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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Meet the Winemaker: David Jeffrey of Calluna Vineyards

David is an old-school vigneron. He lives on a vineyard he planted in Chalk Hill, one of the warmer Sonoma appellations, and makes exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and blends from the vines right outside his door. But before his idyllic wine country life, David lived and worked in the fast-paced finance world of New York.
When I learned David’s story—how he turned in his suit and tie for an enology textbook and a sturdy pair of work boots—I immediately knew that I wanted to share it (I’ll admit, I identified with it). Then, when I tried David’s wines, I knew I had to share them with Vinfluence club members. They’re ripe, but restrained for California wines, and reveal layer after layer of flavor. David’s wines are inspired by the blends of Bordeaux and I hope you’ll be inspired by David’s pursuit of his dream to make world class wines as you read my interview with him below.

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Meet the Winemaker: Kieran Robinson

Kieran Robinson Wines is a hidden gem just outside of Healdsburg, Sonoma. It’s literally off the beaten path, but I think that Kieran’s wines are well worth the trek along the winding roads. He makes rich, savory Syrah and surprisingly refreshing Viognier, both remenicient of the Rhone wines that made him fall in love with the varietals. Last summer I visited Kieran for a tasting and a chat. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from my conversation with him!

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5 TIPS FOR WINE TASTING AT HOME

It’s officially cold, at least in the northeast, and that means it’s time to entertain ourselves inside. Sure, there are plenty of Netflix originals to binge (Ozark is a must), but if you’re craving something a bit more interactive here’s an idea: host a wine tasting. It isn’t rocket science, but hosting a well-executed tasting isn’t […]

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A conversation with the winemakers: Matt Nagy & Ben Brenner

Last month I sat down to chat with Matt Nagy and Ben Brenner, owners/winemakers of Benevolent Neglect, a micro-winery making exceptional wines sourced from select vineyards in Napa and Mendocino. As their winery’s to-the-point name implies, Matt and Ben believe in minimal intervention winemaking. They are part of the “New California” wave of vintners pushing boundaries and rebelling against […]

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National Rosé Day! Three ways to drink pink.

With all new food and beverage crazes, eventually comes a national ‘holiday’ and, starting last year, the second Saturday in June became National Rosé Day.

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A conversation with March Cellars owner & winemaker: Ashley Trout

March Cellars is winemaker Ashley Trout’s latest project, born from passion for great wine, great adventure and an eternal stubbornness. Sourcing fruit from both Walla Walla and Columbia Valley, WA, Ashley crafts and balanced wines with minimal intervention.

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