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Weingut Andreas Tscheppe, Austrian producer of Orange Wine

Recently I was in one of my favorite restaurants, la Bodega Cigaleña (@BodegaCigalena), in Santander, when I was offered a tasty and very special white wine. Andrés Conde (@CondeLaya) told me it was produced in Austria and it was done keeping the wine more time in contact with the skins. As far as I know this is very unusual in Spain, as here the white wines tend to have a pronounced acidity and this wine was more about texture rather than about acidity.

So I started investigating about this wine. Weingut Andreas Tscheppe is a winery located in Gamlitz (Glanz/Leutschach), a small village in Southern Styria, an Austrian region close to the Slovenian border, between Grazand Maribor. Andreas runs a small family boutique winery producing white wines.

Now, what’s so special about this winery? For me it is the way Andreas produces his wines. The one I tasted was Andreas Tscheppe Hirschkäfer Erdfass 2012. This is a wine elaborated in a way it is called Orange Wine. An Orange Wine is a white wine made with skin contact for a prolonged period of time. This is an ancient tradition going back in time for several centuries. Georgian winemakers were using this method for developing wine with tannins.

Following this Georgian tradition, though not using amphorae or clay vases but oak barrels, after a time of up to two weeks with skin contact the wine is transferred to 300–600 liter capacity oak barrels and then buried underground during the Winter. According to Andreas, during the Winter months life stops above ground so under it is where vitality is found. Thus, the wine stays buried for 5–6 months during wintertime. In Spring the barrel is buried out and it is stored again in the cellar. Two years after harvest the wine is bottled and usually after filling, it’s released into the market. That means the wine spends 24 months in the oak barrels, 5–6 months of those months underground).

This style of elaborating wine was abandoned halfway through the Twentieth Century, and it was recently adopted again, not without the controversy about a tannic white wine. Nowadays Orange Wines are really appreciated and rare to find. Orange wines are full-bodied, complex, mineral wines, far from the pineapple, green-apple white wine mainstream style. There are highly appreciated producers of these quality wines in Croatia, Slovenia and Northern Italy.

Andreas Tscheppe started his winery in 2006. His vineyards are in a very special location, surrounded by rather steep hills and with the vineyards in terraces. He follows the biodynamic philosophy and the complexity of the soils is the basis for expressive wines. Their wines spend 18–24 months on average in oak barrels. Harvest is carefully done by hand.

Besides the Hirschkäfer Erdfass, which is a blend of Chardonnay and SauvignonBlanc, Andreas elaborates the following wines:

Blue Dragonfly– Sauvignon Blanc

Green Dragonfly– Sauvignon Blanc

Salamander– Chardonnay

ButterflyYellow Muskateller


The Goldmuskateller is also an Orange Wine.

Soon we will talk to Andreas about his winemaking philosophy and his wines.

Photos © Weingut Andreas Tscheppe

Duckhorn Vineyards, masters of Merlot

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 24/11/2016.

I love Merlot. I also love Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, but I will always choose a Merlot wine. My all-time favorite wine is the Jean Leon Merlot 2001 and if I’m going to Bordeaux, which I don’t usually do but anyway, I will always go to Saint Emilion. That’s because I love a Merlot wine.

I was thinking about writing a story of a winery that would be using this varietal as a distinct wine, and talking to a buddy of mine, he was always praising the Merlots of Duckhorn Vineyards (@DuckhornWine), a Napa Valley winery. So I decided to do a bit of research on them and see how they elaborate their Merlots to be the quality wines they are.

Duckhorn Vineyards was established in St. Helena, Napa Valley in 1976 by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn. Dan traveled to Saint Emilion and Pomerol in Bordeaux, where he discovered the Merlot varietal. This grape was used in blends by many wineries in Napa Valley but not in single varietal wines. He thought the Merlot had the required potential to be a great stand-alone wine due to its elegance and softness. So this way Duckhorn Vineyards was born. In their first vintage in 1978 they were able to produce 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot. Later in 1982 they added Sauvignon Blanc to its portfolio.

Nowadays Duckhorn owns seven estate vineyards in Napa Valley, spread over different areas as Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and the much coveted Howell Mountain. They have almost 200 different vineyards lots and once harvest is done, the wine is barrel-aged by separately vineyards. If this seems to be a challenge, aging the wine like this to later proceed to its blending, keep in mind that they use 25 different types of oak from 13 different producers. And not only that, there is more. Besides growing their own vineyards, they also buy fruit from independent growers throughout Napa Valley. Soon we will talk to Duckhorn’s winemaker Renee Ary to see how she manages to put all this together to produce these wines.

Last year, Duckhorn acquired the legendary Three Palms Vineyard, after decades of working with its coveted grapes. It was a testament to their belief that Three Palms is the preeminent Merlot vineyard in North America. “Three Palms is like America’s Pétrus,” said Renee Ary. “It is not just that it produces amazing wines that are absolutely distinctive—it does so every year, regardless of the conditions. That’s the mark of greatness.” Named for its three iconic palm trees, the warm, up valley vineyard features lean soils that cause the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, producing an intense, age-worthy wine with complex fruit and mineral layers.

Duckhorn produces single varietal wines with the following grapes: six Merlot wines, seven Cabernet Sauvignon wines, two Sauvignon Blanc wines, two Chardonnay wines, one Cabernet Franc wine and a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. They also produce The Discussion Napa Valley Red wine, a blend. A Petit Verdot wine was produced in 2009.

The six Merlot wines are the Three Palms Vineyard (89% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot), Napa Valley (88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc), Carneros Napa Valley (100% Merlot), Rector Creek Vineyard (95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon), Atlas Peak Napa Valley (100% Merlot) and Merlot Stout Vineyard (100% Merlot).

On average the Merlots are aged in French oak barrels for 15 months, half of the barrels are new and the rest are in their second harvest.

Photos © by Duckhorn Vineyards

Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta, winemaker of Tenuta San Guido

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 17/12/2016.

Recently we talked about one of the most iconic wineries in the Italian Toscana, Tenuta San Guido, producer of the incredible Sassicaia wine. Today we will talk to the winemaker behind this wine, Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta.

