gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 95

Another challenge has been living in the shadow of ’ Sarah ,’ meaning that I feel constrained to stay true to the founder ’ s vision — which is making soft , elegant and feminine wines . We have a large wine club and accounts across the country . If I suddenly changed the profiles of our wine and started to make bigger and bolder wines , we would alienate our loyal fans and the trust they have for this brand . But at the same time , I ’ d like to be able to do something different now and then . It ’ s a difficult to balance , these competing desires .

Do you have a degree in winemaking ? I earned a Master ’ s in Electrical Engineering , specializing in semiconductor physics and fabrication . Starting in 2001 when I took over the winery , I attended the School of Hard Knocks to learn about winemaking ; and in 2011 finally completed the winemaker ’ s certificate program at UC Davis . I ’ ve also worked with a number of consultants and the other local winemakers to learn whatever I can .
Who is the primary winemaker for your wines ? I ’ m the head winemaker , but it ’ s a group effort of course . We have a really good assistant winemaker , Pat , who is endlessly cheerful and good natured . And we are continuously working alongside other local winemakers , and have lots of discussions about how to overcome problems or perfect the blend of a wine . Colleagues like Jason Goelz ( winemaker at Jason-Stephens Winery ) and John Aver ( winemaker at Aver Family Vineyards ) are always willing to give honest feedback and that ’ s tremendously helpful .
How would you describe the Santa Clara wine region ? Our local wines are getting better overall , year after year . Over the last ten years there has been a big step up in our wine region ’ s quality . We have a lot of new wineries opening up and a lot of growth in the number of visitors too .
I remember forty years ago , a lot of the fine wines of California were still a little sweet , or they would be cloudy , or have a funky smell ; lots of problems . Nowadays , people demand perfection — nobody will buy a wine that ’ s cloudy or smells bad . Wine drinkers are a lot less forgiving and wine quality is much higher because of it . That ’ s true for our local area and across the entire State as well .
As a partner in The Stomping Ground , how does this fit into your business model for Sarah ' s ? We ran out of space in our little winery years ago and I needed a place to make wine . I ’ ve been working with Jason and Janu Goelz to convert an industrial space into an upscale , urban winery that currently houses four separate winery partners . Sharing equipment with the Goelz ’ s , I moved most of our wine production there . Although we will be keeping the Sarah ’ s Vineyard tasting room at our current location , I ’ m contemplating a new label with different kinds of wine which I might open at The Stomping Ground . It would be a nice way to express some individuality in the wine world !
What are your future goals ? Our overall goal is for Sarah ’ s Vineyard to be the most noteworthy winery on the Central Coast , from Santa Barbara to San Francisco . We want to make the best wine and have the best customer service ; and I ’ m fortunate in having a staff that really believes in the goal and wants to be a part of the program . I ’ d also like to make Gilroy famous as a growing area ; where everybody knows about Gilroy and our local agriculture . This is a great place to be .
What do you drink when you are not drinking your own wine ? Sancerre , from the Loire Valley in France . Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc that tastes like a bowl of liquid sunshine . It is especially delicious when paired with fish or oysters . A nice glass of Sancerre on a hot summer day with some oysters on the half shell is just wonderful .
What kind of vibe does your winery have ? Our goal is to provide a gracious and welcoming experience by a highly educated staff . We want to offer fine wines in nice surroundings , but not be snobby about it .
What is your all-time food and wine pairing ? As a young person , I was a very picky eater and stayed skinny until my late 20s when I discovered the world of wine . Now I ’ m a gourmand and have to watch my weight . My all-time favorite pairing is a great Bordeaux , like a 2007 Figeac , with a little piece of prime ( Wagyu ) steak drizzled with a touch of red butter sauce
What kinds of wine do you specialize in ? We specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while dabbling in Rhone wines . Most all of our grapes are estate grown .
Favorite award or accolade that you received ? We received some lofty scores for our 2015 Estate Pinot Noir . Wine Spectator gave this wine 93 points and Robert Parker , from Wine Advocate , gave us 92 points . Our wines have received a lot of good attention from national publications over the last few years , but having such highly-respected magazines give us some recognition is pretty special . It also backs up my opinion that the Hecker Pass area is a great place to grow Pinot Noir !
What is the biggest misconception about you ? Most people don ’ t realize that I do a little bit of everything at the winery — from electrical and welding to working on cars . We don ’ t hire out for these small jobs ; we ’ re old school . The other misconception is that people think that my dad still runs the winery . He hasn ’ t since 1995 .
Why are your club members so loyal ? I believe their loyalty stems from us caring about them . Most of our wine club members recognize that we are trying to make excellent wine without breaking the bank . Naturally we ’ ve stumbled and made mistakes over the years , but the local people that support us have been generous . I think they see that we ’ re always trying to improve , and they support us in return .
