Weekly Interview: Chris Christensen

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 02-04-2017

Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Chris Christensen, the winemaker at Bodkin Wines.

Hailing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Chris attended Stanford University, and it was there that Chris learned that he enjoyed wine tasting so much. So after graduating, Chris jumped into the wine industry. And he started at the very first rung of the ladder. As he moved up that ladder, however, Chris moved out to work what he calls a “real job,” quotation marks are his, at a bank. But quickly Chris figured out that corporate America was not for him, and he returned to the wine industry shortly after a year.

Chris founded Bodkin Wines as a side project in 2011, and began operating it full-time in 2014. In creating his own brand, in making his own wines, and in perfecting his craft, Chris has overcome the challenges that he faces with ADD and dyslexia, which we think is amazing.

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Weekly Interview: Landon Donley

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-27-2017

Landon-Donley

Landon Donley

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Landon Donley, the winemaker at Buccella, a Napa estate. Buccella was founded by two lovers of Gaja’s wines who strive to make bold, flavorful, and layered wines.

Landon has seen many sides of the wine industry. He discovered his love for wine as a bartender at a resort. When he decided to study wine, he studied first for a sommelier degree and a general wine-knowledge certification, and fittingly he worked at a wine retailer and at a distributor. But then after talking to a winemaker over a bottle of wine, Landon decided to become a winemaker himself, and enrolled in the enology program at Fresno State. He arrived at Buccella in 2015, after finishing his degree, and after spending some time at Molly Dooker and at Spottswoode.

Landon was also recently mentioned by a previous interviewee here, Jennifer Williams, as an exciting new winemaker.

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Weekly Interview: Jennifer Williams

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-20-2017

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Jennifer Williams, the winemaker at Arrow&Branch in Napa.

Jennifer began her career in the wine industry in the vineyards, and even as a winemaker, her focus on the grapes shines through in the interview. She arrived at Arrow&Branch in 2011, after helping out with harvest at Araujo and Spottswoode, and rising through the ranks at Spottswoode to become its winemaker. In 2007, Jon Bonne of the San Francisco Chronicle named Jennifer a “Winemaker to Watch”.

Arrow&Branch is now owned by Steve an Seanne Contursi, who purchased the estate in 2007. The couple share a love for the wines of Bordeaux, particularly those with a healthy dose of Cabernet Franc.

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Weekly Interview: Ryan Prichard

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-13-2017

Ryan Prichard

Ryan Prichard

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Ryan Prichard, the associate winemaker at Three Sticks Wines.

While Ryan was enamoured of wine for quite some time, it was not until recently that he joined the wine industry. Ryan took the famous wine class at Cornell, where he had his wine-”Aha” moment, as he describes. Ryan then started work as a management consultant, but he could not part ways with wine. He would volunteer at local wineries and make his own wines, and even decided to take a winemaking program at UC Davis – all while maintaining his full-time job.

When Ryan finally decided to make the jump into winemaking, he started with an internship at Williams Selyem. He then ran the cellars at a custom crush winery, before spending some time at Medlock Ames in Alexander Valley, and finally landing at Three Sticks Wines.

What an interesting path to winemaking! We’re excited for Ryan and excited to see what he’ll continue to do at Three Sticks and perhaps beyond.

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Weekly Interview: Michel Fauconnet

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 01-06-2017

Michel Fauconnet

Michel Fauconnet

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Michel Fauconnet, the winemaker, or chef de cave, at the famed Champagne house, Laurent-Perrier.

Michel Fauconnet began his winemaking career right where he is now — at Laurent-Perrier – and he has always worked there. He began as a trainee in 1973. Throughout the years, he steadily rose through the ranks and became the winemaker, the chef de cave, in 2004.

The story of Laurent-Perrier, of course, far precedes Michel’s time. Founded in 1812 by André Michel Pierlot, the estate changed hands several times, before Bernard de Nonancourt opened the new era of Laurent-Perrier after World War II.

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Weekly Interview: Sandra Tavares da Silva

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 12-23-2016

Jorge and Sandra

Jorge and Sandra

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we continue interviewing Portuguese winemakers like Hugo Chaves and Pedro Tamagnini by featuring Sandra Tavares da Silva, the winemaker at Wine & Soul.

Sandra is a real pioneer among Portuguese winemakers — one of the very first female winemakers in the Duoro valley. While Sandra received a Master of Enology from Italy in 1999, she promptly returned to Portugal to work at Quinta Vale D. Maria in Duoro, around which her projects center to this day. Wine & Soul is but one of those projects. She spearheads it with her husband, Jorge Serodio Borges, who is also a winemaker. Sandra is also a very passionate and eloquent winemaker, as her words below show abundantly.

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Weekly Interview: Pedro Tamagnini

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 12-16-2016

Pedro Pagagnini

Pedro Tamagnini

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Pedro Tamagnini, the winemaker at Quinta dos Avidagos.

The vineyards of Quinta dos Avidagos go back four centuries — almost a whole century before American independence — and those vineyards have been in Pedro’s family for generations.  Pedro joined the family business in 2004 after playing rubgy professionally in New Hampshire and working in tourism in Lisbon.  What an interesting career path.

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Weekly Interview: Hugo Chaves

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 12-09-2016

Hugo Chaves

Hugo Chaves

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. After another hiatus, we are back and ready to go! This week, we’re featuring Hugo Chaves, the winemaker at Quinta de Lemos.

Hugo was born in Viseu, Portugal, in 1972. Right after studying Oenology at the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro University, in 1997, he began his career at Quinta de Lemos, and has stayed there since. A lover of the wines of St-Emilion, he professes his preference for intense and full-bodied wines.

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Weekly Interview: Dominga Cotarella

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 10-07-2016

Dominga Cotarella

Dominga Cotarella

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Domina Cotarella, the winemaker at Falesco in Umbria, Italy.

Falesco was founded in 1979 by Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella, who had worked with the famed Antinori estate. First a weekend project, Falesco became the passion of the Cotarella family. They revitalized their vineyards saved the indigenous Roscetto white variety from extinction. Dominga, Riccardo’s daughter, leads Falesco now, along with Enrica and Marta, Renzo’s daughters.

Dominga joined the winery in 2007 as the marketing director for the Italian market and soon began working with the U.S. market, too. She earned a degree in Agricultural Sciences from Tuscia University in Viterbo so she could better understand the winegrowing and winemaking processes.

Falesco’s flagship wine is a varietal merlot called Montiano, from an 88-acre, single-vineyard in Montefiascone, Lazio. Dominga also created the Tellus range, a new line of international varietal wines.

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Weekly Interview: Victor Schoenfeld

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 09-30-2016

Victor Schoenfeld

Victor Schoenfeld

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Victor Schoenfeld, the winemaker at Golan Heights Winery in Israel.

Golan’s vineyards were planted in 1976. The winery itself was established in 1982 by four kibbutzim and four moshavim. Decades later, Golan now leads the movement of increasingly higher-quality Israeli wines.

Victor is a California native. After graduating from UC Davis with an enology degree, he worked in the California wine industry for some years, and then worked in Champagne for a few years. In 1992, Victor became the head winemaker at Golan Heights Winery.

Check out the interview below the fold! It contains a candidate for best answer to our question about beer and wine.

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