Buongiorno, Marchese, and thank you for your collaboration. If we look for a wine representing what’s a Super Tuscan wine, Sassicaia always comes to mind. How is it being the creator of such wine with almost 50 vintages behind?

Although Sassicaia is often referred to as “SuperTuscan”, one must consider that this wine was born at a time when in the Bolgheri area there were no appellations. Super Tuscan defines a wine that is produced within a certain appellation (for example Chianti Classico) but produced outside the rules of the appellation itself (using French grape varieties in the blend for example). For this reason, Sassicaia was never really a Super Tuscan in the original sense of the term. Nonetheless, we are pleased to be considered one of the first Super Tuscan. In fact, the story of Sassicaia is a bit different because when my father Mario Incisa started experimenting with Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Bolgheri during the 1940’s, he was considered a pioneer of that area. He was the first to understand and believe that the territory of Bolgheri had great potential for growing good quality wines, and was especially suited for Cabernet grapes. It begun like a bet or a challenge that my father pursued, following his inspiration. This has turned to be a surprisingly successful project. My role was then to carry on what my father had achieved continuing to follow his strong intuitions, vocations and teachings, trying to keep the quality high and the production philosophy unchanged.

What do Super Tuscan wines have to make them so distinct?

I think the freedom to chose the grape variety that better adapt to the type of “terroir” of production. The clones that can better benefit from the influence of the surrounding territory. It is in particular this characteristic, as well as the strong territorial identity the express, that have made them so recognizable and appreciated in the world.

What is the main characteristic you want Sassicaia to offer?

Primarily the elegance and the gentle approach, which is never aggressive on the palate. But at the same time the aromatic structure that reflects the territory situated next to the sea, surrounded by hills and the Mediterranean forest that grows all around our vineyards. This allows the wine to present a very distinctive style, recognizable across time.

You use Cabernet Sauvignon in all your three wines and then Cabernet Franc for Sassicaia, Merlot for Guidalberto and Sangiovese for Le Difese. Why the blend is like this, and not for example using Merlot for Sassicaia?

The experience with the Merlot started later with the first vintage of Guidalberto in the year 2000. We were also encouraged by the success that this grape variety achieved in the Bolgheri area, with the birth of very important wines around that time. We have never used Merlot for Sassicaia because I did not want to change the identity of the wine created by my father that had already existed for 50 years. Also I believe that Cabernet is more suited for Sassicaia especially for the elegance of the tannins and the touch of minerality that this grape is able to convey and which is perfectly in line with the production philosophy of Sassicaia. Both aspects that I was never willing to change for the Sassicaia blend.

Besides the difference in ageing in the three wines, what do the other varietal in each wine give to the Cabernet?

Neither my father nor myself were particularly interested in mono-varietal wines. We believe in fact that the elegance and refinement of the Cabernet Sauvignon was well complemented with the Cabernet Franc. This grape variety adds a soft and balanced yet more complex structure and extraction to the wine, enriching the blend without changing exceedingly its nature and identity.

In the case of Guidalberto the Merlot contributes to give a different character to the wine, by adding more structure, while keeping the balance with an elegant palate. This is a characteristic that we want to achieve in all three wines.

Also the 30% Sangiovese added in Le Difese is intended to give more structure to the blend while making it different from the other two blends. Le Difese is a wine conceived to be drank young, fresh and easy to combine with different type of food.

Do you use the same percentage in the blend year in and year out? How do you choose the percentage of each varietal?

Generally yes, although this depends also on the climatic evolution of each year and on the productivity of the vineyards. The blend is already set thought the ampelographic selection we have in the vineyards, but of course the further and more accurate selection that is done at the moment of the production, can bring some slight difference in the percentages.

What’s the influence of soil and climate in your vineyards?

Like my father often used to say, it is Nature that is the maker of the wine and the territory will always be a strong source of inspiration. The vineyards are planted on plots of land of alluvial origin, with different and composite morphological characteristics, as well as with a strong presence of limestone. These areas are also rich in rocks, gravel and clay as well as iron oxide. All these elements make our soils similar to the Graves in Bordeaux which are particularly suited for the cultivation of Cabernet. The proximity to the sea, the effect of light and heat due to the sun’s reflection on the water, the hills on which the vineyards are planted, between 100 and 300 meters above sea level facing West/South-West, that also offer shelter from the cold winter winds, and the mediterranean forest surrounding the vineyards, are all elements that influence the wines with scents and aromas. At the same time, the evening humidity cools down and moists the vineyards during the hot summer nights, helped by the fresh marine breezes. These are all optimal conditions that influence and characterize the grapes growing in this area.

How do they transmit their characteristics to the wines?

I would say that it is all based on these aspects of the Terroir described above. The cabernet vines and grapes, more than any other, are able to interact with the pedologic aspect of the soils, as well as with the microclimate. As a result the territory where the grapes come from always leaves a clear mark in the wines musts produced in the area.

What makes your wines different from other SuperTuscan wines?

I believe that each wine is born out of a particular territory and also from the hands of the person who harvests its fruits. I think that these characteristics are always recognizable in our wines.

What part of your job you enjoy more? The vineyards, the winery…

I enjoy all parts of my job, but especially the work in the vineyards, that is where the product, the wine, originally is born.

Which recent vintage are you more proud of?

It is a hard question, a bit like asking a parent what child one would be more proud of! I am proud of different vintages for different reasons. Maybe if we take the older vintages I would say 1988, still young today and still one of my favorites. Regarding the new vintages, probably 2014, which was considered by many a difficult year, while we managed to produce a very classic Sassicaia, of which we are very proud.

What’s your winemaking philosophy?

I have always followed and maintained the teachings of my father and also of the precious collaboration of Giacomo Tachis, with whom I have had the chance to work for a long time. I owe to them both the passion for wine, for the territory, and the appreciation of our particular style of production.

Do you have a personal touch in your wines?

Each wine has its own touch and our role is to preserve it and not change it. Personally I prefer to let the territory give its “personal” touch to our wines.

Which kind of wine you like to drink when you are not working?

I like very much drinking also white wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc from Alto Adige. As for the reds I also very much enjoy drinking a good wine from Bourgogne.

