Inside Winemaking - the art and science of growing grapes and crafting wine

Recorded just prior to the harvest season in August, 2014, this interview with Amy Warnock takes us through her journey to becoming a viticulturist (viticulturalist, for some), up to her current work with Orin Swift Cellars based out of Napa.  Amy is a technical specialist when it comes to growing grapes destined for high-end wines.  In our conversation Amy does a wonderful job of painting a picture in broad strokes to elaborate how wine styles are created by vineyard site and how, as a viticulturist, it is her skill to understand what style of wine a certain vineyard plot has the potential to produce.  

My favorite part of our conversation is when Amy tells the story of how Bruce Cakebread from Cakebread Cellars left a message on her voicemail with a simple piece of advice that would become the entree to her vineyard career.  

Direct download: Amy_Warnock_Complete.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:24am EDT

A look back at the highlights from the 2014 harvest. 

We knew it was going to be an early harvest this year. We didn't know that things were going to kick off with an earthquake. Our magnitude 6 shaking on Aug 24th took us by surprise, but didn't thwart the fast and furious harvest pace that characterized this season. This podcast covers the earthquake, surprise of supple tannins, and healthy yields that will characterize our memory of the 2014 wines.

Direct download: Post_Harvest_Wrap__Complete.mp3
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Direct download: Eric_Renaud_Complete.mp3
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I met Russell Bevan last year as we had both done our time with the Jesuits at Gonzaga University.  Russell is a big guy with an even larger personality, which is only superseded by some of the critical review his wines have received.

He is a man to pull no punches.   That is what most excited me to bring him onto the Inside Winemaking Podcast.  Russell founded Bevan Cellars with his partner, Victoria De Crescenzo, in 2004 and in less than ten years has rocketed to the top of luxury wine lovers' most-coveted list.   In our conversation Russell lays out his disdain for "good, clean wine," and explains in detail his winemaking philosophy and the meticulous standards he and his team employ.  For example, Russell is preparing to make up to six yeast additions to his wines this coming harvest in order to re-create his version of a wild fermentation.  And this because, as he states, "There's no such thing as a true wild fermentation."  Most of Russell's ideas on winemaking challenge what I have learned during my own career and our conversation during this podcast left my head spinning in the way it does every time we meet.  I keep coming back for more.

Direct download: Russell_Bevan_Complete.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04am EDT

This short episode is an update covering the experience of the Aug 24th earthquake in Napa, CA.  I talk about the experience we went through at home and then provide a very brief idea of how local wineries were affected.      While it was a terrifying experience, we came through unharmed and are incredibly grateful that the damage to our home and those of our friends was mostly superficial.  

Direct download: Earthquake_Update_Complete.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:17am EDT

When you are the harvest coordinator, cellar crew, owner, and winemaker of a boutique winery and the grapes are going to be picked starting at 3AM, your day begins shortly after dinner.  Waxwing Wines is the creation and 0ne-man operation with Scott Sisemore at the helm.  

During this episode of the Inside Winemaking Podcast Scott joins me to elaborate on how his years of making wine throughout northern Californian, India, and Chile inspired him to focus his attention on small lots of Pinot Noir and Syrah.  

Scott runs a lean winery at Waxwing and he is forthcoming during our conversation regarding the equipment and practices that he feels are key for producing exquisite wines.  Waxwing Wines are a focused representation of their vineyard designated sources and Scott's dedication, so much so that every cork is branded with his phone number.

Direct download: Scott_Sisemore_Complete.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Mike Dunn returned to his family's winery in 2000 and  in this Podcast tells the story of his journey outside of winemaking and how it ultimately lead back to Dunn Vineyards up on Howell Mountain in Napa.  Mike describes what Dunn looked like back when he was a teenager working for Randy.   He then goes over how some basic equipment upgrades in the early 2000's have streamlined the winemaking, saving time and everyone's back health, yet kept the winemaking simple and respected the tradition of Dunn Vineyards - massive in fruit and tannins.  

Having access to some gnarly old vine Petite Sirah, and the motivation to create something purely his own, Mike launched Retro Cellars in 2003.  During our conversation Mike gives a cheat-sheet for working with Petite Sirah both in the vineyard and the cellar.    He then ties Dunn and Retro in together and explains how time and patience are key to both of these very different wines.  

Direct download: Mike_Dunn_Complete.mp3
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Direct download: Zeke_Neeley_Completed.mp3
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I couldn't be more thankful to have a good friend, Matt Reid, join me on the Podcast 
as my first guest.  Matt take us through his winemaking history and explains how a $2.98 book on the remainder shelf got his career fermenting.

Direct download: Matt_Reid_Final_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54am EDT

This initial episode lays out what you can expect from the Inside Winemaking Podcast.  Host Jim Duane covers the show's intent, it's format, Jim's qualifications as a winemaker, his background, and the inspiration for creating the Podcast.

Direct download: Inside_Winemaking_Podcast_Overview_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02am EDT