: South American Values

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-25-2014

South America has been a haven for value-driven wines for years. When I was first getting into wine, I spent lots of time navigating Argentina and Chile for tasty and inexpensive bottles, especially Malbecs from Mendoza. Years later, producers from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay are consistently putting out inexpensive wines that appeal to a broad array of palates.

There were no epiphanies in this crew, but a whole bunch of reliable wines and smart buys. These wines were received as trade samples on a sporadic schedule, so they were tasted sighted. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Interview: Remi Cohen

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 10-24-2014

Remi Cohen

Remi Cohen

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Remi Cohen, the vice president of operations at Lede Family Wines, which encompasses Cliff Lede Vineyards and FEL Wines.

Remi is originally from East Brunswick, New Jersey. When she came over to the West Coast to study at U.C. Berkeley, she thought she was going to become a doctor or a genetics professor. But fast forward a few years, and Remi was enrolled at the Viticulture and Enology program at U.C. Davis.

Below, Remi talks about how in the world she got to where she is; she comments on her impressions of the 2014 vintage in Napa; and she reveals her passion for dancing (World Beat Dance Collective?).

Check out our interview below the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daily Wine News: Windy AVA

Posted by | Posted in Wine News | Posted on 10-24-2014

windgap“Most AVAs, and most wine regions worldwide, are defined by geographical features like mountains and valleys and, in more precise cases, by types of soil. Petaluma Gap would be defined by wind.” In Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray chats with Ana Keller about the Petulama Gap Winegrowers’ push for a new AVA.

JetBlue Airways has hired a wine expert to select wines for its flights: Jon Bonné!

Tom Natan wonders if “eating more highly-flavored foods [will] make people want more highly-flavored wines.”

“By common consensus, it seems vines were first planted there in the 1530s by Spanish settlers. One estate can trace its lineage back to 1597.” Will Lyons visits Mexico – and praises its burgeoning wine scene.

Joshua Greene announces the winners of Wine & Spirits 2014 Sommelier Scavenger Hunt.

“Sohm played the role of consummate host, skills likely honed over his many years in the fine-dining business. He floated around the room with enough presence that I could sense him looking after everyone without imposing indelibly on their stay.” In the Village Voice, Lauren Mowery visits Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

“To remain happy, you have to give yourself over to this repetition, exult in it, in a sense, almost as a deepening of your spiritual practice.” Randall Grahm reflects (a bit) on 35 years in the wine industry.

Ever wonder what makes a wine blog successful? Academia can help you out.

From the AP: “France has reclaimed its crown as world’s biggest wine producer after a poor 2014 harvest saw Italy’s wine production plunge 15 percent.”

VinePair offers “11 of the coolest wine-themed tattoos.”

The Eater crew chats with the bartender at Manhattan’s First Denny’s.