Thank you very much, Marchese.

Photos © Tenuta San Guido

Eric Baugher, Director of Winemaking at Ridge Vineyards

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 10/10/2016.

Recently we run a feature on California’s winery Ridge Vineyards and the wines the produce. Today we will talk to Eric Baugher. Eric is Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker at Ridge Vineyards’ Monte Bello Winery in Santa Cruz Mountains. A native Californian, Eric grew up on a small ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He joined Ridge as chemist in 1994 and in his first year he conducted a research to develop new, sophisticated analytical tests to support Ridge’s traditional winemaking practices. Eric has had his hand in the production of Ridge wines since the harvest of 1995. Since that time, Eric was promoted to Vice President of Winemaking in 2001, winemaker in 2004, and Chief Operating Officer in 2016. His passion for wine and the stimulating juxtaposition of low-tech winemaking and high-tech analytic techniques keeps him totally involved and constantly inspired.

Good morning, Eric and thank you very much for your contribution. You produce one of the most iconic wines in California, Ridge Monte Bello. What’s the secret of this wine?

Having a perfect combination of limestone subsoil, elevation, and ocean proximity makes Monte Bello a truly unique vineyard. To produce such a distinctive wine you need not only good ground and a moderate cool-climate. There is the need for expert viticulture. Our viticulturists are highly knowledgeable about organic farming on a steep mountain site. Without their ability to carefully raise a high quality crop, I wouldn’t have the ingredients to make top quality wine. On the winemaking side, I keep my hands off the process, except for guiding the fermentation along. I make all decisions by taste; when to pick, how much pump-over for extraction to give, when to press, what press fraction to add, etc. Once each of the seventy or so lots are fermented, sent to barrel for natural malolactic, at the fifth month the most important aspect of my responsibilities kicks in at the first assemblage and then again at the second. The assemblage is the most important secret to making Monte Bello. The rigorous blind tasting, where a selection is made for those parcels that carry a strong expression of “Monte Bello”. Then a careful tasting is done where the parcels are blended one at a time to build the Monte Bello. It’s a highly complex assemblage with many different blend possibilities. Once we think the blend is complete, it is blind-tasted against the last ten vintages to compare. Vintage characteristic will show, but a common thread of Monte Bello character will be present in all glasses.

In Monte Bello Estate Vineyard you also produce one Merlot and two Chardonnay. How do these varietals work here?

Depending on exposure and elevation, Merlot and Chardonnay grow just as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Merlot and Chardonnay, in particular, have the easiest time ripening. In fact, our Chardonnays have often been well into the 14-15% alcohol range. This has been mainly due to the clone that has efficient photosynthesis causing sugar to lead flavor. We’ve been planting new parcels of Chardonnay to old historic California clones at higher elevation points with cool ocean exposure. This has finally helped with our desire to pick earlier and at lower alcohol potentials. Merlot tends to hit full ripeness at 13.5%. The best parcels grow between 2,300 and 2,650 feet, and are often the ones blended into Monte Bello. Lower elevation parcels on richer soils, produce softer, more accessible Merlot, for the separate Estate bottling.

Monte Bello is the top wine produced in the winery, yet the Zinfandel is the most popular in terms of number of labels and areas with cultivated vineyards.

That is true; Monte Bello is the wine that was first made at Ridge in 1962. The first Zinfandel was made from a small patch of Prohibition-surviving Nineteenth Century vines on Monte Bello Road. The founders of Ridge made the Zinfandel no different than Cabernet, going for full extraction and producing the Zinfandel in a rich style that was popular before Prohibition. In replanting Monte Bello vineyard (which all vines, but the Zinfandel, from the 1800’s were lost during Prohibition) Ridge needed cash flow. They decided to search out other Zinfandel vineyards across the state, to harvest and make into single-vineyard wine. In the 1960’s, Zinfandel had a low reputation among consumers. Growers who had surviving Zinfandel vineyards encountered difficulties finding wineries to buy their fruit. Prices were low, there was no demand; odds were against Zinfandel not being ripped out of the ground and replanted to other varietals. Ridge became fascinated with this variety, its history, and ability to show vineyard character. Over the past fifty years, Ridge has made over 50 different single-vineyard labeled Zinfandels. The Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) organization was founded by Ridge, Ravenswood and Rosenblum in 1991. ZAP, and particularly Ridge, helped revive the popularity of California’s historically significant grape.

What Zinfandel offers you to work with it?

It’s a grape that can make many different styles of wine. The Zinfandels we make are generally modest in ripeness, contain full tannin extraction, and possess greater acidity. Our most interesting Zinfandels are produced from Nineteenth Century old vineyards. They are predominantly Zinfandel, but also field-blended with complimentary varietals (Petite Sirah, Carignan, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, mission grapes). There are no two vineyards that have the same composition or soil, and as a result the wines we make all taste uniquely different, showing their distinctive vineyard personality.

Does the Zinfandel change a lot from one AVA to the other?

Zinfandel is highly influenced by its region’s microclimate and soil composition. In a warm region, it will produce a ripe style wine with moderate color and soft tannins. That style of Zinfandel is for near-term drinking. As the regions become cooler, closer to the Pacific Ocean, Zinfandel takes on greater seriousness. The best region for Zinfandel is Northern Sonoma County, inland enough from the coast to be warm by day, but cool at night. We farm most of our Zinfandel acreage in Dry Creek Valley and just over the hill to the east in Geyserville.

Where do you believe the Zinfandel gives its best soul?

I find the most classic Zinfandels are coming from Dry Creek Valley and west-side Alexander Valley. Whether our own Zinfandels, or other producers, these two areas have optimal climate to produce highly complex and age-worthy wine.

How are two Merlots, Estate and Perrone?

Estate Merlot is made from several parcels rather than a single one such as what makes the Perrone. The Estate is made mostly of lower elevation/richer soil locations, where the wine produced is less tannic and more fruit-forward. It makes a wine that can be enjoyed young. Perrone, named for the nineteenth century founder of the upper elevation ranch of Monte Bello Estate. At this high elevation point, with eroded soils that are poor in nutrients, the Merlot vines produce highly concentrated grapes. The wine can often join the Monte Bello blend, but in 2013 we held out a portion to bottle separately. It is a serious Merlot with deeper flavors and richer tannin structure. The Perrone will be enjoyable to drink when it has had ten years of bottle age.

