Sutro Wines: Love Letters to the Land

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Alice Sutro and touring Warnecke Ranch with her.  Even in winter, with the vines bare and waiting to be pruned, there was so much beauty.  We hiked up Chalk Hill, with her dog rushing past us, and took in the majestic view of the Russian River rumbling […]

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Domenica Amato: Born from love of wine, food and family.

Michael Scorsone makes great wines. In fact, he is the only winemaker that has been featured in Vinfluence TWICE. Way back in early 2017 Vinfluence featured Judge Palmer, a Cabernet Sauvignon focused brand that paid tribute to Michael’s business partner Palmer Emmitt’s family history.  With Domenica Amato, it’s Michael’s turn to pay homage to family […]

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Big Basin Vineyards: Expressive wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains

Winemaker and owner, Bradley Brown, established Big Basin Vineyards in the Gabilan Mountains back in 1998 and has been producing soulful wines from his estate and select other vineyards ever since. His wines come from high elevation plots that enjoy cooling ocean breezes, ancient mineral rich soils and meticulous organic farming. In the cellar, his […]

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Wilson Foreigner: In Pursuit of Terroir Gold

Wilson Foreigner is a wine project that pays homage to California’s history of winemaking and the search for parcels of terroir gold.  That vision is part of what attracted me to the brand–the wines themselves were what kept my attention.  With wine country native David Wilson at the helm, Wilson Foreigner makes exceptionally fresh and juicy, […]

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Apsara Cellars: Wines with Balance, Purity & Expression from Robin Akhurst

Napa Cabernet was my first wine-love and, while my wine consumption is quite diversified today, I am always looking for an exceptional bottle of it. That’s why I was so excited to meet winemaker Robin Akhurst and taste his wines. He makes sumptuous Cabernet with layers of flavors and a velvety texture—but they aren’t over-extracted fruit bombs. They’re elegant and balanced […]

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Reeve Wines: Uncorking the American Dream

I think what makes Reeve wines such a joy to drink—aside from their deliciousness, of course—is founders Noah and Kelly Dorrance’s story.  It’s the tale of two youngsters who ventured to the West Coast chasing dreams, saw an opportunity in the face of adversity, threw caution to the wind pursuing it, and found success beyond […]

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Meet the Winemakers: Jack & Johanna of KEEP WINES

Keep Wines is the passion project of Jack Roberts and Johanna Jensen Roberts, focused unusual varietals (Ciliegiolo, anyone?) from unique vineyard sites. In true Vigneron tradition, Jack and Johanna are hands-on from the vineyard through to bottling. They pick their fruit on the early side, produce their wines with minimal intervention and release them young. Their wines are lively and fruit forward, yet complex—once you try them your’ll keep going back for more!

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Meet the Winemakers: Belharra

For the last few years, Syrah has been one of my favorite varietals because it’s a very terroir influenced grape and can show great complexity. So, unsurprisingly, when I first tasted the Belharra Syrah from the Las Madres Vineyard I loved it. When I met co-winemakers and proprietors Anne Fogerty and Camille Gaïo, I loved the wine even more. The pair draw on an eclectic background of skills—Anne’s deep familiarity with their vineyard source, Camille’s sommelier’s palate—and years of experience working alongside and being mentored by respected winemakers, to craft truly noteworthy Syrah. They’re also just awesome, compassionate people.

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Meet the Winemaker: Leo Steen

Leo Steen is winemaker and owner of his namesake brand, Leo Steen Wines. Based in Sonoma, Leo crafts small lots (less than 1000 cases per year total!) of Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Syrah from select vineyards across California. Leo’s wines were featured in the April 2018 Vinfluence shipment. Enjoy my interview with Leo!

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Meet the Winemakers: Brian & Stephanie Terrizzi of GIORNATA

Making Italian varietals in California isn’t for the faint of heart. They don’t sell as easily as the more familiar Cab or Chardonnay, sourcing is a challenge as plantings in the state are relatively few, and historically ‘wine experts’ have been quick to dismiss these wines as poor imitations of the ‘real thing.’ Respect for Cal-Itals is still a contrarian opinion—but wine power-couple Stephanie and Brian Terrizzi are changing that.

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