Weekly Interview: Aurelio Montes, Jr.

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 08-28-2015

Aurelio Montes Jr.

Aurelio Montes Jr.

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Aurelio Montes Jr., the head winemaker at Kaiken Wines in Mendoza, Argentina.

Kaiken is a branch of Montes Wines. Some of our readers may recall that we have interviewed the chairman of Montes Wines, Aurelio Montes, who is this week’s interviewee’s father. This interview provides an important insight into a significant winemaking family. Below, we ask Aurelio Jr. about the influence of his father on his winemaking.

Aurelio Jr. is not, however, a home-grown winemaker. Instead, he traveled across the country to work at many wineries not affiliated with Montes Wines before he returned to the family business in 2007. It’ll be interesting to observe the next generation of wines from the Montes family.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Yannis Voyatzis

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 08-21-2015

Yiannis Volyatzis

Yannis Voyatzis

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we are featuring Yannis Voyatzis, the Chief Oenologist at Boutari Wineries.

Founded in 1879, Boutari Company currently owns sixteen wineries across Greece. In recent years, the company has been at the forefront of the surge in quality Greek wine in America and around the world.

Yannis joined Boutari shortly after completing his PhD at the Wine Institute in Bordeaux. He has been with Boutari since then, and now, as Chief Oenologist, he oversees Boutari’s grapegrowing, winemaking, and research and development.

On a personal note, it was only about a year ago when a bottle of Greek red kindled my interest in Greek wines. The bottle was the 2007 Boutari Naoussa Grand Reserve. I’ve sought out Boutari’s wines specifically, and Greek wine more generally, much more frequently since that occasion. One ever stops getting surprised in this vast world of wine.

Check out our interview with Yannis below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Jim Dolphin

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 07-31-2015

Jim and Betsy Dolphin

Jim and Betsy Dolphin

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we continue our interviews of Virginia winemakers by featuring Jim Dolphin, the founder and winemaker at Delaplane Cellars.

Jim started his career as an accountant, then served as a CFO of a real estate investment company for two decades, before he plunged into winemaking in 2004, when he began a prolonged search for the right property. He found it in 2007 in Delaplane Cellars. He quickly went to work, planting the original vineyard in 2008 and opening for business in 2009. Nowadays Delaplane is thriving, producing high-quality wines left and right. But Jim is far from done. He is still approaching winemaking and his vineyard as a student. He just recently decided that Tannat does not do well in his vineyard and is replanting with Cabernet Franc. We are very excited to see how Delaplane Cellars will continue to grow and evolve.

Check out the interview below the fold!

 

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Weekly Interview: Jordan Harris

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 07-17-2015

Jordan Harris

Jordan Harris

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we continue our interviews of Virginia winemakers by featuring Jordan Harris, the Winemaker and General Manager at Tarara Winery.

In 1987, Whitie Hubert planted the first block of Chardonnay in the Nevaeh Vineyard in what would turn out to be the first plantings of Tarara Winery. Then, over the next three years, Whitie continued to plant more Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. In Virginia, the first planting in 1987 made Whitie a real pioneer. Tarara continues to own some of the oldest Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc in Virginia.

Jordan joined Tarara in the late 2000s. Despite being a young winemaker, Jordan has already built a considerable reputation. Most recently, in 2013, Jordan was named by Wine Enthusiast in its 40 Under 40 Tastemakers issue.

I recently had the pleasure of tasting Tarara’s 2010 Syrah. It only takes one wine to capture your interest in an entire category. Thanks to that wine, I look forward to Jordan’s, Tarara’s, and Virginia’s continued success.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Nate Walsh

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 07-10-2015

Nate Walsh

Nate Walsh

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we continue our series of interviews with Virginia winemakers by featuring Nate Walsh, the winemaker and vineyard manager at Sunset Hill Vineyards.

Sunset Hill Vineyards was founded by Mike and Diane Canney. They planted their first vines in 1999 and completed their first harvest in 2001 — six tons of Chardonnay, sold to local wineries. The Canneys have grown Sunset Hills at an impressive pace since then. In 2004, they expanded the vineyard from three to seven acres, planting Cabernet Franc and Viognier; in 2006 they purchased an adjoining farm, which they renovated into a modern winemaking facility; in 2008 they opened their tasting room to the public; and so on. Theirs is a story of successful growth.

Nate joined Sunset Hills as winemaker in 2009, after spending a few years as assistant winemaker at Horton Vineyards — where, regular readers will recall, our most recent interviewee worked and continues to work. As is typical of growing wine regions, it seems, Virginia grows itself.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Michael Heny

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 07-03-2015

 

Michael Heny

Michael Heny

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. After a much-too-long hiatus, this week, we are featuring Michael Heny, the winemaker at Horton Vineyards.