How do you manage having two different wine facilities, one at Lytton Springs and the other at Monte Bello?

We have had two facilities since 1991, when Ridge bought the Lytton Springs Winery. A small amount of wine was still produced under the original owners label through 1994. Finally, with additional investments made in the equipment and cellar, the winery was capable of reaching Ridge quality and the 1995 Ridge Sonoma Station Zinfandel was made. However, the facility was inadequate for reaching higher quality. In 1998 we began the design of a new facility. All the while, Lytton West was purchased and replanting was being done. There was soon going to be a point when we could not continue to make all our Zinfandel at Monte Bello winery. In 2003, Lytton Springs Winery was complete. Lytton Springs could be made there, along with our new Estate vineyard called East Bench. Since then, we have been able to move the production of several other wines to the new winery. At Monte Bello, we have been planting more acreage to Cabernet and will eventually have a higher percentage of total production be Bordeaux varietal. Yet, with Zinfandel ripening early, at Monte Bello we can continue to produce several Zinfandels such as Geyserville, Paso Robles and a couple for ATP members, and our Syrah. These vineyards are usually finished by the time we get into harvest of Monte Bello fruit.

Before we had Lytton Springs Winery, the Monte Bello winemaking facility was pushed to its limit. Fermentors had to be turned quickly, maybe sometimes more quickly than allowing ideal extraction. Now with two facilities, each location has the ability to carefully ferment and extract without time constraints. It does require having a team of quality-oriented individuals who have also bought into the pursuit of making fine wine. John Olney, my counterpart at Lytton Springs, is exactly that kind of individual. He and I both trained under Paul with the same philosophies, rigor, and quality-minded winemaking approach. He runs a cellar team who work by those same high standards as my cellar team at Monte Bello. While we don’t get involved in each other’s wine during vinification, we do collaborate after the harvest by blind-tasting through the wines and giving feedback. We both have been involved in making these wines for a long time, within a very specific style so it’s important that we check each other.

How is your approach to winemaking?

My approach is to respect the varietal and vineyard, not produce a wine that is a reflection of me. I call it “egoless” winemaking. In fact, I am not a fan of the use of the word “winemaker” as it reduces the vineyard’s contribution to the quality of the wine. For a wine to show its unique vineyard character, it must be picked at ideal ripeness-not overripe. It shouldn’t be over-exacted, over-oaked, or manipulated with color or tannin adjucts. A natural wine, showing place, shouldn’t be allowed to spoil either or be kept overly preserved with sulfites. It must receive proper care in the cellar and have patience to slowly develop in barrel. I would say my winemaking approach is what I have learned from Paul: keep wines elegantly restrained, complex, age-able.

How come this area of Northern California offers so many great wines? What’s so special in Santa Cruz Mountains?

By definition, the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is exactly that, a rugged mountainous grape growing area. There are hardly any flat vineyards to be found, everything is steeply sloped or terraced. Yields are low, the Pacific Ocean and the fog it brings can be moderating of temperatures, and make ripening somewhat more difficult. It’s an appellation made up mostly of small winegrowers. There are no large commercial/conglomerate wine operations anywhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This challenging viticultural area and expensive land cost keep those large producers out. It allows the small boutique wineries a chance to focus on making respectable quality without the area’s reputation being hurt by the mega-wineries producing lessor quality. Also, the Santa Cruz Mountains is made up of several coastal mountain ranges of varying soil, microclimate, and elevation. At the coast you can grow burgundy varietals. At the appellation’s mid-point the Rhone varieties grow well. Across the San Andreas Fault line, on the eastern Ridge where Monte Bello is located, Bordeaux varietals do well.

Ridge has two annual releases. Do you choose every year the wines going in each release or they are always the same?

Over time, our experience with the many vineyards we produce wine from, and how they age in barrel and bottle, has allowed us to establish fixed release dates. Generally we release the more accessible wines in the spring, while the more structured wines remain in barrel longer for the fall release. In between, many wines made for our Advanced Tasting Program (ATP) are released each month. Those wines may get 2-3 years of barrel age, additional bottle age, and are usually very drinkable upon release. We never rush an ATP wine, or any other Ridge wine, to market.

What’s the criterion for each wine to be in each release?

Accessibility is crucial; have the tannins settled down and resolved? Is there good balance between all the elements? We make wine-by-wine assessments before bottling by blind-taste to decide bottling date. From there we continue to taste and decide when to release.

And what about the wines offered only to list members? Do they change every year? Why they are so particular?

The ATP members will get fairly unique wines each year. Many are vineyards that we have worked with for a long time, like Mazzoni, Bucchignani, Dusi Ranch, etc. This is also the outlet for our Rhone varietal wines. Occasionally, we’ll find and test out a new vineyard site, crushing a few tons to make a couple hundred cases. Those small production lots will be available to members.

How much production goes to the membership programs and how much to the market?

Members receive about one-fourth of our production volume, which accounts for nearly half our total number of labels. We make roughly twenty-eight unique wines in a single vintage. Thirteen are sold via US wholesale (of which eight are exported to forty countries). The rest are sold direct-to-consumer through the three different wine clubs of Ridge. Members are given first priority to purchase our small lots. The limited quantities remaining are sold in the two tasting rooms.

Do you have a preferred wine? Maybe it changes with each vintage?

It is very difficult to pick one over another. I love all the wines I make. These vineyards are special to me, having worked with their fruit for the past twenty-three vintages. Of course, the wine that interests me the most to produce, offers me the greatest intellectual challenge, is Monte Bello. This steep vineyard is made up of forty-five parcels of Bordeaux varietals, which ripen slowly and are vulnerable to weather. It is a wonderfully complex site to work. It requires the greatest amount of effort to produce. Once each lot has carefully been made into wine, resting in barrel, a careful blind-tasting is done to make the selection. It will vary in the varietal composition by what sort of growing season the vines endured.

Which style of wine do you like to drink when you are not at work?

