Wine Talk is a short feature here at 805 Wine Country where we go behind the wines and ask winemakers their thoughts on inspiration, journey and progression in the wine world… or whatever else may flow when the bottle’s uncorked.
What brought you to this point in time (as a winemaker, in life, or however you want to answer)?
Happy circumstance. I grew up in the middle of Illinois corn country and as a young adult, my favorite wine was beer. But a stint with AmeriCorps in California and a chance visit to wine country opened my eyes to the possibilities of grape growing and winemaking.
Landing a viticultural apprenticeship in New Zealand was all it took to hook me and the rest has unfolded (more or less) serendipitously.
Ten years later, I am still at it!
What does it mean to you be a Garagiste?
To me, it is synonymous with the pursuit of quality above all else. We may not have the flashiest winery set-ups or the best marketing team, but the passionate pursuit of outstanding wine is the driving force. Small in size but mighty in quality.
What projects are you working on that you’re especially excited about and want to share?
I am especially excited to share another small, Garagiste-minded project I recently took the lead on. I am now farming and making the wine for a two-acre mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon estate in the Diamond Mountain District of the Napa Valley by the name of Teachworth.
Their vines went in in 1997 and they have quietly been crafting outstanding, small lot Estate Cabernets for nearly 20 years.
Bonus: How would you best describe your wine and/or approach to winemaking?
My winemaking approach would best be described as minimal interventionist. Pragmatic, but not dogmatic. I strive to start with the best, healthiest, tastiest fruit that I can and let that quality speak for itself through minimal intervention in the winery.