Celebrating America’s Rhone Rangers

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 03-19-2013

Randall Grahm.

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

These columns are hosted by Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine. 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).

My latest column, which celebrates the American winemakers who dedicate themselves to the varieties made famous in France’s Rhone Valley, went out this morning.

Celebrating America’s Rhone Rangers

This week, more than 100 wine producers are gathering in San Francisco to celebrate America’s take on the 22 grape varieties originally made famous in France’s Rhone Valley.

The producers — known collectively as the “Rhone Rangers” — trace their roots to the 1980s, when a small group of California vintners dedicated to these varieties began meeting informally.

One of these winemakers was Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard. Although best known for his flamboyant and irreverent marketing campaigns, Grahm was among the first American winemakers to embrace varietals like Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. So when the Wine Spectator dubbed Grahm “The Rhone Ranger” in 1989, the moniker stuck.

As the organization began to grow, these Rhone Rangers realized that if they worked together, they’d all benefit. So in the late 1990s, they formally organized and began promoting their work. The group helped catalyze — and revive — the planting of Rhone varieties across the country.

But they still have lots of work to do.

Check out the rest of the piece on Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine.

Comments (1)

  1. That 1989 Wine Spectator front cover of Randall in all white tights, hat and eye mask with his white horse is indelibly burned into my brain.