I am mostly interested in wines from other cool-climate regions that have high natural acidity and good tannin structure. I enjoy wines from Left-bank Bordeaux, Loire, Mersault, South Africa, Northwest Spain, to name a few. I am especially fond of aged wine. That is why Bordeaux is the wine region I travel to more often.

And what’s your personal touch in your wines? That one making a wine an Eric Baugher wine?

It is my hope that I am not leaving a personal touch on the wine. I can say my touch is much like Paul Draper’s, which is to not leave a mark on the wine. I want the vineyard character and varietal to translate from grape to wine. I don’t believe in heavy extraction to have aging potential, so the wines are often elegant, balanced and full of finesse. That has a lot to do with careful tasting during fermentation and decisions about remontage or when to press, what to do with pressings, and assemblage of the selected ingredients.

Since you are at Ridge, which are the three wines you are fonder of?

Our one and only white wine is the Estate Chardonnay from Monte Bello. I am absolutely convinced (from all the tasting I have done of other regions) that it is one of the great white wines of the world, and getting better over the years as I’ve shifted the approach of selection, battonage, and elevage.

I am also fond of Geyserville, a proprietary field-blended Zinfandel of 130+ year old vines. They grow on an ancient river bed, with gravel and river stone sub-soil for drainage. Geyserville has been made for 50 years. The track record of this site is terrific for producing powerful wine with aging potential of 30-40 years. In fact, you can still drink a ’68 vintage. The third wine is Monte Bello red. It is made with a discipline that goes beyond many first-growth chateaux in Bordeaux. When you look at all the wine regions of the world, there are no other places that have ocean proximity, limestone, Mediterranean climate, and elevation all in one site.

Thank you very much, Eric.

Photos © Ridge Vineyards


Abacela Vineyards, Spanish Tempranillo in Southern Oregon

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 03/10/2016.

Sometimes you find so fascinating stories about wine. As happens in life, people involved in wine also go through really passionate and interesting stories. And this winery located in Oregon in the United States is definitely one of them.

Earl Jones is a native Kentuckian who started loving wine during his college days. He married Hilda and while doing a trip to Europe, they arrived in Spain and fell in love with the Tempranillo varietal used in Rioja wines. Both had successful careers in the medical field, and through their trips to Europe their wine collection and knowledge about wine increased. They started thinking about moving from their medical career to a winemaking career. In love as they were with the Tempranillo, they noticed that it wasn’t produced in USA, so they started doing a thorough research about Tempranillo and the best climatic conditions for the grape to grow safe. They did a lot of research analyzing weather patterns in Rioja, Ribera Del Duero and USA to find a place where Tempranillo would grow in similar conditions to those found in Spain. Finally, they found the right spot, in the Southern area of Oregon. Decision time arrived, and they decided to cross the country with their kids and their belongings and they aimed their van to the Pacific Northwest. The banner in their van said it loud and clear: Oregon…. Or bust!

In 1994 they arrived in the Umpqua Valley and faced 500 acres of empty land. Such a challenge ahead. And in that moment, Abacela Vineyards (@abacela) was born.

In 1995, after preparing the soil they planted 10.000 vines, one third of them Tempranillo and the rest varietals not well known in the States. In 1996 they had their first harvest and they were able to produce 36 cases of Cabernet Franc. It was in 1997 when their first Tempranillo wine saw the light, with 243 cases out of a total of 974 cases of wine.

In the next few years Hilda and Earl presented their Tempranillo to different wine competitions, earning many prizes and even beating 19 wineries of Spain and another one from USA in a Tempranillo competition in 2001 with their 1998 vintage.

Over the years, they tested different varietals. Some did well, some others didn’t, some of them never were planted before in Oregon. Now, after 21 years since Abacela was established, they have produced single varietal wines with the following grapes: Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Malbec, Grenache, Sangiovese, Albariño, Tannat, Tinta Amarela and Touriga Nacional.

In 2013 they were chosen the Oregon Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest and in 2015 Wine Enthusiast Magazine nominated Abacela for American Winery of the Year. That same year Earl and Hilda also received the Oregon Wine Industry’s Life Time Achievement Award, which had only been given ten times previously.

And why the name Abacela? Earl was doing research in a library in Bilbao, Spain, when he came across the Spanish word “Abacelar.” This means “to plant a grape vine.” Its third-person conjugation “abacela” means “he/she plants a vine”. The Joneses named their vineyard and winery “Abacela.”

Nowadays they produce single-varietal red wines made with Tempranillo, Dolcetto, Grenache, Graciano, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Tannat, Tinta Amarela and Touriga Nacional. The white wines are produced with Albariño, Muscat and Viognier. They produce a Rosé with Grenache and also two dessert wines.

Paramour is their flagship Tempranillo wine.

It is truly a remarkable story seeing how the passion of a family for growing a particular wine varietal took them conducting this thorough research and to cross their country to start a new life from scratch.

Soon we will speak with Andrew Wenzl, Abacela’s winemaker manager, about their work with the Spanish Tempranillo grape.

Photos © by Abacela Vineyards

Ridge Vineyards, the Californian iconic winery of Santa Cruz Mountains

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 22/09/2016.

Being a long time reader of mine as you are, I know you are aware I love Californian wines. I have enjoyed so many bottles of great Cabernet Sauvignon wines, such as the Caymus Special Selection, Mayacamas, Chateau Montelena, Heitz Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars or Beringer, to name a few. When we talked about my view on wine prices, I said that there are just a few wines I would pay whatever they asked for them. One of those wines is the Ridge Monte Bello, from Ridge Vineyards. This is one of my all-time favorite wines.

Ridge Vineyards (@RidgeVineyards) is producing single-vineyard wines since 1962. The winery has a story dating back to 1885, when Osea Perrone bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He constructed the Monte Bello Winery and produced its first vintage in 1892.

Over the next decades, the winery went from producing wines to being abandoned, yet still the vineyards survived the Prohibition years in the 1920s. In the 1940s, the old vineyards were bought by William Short whom with his partners started producing one of the best Californian Cabernets in that era. In the 1960 Charlie Rosen, Hew Crane and Dave Bennion founded what today is Ridge Vineyards. Their first vintage was 1962. In 1964 came the first Zinfandel wine and in 1966 (great vintage indeed) the first Geyserville Zinfandel. Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. Nowadays Ridge Vineyards is a fully-certified organic winery.