Located in Monticello wine country, Horton Vineyards was founded in 1988 by Dennis Horton and Joan Bieda. Michael joined the team seventeen years ago and has overseen Horton’s production of a vast portfolio of wines, which includes rare varietals like Petit Manseng and Rkatsiteli.

Michael presented some of Horton’s wines recently at an event organized by the Rhone Rangers. Having tried the wines, and having greatly enjoyed them, I look forward to getting to know Horton — and other Virginia wines — more.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Kelby Russell

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 05-08-2015

Kelby Russell

Kelby Russell

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. We continue our focus on the Finger Lakes this week by featuring Kelby Russell, the winemaker at Red Newt Cellars.

Red Newt Cellars was founded by David and Debra Whiting in 1998 — but both David and Debra have been in the area for much longer. When the couple met in the late 1980s, David was already involved in the Finger Lakes wine industry and Debra was supervising microbiology labs at Cornell University.

In fact, as you’ll read below, David had been longstanding friends with Peter Bell (whom we previously interviewed), when David decided to hire Kelby “away” from Peter.

From the interview, it was clear that Kelby had multiple career options when he chose winemaking. Check out our interview with Kelby below the fold, in which he explains the career choice, explains his path to Red Newt Cellars, and discusses up-and-coming talents in the Finger Lakes winemaking scene!

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Weekly Interview: Peter Becraft

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 05-01-2015

Peter Becraft

Peter Becraft

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. We continue our focus on the Finger Lakes this week by featuring Peter Becraft, the Head Winemaker at Anthony Road Wine Company.

Anthony Road was founded by Ann and John Martini in 1990. Since then, Anthony Road has become a real benchmark for the region. Peter joined Anthony Road in 2006, first to help out with harvest and then as an Assistant Winemaker. He was hired by Johannes Reinhart, who, at the time, led Anthony Road’s winemaking efforts. Johannes opened his own operations in 2013, but stayed on Anthony Road’s team as a Consulting Winemaker, and Peter became Head Winemaker. Anthony Road’s story, in other words, encapsulates the region’s atmosphere of collaboration and collegiality.

Check out our interview with Peter below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Lindsay Stevens

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 04-24-2015

Lindsay Stevens

Lindsay Stevens

Each week, as our regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. We continue our focus on the Finger Lakes this week by featuring Lindsay Stevens, the winemaker at King Ferry Winery.

Located slightly off the beaten path, on the east side of Cayuga Lake, King Ferry Winery was founded in 1984 by Peter and Tacie Saltonstall. The winery is particularly known for its Chardonnays, in addition to the Finger Lakes staples, Rieslings and Gewurztraminers.

As you’ll read below, Lindsay has a no-nonsense approach to winemaking that is highly practical. But it is also evident that she has thought extensively about what winemaking means to her. Consider the following excerpt: “Food is a form of love for me. Love is preparing a meal from scratch and being willing to live in the moment believing that it’s time well spent. Wine is just another part of sharing that love. It’s my hope that the time and effort that I put into making wines will translate into a part of that love being spread around your own table.” I personally reflected deeply on that and Lindsay’s other insights.

We hope you enjoy the interview. Check it out below the fold!

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Weekly Interview: Mark Patterson & Barry Tortolon

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 04-17-2015

Mark Patterson

Mark Patterson

Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we continue our focus on the Finger Lakes by featuring two winemakers: Mark Patterson and Barry Tortolon of Heron Hill Winery. Barry joined Mark at Heron Hill only about a month ago. They are now co-winemakers and collectively oversee Heron Hill’s entire portfolio.

Heron Hill Winery’s first vintage is 1977. By Finger Lakes standards, that puts Heron Hill squarely in the group of established wineries. John and Jo Ingle planted Heron Hill’s first vineyards in 1972, just a year after getting married. They started small — their first vintage consisted only of 5,000 cases — but they have grown tremendously in the past four decades. They now produce 18,000 cases per year and welcome more than 50,000 people per year.

 

Barry Tortolon

Barry Tortolon

Mark and Barry are both newcomers to Heron Hill. Mark joined in 2014; Barry joined just a month ago. So our interview comes at an exciting time of transition for Heron Hill. We enjoyed deviating slightly from our usual interview structure to accommodate the two of them in a single week and wish them the best in their new venture.

Check out the interview below the fold!

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