In 1969 Paul Draper was hired as Ridge’s chief winemaker. Then he became partner and CEO of the winery. He has been until this retirement the one giving Ridge wines their personality, though his philosophy is far from making wines. The best vineyard, he says, should make itself with just minimal intervention on his side. He has been in charge of 46 vintages at the House.

Their winemaking philosophy includes fermenting entirely with native yeasts from the vineyard, without using commercial enzymes, relative less use of clarification and filtration. We will talk more in depth about winemaking soon with Eric Baugher, the COO (Chief Operating Officer) and Winemaker at Ridge Vineyards’ Monte Bello Winery in Santa Cruz Mountains.

Ridge was one of the US wineries taking part in the famous The Paris Wine Tasting in 1976, also known as the Judgment of Paris. To celebrate the American Bicentennial, six wineries from California were chosen to compete in Paris in a blind tasting with four wines from Bordeaux and four wines from Bourgogne. The tasting consisted in Chardonnay wines and red wines. Its Ridge Monte Bello 1971 was chosen by a panel of top French judges as the second-best US wine in that tasting and fifth overall.

Ridge owns two facilities: Monte Bello is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Cupertino and Lytton Springs is located in Sonoma County in Healdsburg.

Ridge produces single-varietal wines using Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in different areas:

  • East Bench Zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County.
  • Lytton Estate Petite Sirah Lytton Springs Estate Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County.
  • Paso Robles Zinfandel (Benito Dusi Ranch) in Paso Robles.
  • Estate Merlot Monte Bello Estate Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains.
  • Estate Chardonnay Monte Bello Estate Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains.
  • Monte Bello Chardonnay Monte Bello Estate Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains.
  • Torre Cabernet Sauvignon in Santa Cruz Mountains.
  • Perrone Merlot in Santa Cruz Mountains.

With a major proportion of Zinfandel, they elaborate:

  • Lytton Springs Lytton Springs Estate Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County with 69% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane and 2% Mataro (Mourvedre).
  • Ponzo Zinfandel Russian River Valley, Sonoma County with 96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah.
  • Geyserville Alexander Valley, Sonoma County with 60% Zinfandel, 24% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah and 4% Mataro (Mourvedre).
  • Pagani Ranch Zinfandel The old Pagani Ranch in Sonoma Valley with 80% Zinfandel, 17% Alicante Bouschet and 3% Petite Sirah.
  • Three Valleys 65% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 14% Carignane and 4% Grenache.
  • Buchignani Ranch Zinfandel in Sonoma County 78% Zinfandel and 22% Carignane.
  • Mazzoni Home Ranch Zinfandel in Alexander Valley 58% Carignane, 41% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah.

Finally, with a major proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, they elaborate: 

  • Monte Bello Monte Bello Estate Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains with 80% Cabernet Sauvignon 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot.
  • Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Bello Estate Vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Rigde Vineyards releases its wines two times a year: the Spring Release and the Fall Release. Each of them includes new wines of two different vintages. If we take a look at the 2016 releases, we can see than in the Spring they released Geyserville 2014, East Bench Zinfandel 2014, Paso Robles Zinfandel 2014, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Estate Merlot 2013, Estate Chardonnay 2014 and the Three Valleys 2014. Now, with the Fall coming upon us, Ridge Vineyards releases Monte Bello 2013, Monte Bello Chardonnay 2013, Lytton Estate Petite Sirah 2014, Lytton Springs 2014, Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2014 and Ponzo Zinfandel 2014.

It is interesting to see how they distribute their production in these two releases including in each of them different varietals, areas and vintages.

Ridge also offers membership options for acquiring its wines and also having access to special rates, offers and events. Three different levels in which you can receive options to buy their current releases and wines for members only:

  • Advance Tasting Program with monthly shipments of their small production wines, Zinfandels, field blends and Rhône varietals.
  • Monte Bello Collector with access to their Estate Cabernet blend and Estate varietals.
  • Z List for the Zinfandel lover as myself.
  • Members In All Three Programs including all the above plus exclusive benefits.

As you can see, Ridge is a very special winery worth looking at and also pay a visit. Of course, tasting its wines is just an amazing experience in itself.

We will talk soon to Eric Baugher about their line of work. Stay tuned.

Photos © Ridge Vineyards


Christina Turley, Napa Valley’s Turley Wine Cellars

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 14/09/2016.

Few years ago I discovered a great wine dining in a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. It was so smooth and superb that it made an impact on me. In other trips to the USA I tried hard to get a bottle of it but it was such a difficult task than over a three-year span I was able only to get one single bottle. They sell most of their production to an exclusive mailing list which is not that easy to get into. I subscribed to their mailing list and this year I received the greatest news: I had been accepted in the Turley Wine Cellars mailing list!!

So finally I was able to buy my own Turley Dusi Zinfaldel, one of the most special wines I have ever tasted. Now, I can tell you this: I won’t relinquish my spot in that list.

Zinfandel is a very special grape that you can’t find in many places outside California. In fact, Zinfandel is the state’s representative grape. Its origins are elsewhere—the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, to be exact—but it wasn’t until it came to California in the early 1800s that it truly began to flourish. All but extinct anywhere else, many of these original vineyards survived both phylloxera and Prohibition, making California home to the largest number of old vines as well.

In 1993, Larry Turley founded Turley Wine Cellars. Since then, the company has grown to own vineyards across 8 different areas of California planted with Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Sauvignon Blanc, with the Zinfandel being the most popular one planted in 25 different vineyards:

Howell Mountain, where they produce Cedarman, Dragon Vineyard and Rattlesnake Ridge Zinfandels and also Rattlesnake Ridge Petite Syrah and Dragon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

In Napa Valley they produce Hayne Vineyard, Estate and Heminway Vineyard Zinfandels. Hayne Vineyard, Library Vineyard and Estate Petite Syrah. Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

In Lodi we find Dogtown Vineyard and Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandels and then Bechtoldt Vineyard Cinsault.

Sonoma Valley offers Fredericks Vineyard and Bedrock Vineyard Zinfandels and Montecillo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Zampatti Vineyard is a Zinfandel from Sonoma County.

In Amador County, the Zinfandels are Rinaldi Vineyard, Judge Bell, Cobb Vineyard and Sadie Upton Vineyard.

As generic California we have the Old Vines and Juvenile Zinfandels and The White Coat.

In Paso Robles, Amadeo’s Vineyard, Pesenti Vineyard, Ueberroth Vineyard and Dusi Vineyard Zinfandels. Also Pesenti Vineyard Petite Syrah and Tecolote Red Wine.

Salvador Vineyard and Duarte Zinfandels are in Contra Costa County.

Mead Ranch Zinfandel is located in Atlas Peak and finally Vineyard 101 Zinfandel is in Alexander Valley.

We can see that Zinfandel is the grape of excellence for Turley with up to 25 different plots of this variety. I have tasted a few wines based on Zinfandel, not only by Turley but other producers, and obviously not from every area, but for me Paso Robles offers the best ones I’ve ever tasted. And here Turley offers four different vineyards, including my beloved Dusi:

Pesenti Vineyard is a certified organic estate-owned vineyard planted in the 1920’s on primarily limestone soil.

Ueberroth Vineyard is the oldest of the Zinfandel vineyards, having been planted in 1885.

Amadeo’s Vineyard, planted in the 1920’s, was the only vineyard supplying the family-owned Amadeo Martinelli winery.

Dusi Vineyard. Planted by Dante Dusi in 1945, it is farmed by his family to this day.

I’m sure that vinifying these many vineyards will be a challenge for the winemakers. 25 different Zinfandels from different areas and trying to make all of them great is quite a task to make year in year out.

Today we talk with Christina Turley, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Good morning Christina and thank you so much for talking to us. Turley Wine Cellars is present in 8 areas in California. I haven’t seen any other winery with so many vineyards across California. Turley Wine Cellars offers 25 different labels of Zinfandel. Some of them are available only through your Tasting Room and others are sold only on your mailing list. How do you make sure every year all of them will be accepted by the market? How many you do have available to sell?

Though it may seem like a lot of different Zinfandels for one winery, there are very few other wineries that make single-vineyard Zinfandels in the first place. Compare that to how many different Cabernets or Pinot Noirs there are coming out of California and, well, you can see how we don’t really need to “make space” for Zin—especially organically-farmed, well-made ones. Outside of the mailing list and tasting rooms, only about 12 of the 25 Zinfandels we make are available.

In overall, how’s the distribution of your wines in terms of how much goes through the mailing list, how much to the Tasting Rooms and how much goes to the market?

Production-wise, 70% is sold through the mailer & tasting rooms, with the remainder going to distribution. All of the wines are available through either the mailing list or tasting rooms, whereas about 12 of the 36 total wines we make are available in distribution.

In the case of the Zinfandels, do you try to create customers loyal to particular vineyards? I love the Zinfandel, and besides Dusi I have purchased four other Zinfandels, but tasting all 25 labels will be a hard task to complete.

We don’t try to push anyone toward anything. Folks buy the ones they like, though we are happy to make recommendations based on their preferences. For example, if you like Dusi I’d recommend the other Paso Robles wines as well as the Estate Zinfandel from Napa for similar characteristics.

How the Tasting Rooms work?

There are two tasting rooms—one in Paso Robles and a newer one in Amador. They are both open 7 days a week to the public, and as such make it possible for folks to taste and purchase directly from the winery as well as sign up for the mailing list. Though not all the wines we make are available in the tasting rooms, they occasionally have wines that are unique to their respective locations (Rinaldi Zinfandel in Amador and Amadeo’s Zinfandel in Paso, for example). We also offer library tastings or focused tastings wherein we tailor the experience to the guest; these are available by appointment only. When it comes to wine availability, the mailing list is always given priority, and only after that offer is complete do we determine what is available for the tasting rooms and distribution.

You have three annual releases: Spring, Fall and November. Why there are Zinfandels in each release? If they are harvested around the same time, what is the reason for releasing them along the year and not all at once?

Though we divvy them up based somewhat on flavor profiles—slightly lighter wines in Spring, fuller ones in Fall—the main factor is that having all 25 Zinfandels in one release would be overwhelming, for both our customers and for us! This way there’s about 15 wines each in the spring and fall mailing list release. November is the release for our Cabernets.

How does the winemaking team work? Tegan Passalacqua is the Director of Winemaking, Mike Schieffer is the assistant to Tegan, then Karl Wicka is in Paso Robles, Nick Finarelli is in Amador. Does Tegan take care of all the other areas besides Paso Robles and Amador?

How does it work? Very hard, very carefully, and all together. Tegan is the Director of Winemaking and as such oversees the entire production in all three locations, as well as the vineyard management. The other three folks help manage the day-to-day responsibilities of winemaking and vineyard management (in Paso Robles Brennan Stover is the Vineyard Manager). Tegan travels regularly to ALL the vineyards and wineries and works very closely with the entire team.

Which are your plans for the future? Expand to new areas?

Our main plans are to pray for rain and hope that folks stop ripping out old Zinfandel vineyards. (See the Historic Vineyard Society for more).

Which are your favorite Turley wines? And non Turley wines?

Like every parent, I might say I love all my children equally, but I tend towards some depending on how they behave. Recently, I’ve been jamming out on the Juvenile, Duarte, and Zampatti, and I have always loved the Hayne Zin & Petite. Library Petite also holds a special spot in my heart.

Thank you very much, Christina. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.

Photos (c) Turley Wine Cellars.

Orlando Lumbreras, the soul of a true winemaker

Originally published in miamigoelvino.com 11/08/2016.

It’s been a while now that I have an ongoing friendly argument with Jean Marcos (@larutadelvino1) about Grenache. He is a passionate lover of the Grenache produced in Madrid and its surroundings like the Sierra de Gredos. I prefer the more opulent Grenache produced in Aragon and especially in the Priorat. However, one vintage ago my friend Iñigo (@Dastagarri) helped me discover a small producer in Gredos who elaborates superb Grenache wines. I instantly fell in love with his wines. Orlando Lumbreras has two different proyects: his own one is Orly Lumbreras (@OrlandoLumbrera), where he makes two wonderful red wines: Punto G and Los besos que te robé, and other great red and white wines. The plot where the Punto G Grenache vines grow is located at 1100 mts. His other project is named RuBoR Viticultores (www.ruborviticultores.com), partnered with Rubén Díaz, (@RubenDiazVit). They elaborate red wines such as Groove and 7 Pulgadas and some whites as SADE, La Peguera (Albillo Real) and Chass (Chassellas Doré).

Good day, Orlando, and many thanks for your contribution. In the last times it has become trendy the wines of Sierra of Gredos in their two sheds, but mostly in the Madrid one. What has this area so special to make it so attractive?

Be careful with the term trendy; I would rather speak of discovery; and it is true that lately there is a lot of talk about the part facing Madrid, thanks especially to people like Fernando and Dani, of Comando G. But be aware with the Ávila side, for me it is much more untamed and with a wild temper. You ask me what this area has so special. I would say that has it all. To start, this breed of grape, Grenache, is unique, sensual, tremendously attractive, suggestive and very, very stylish. The area has magic, soul, passion, much to discover, strolling around you feel magnetism under your feet… I could be talking nonstop about everything you can find here, an emotion that is better to be felt and experienced rather than talked about.

Which characteristics have Orly Lumbreras wines?

Uffffff… I can say what I want them to convey, and that the people judge if we get it when they put it in the glass. We look for personality, character, the same we find in each vine. Each spot, each plot, is very different, they breathe, they feel and they convey way too different. And this uniqueness is what we seek in our wines. Wines of little extraction, elegant, passionate, long and above all, as I said, they speak about their environment, their space, the land and the climate that give them their peculiarity. It is true that in the white wines we seek complexity, that the earth talks, that they convey much more than freshness or fruitiness, and I believe that in these three years we are getting it going; This way at least we are beginning to be recognized, as the Albillos are the most personal and eclectic wines of the area. Singular, unique, white wines with so much character.

How does the Grenache and the white varieties behave in Gredos?

Grenache, the Albillo Real and also the Chasselas Doré (another white local breed) give you, multiplied by thousand, the love and the care you give them in the vineyard. This is to say that their behavior is the reflect of our organic, eco-friendly and committed-to-Mother-Earth work, giving us a healthy, fun, full of personality fruit, steeped in its skin and its pulp, carrying everything that has lived there for a year. For us it evolves in a wonderful way, very special; and in the winery there is little to do, beyond stepping on them the first days, pamper the fermentation and observe so that everything runs as it should run.

What you are looking for so that your wines show their character or personality?

As I commented before, we seek they express the personality of that vine where it is bred, where they arise, where they are growing to reach the time of the vintage. We look for feelings that express what they are. Eating the grapes during the Summer months, when it is close to harvest time, is feeling, imagining the way and the throb of each wine. We are looking for honesty. We don’t demand a grape that gives a wine that doesn’t carry its DNA printed. That would be to distort, deceive or manipulate. Our wines are honest in the sense that we are looking for that what you get on the glass is what you get from the vine.

Is there a big difference between a Grenache from Madrid slopes and on the side of Cebreros?

No and Yes. I think there is a big difference in each place, in each vine, in each plot. We have a plot in which arises Groove, impressive, sandy, that brings acidity and an incredible sensation of verticality. Something that we have not found in other parts of Cebreros, even in adjacent plots. Along Gredos, tracing the Alberche, we find very unique and different areas, from San Martín de Valdeiglesias or Rozas de Puerto Real, in the area of Madrid, to Navarrevisca or Navarredondilla, in the area of Ávila, passing by Cebreros or El Tiemblo. And within each area, the spots and plots are very different. A diversity that makes you fall in love, in truth.

Lately you are very active with a movement called Kolectivo Inkordia Wines (@Inkordiawines). Give us some info here, please.

Inkordia Wines is a group of friends who came together last year to attend Fenavin wine fair. We joined forces and gathered the few euros that we had to be able to attend a trade fair that we believed it was important for us and let us be known beyond our borders. In those four days of coexistence, 24 hours a day, a spark arisen, a “something” we said there was feeling between these people. And we decided to keep walking together, create a kolectivo to face adversity, fight by conveying our philosophy of life, our commitment to the countryside, our idea of vigneron or winegrower. Little by little we are growing, making more noise, making us visible, showing that there is life within life, beyond the large wineries. And that there is so much fighting, so much to fight and so much to shout for.

That’s where we are now, piano piano, wanting to spread our life, our wines, that we are known and recognized, and especially transmitting that without respect and commitment, we will kill the life on Earth, and that means we kill our lives.

What plans you have for the future? Age-worthy wines, perhaps?

The wines are to be drank, my friend, not to be saved. Producing 1000 bottles a year of our references, do you think I can come from keeps? The truth is that we do not have plans, we have dreams. And we daydream each day, every day, because if there is something that gives you the nature, the soil, you have so much calm that allows you to dream while you are working.

Coming back to Earth, not freaking out, I will tell you that one of the projects I’m more involved and more bundled is a space that are going to generate in Madrid called Taberna Inkordia, a place, we hope, revolutionary, where the wines will be accessible to the public in Madrid coming directly from some of the wineries of the Kolectivo Inkordia Wines, and a place from where you can chat directly with the people telling them about how we feel, our truth, our daily struggle. A dream that very soon will be a reality. In a few weeks we will start launching news about this.

To wrap up this conversation, Orly, what do you drink when you are not drinking your own wines?

I drink the wine of my friends; in this country there are many people making great wines, great wines. And that’s what I drink on a daily basis. You’re going to forgive me for not giving you names, because we would have to fill pages with the names of the people who are working in this country for real. Passionate people who are leaving their souls and hearts in the vineyards and in the winery. It would be unfair to say three, four names, and let other dozens of people without name. Authentic, honest wines that whisper me the life of people, those are the wines I drink every day.

Thank you, Orly, and may your dreams come true.

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