Which part of owning a winery do you prefer : farming , winemaking , tasting room / schmoozing with customers ? I ’ m a talkative guy and like meeting people , but I ’ d have to say ’ farming .’ There is something special about being a part of the land and growing things . I love to learn about grapevines and their funny ways . There is nothing better than a couple of dogs and a vineyard to walk around in . The dogs are happy , you ’ re happy , and the world is a wonderful place .
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2018 gmhtoday . com
95
Another challenge has been living in the shadow of ’Sarah,’ meaning that I feel constrained to stay true to the founder’s vision—which is making soft, elegant and feminine wines. We have a large wine club and accounts across the country. If I suddenly changed the profiles of our wine and started to make bigger and bolder wines, we would alienate our loyal fans and the trust they have for this brand. But at the same time, I’d like to be able to do something different now and then. It’s a difficult to balance, these competing desires. Do you have a degree in winemaking? I earned a Master’s in Electrical Engineering, specializing in semiconductor physics and fabrication. Starting in 2001 when I took over the winery, I attended the School of Hard Knocks to learn about winemaking; and in 2011 finally completed the winemaker’s certificate program at UC Davis. I’ve also worked with a number of consultants and the other local winemakers to learn whatever I can. Who is the primary winemaker for your wines? I’m the head winemaker, but it’s a group effort of course. We have a really good assistant winemaker, Pat, who is endlessly cheerful and good natured. And we are continuously working alongside other local winemakers, and have lots of discussions about how to overcome problems or perfect the blend of a wine. Colleagues like Jason Goelz (winemaker at Jason-Stephens Winery) and John Aver (winemaker at Aver Family Vineyards) are always willing to give honest feedback and that’s tremendously helpful. How would you describe the Santa Clara wine region? Our local wines are getting better overall, year after year. Over the last ten years there has been a big step up in our wine region’s quality. We have a lot of new wineries opening up and a lot of growth in the number of visitors too. I remember forty years ago, a lot of the fine wines of California were still a little sweet, or they would be cloudy, or have a funky smell; lots of problems. Nowadays, people demand perfection— nobody will buy a wine that’s cloudy or smells bad. Wine drinkers are a lot less forgiving and wine quality is much higher because of it. That’s true for our local area and across the entire State as well. As a partner in The Stomping Ground, how does this fit into your business model for Sarah's? famous as a growing area; where everybody knows about Gilroy and our local agriculture. This is a great place to be. What do you drink when you are not drinking your own wine? Sancerre, from the Loire Valley in France. Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc that tastes like a bowl of liquid sunshine. It is especially delicious when paired with fish or oysters. A nice glass of Sancerre on a hot summer day with some oysters on the half shell is just wonderful. What kind of vibe does your winery have? Our goal is to provide a gracious and welcoming experience by a highly educated staff. We want to offer fine wines in nice surroundings, but not be snobby about it. What is your all-time food and wine pairing? As a young person, I was a very picky eater and stayed skinny until my late 20s ݡ$͍ٕɕѡݽɱݥ9܁'e)ɵٔѼ݅эݕи5䁅ѥٽɥє)ɥ́ɕЁ ɑఁ܁ݥѠѱ)ɥ]Ԥѕɥ鱕ݥѠѽՍɕѕȁͅՍ)]Ё́ݥԁ锁)]锁AЁ9ȁ ɑݡ)Iݥ̸5ЁȁɅ́ɔхєɽݸ)ٽɥє݅ɐȁѡЁԁɕٕ)]ɕٕͽ͍ɕ́ȁȀԁхєAЁ9ȸ)]Mхѽȁٔѡ́ݥ́́IЁAɭȰɽ)]ٽєٔ̀ȁ̸=ȁݥ́ٔɕٕ)ЁѕѥɽѥՉѥٕ́ȁѡЁ)啅̰Ё٥Սɕѕ饹́ٔ́ͽ)ɕѥ́ɕ%Ёͼ́䁽ѡЁѡ)!ȁÁɕ́ɕЁѼɽ܁AЁ9Ȅ)]Ё́ѡЁ͍ѥЁ)5ЁeЁɕ锁ѡЁ$ѱЁٕѡ)ѡݥQɽɥݕѼݽɭ̸)]eЁɔЁȁѡ͔͵ݗeɔ͍Q)ѡȁ͍ѥ́ѡЁѡѡЁ䁑ѥ)չ́ѡݥ丁!ͻeЁͥԸ)]ɅЁȁѱݥ啅́$)Ѽݥ'eٔݽɭݥѠ)ͽ)ԁ)ѼٕЁɥѼ͍ɉݥѡ)ɕѱ䁡͕́ȁ͕Ʌєݥѹ̸Mɥե)ݥѠѡḛ$ٕЁȁݥɽՍѥѡɔ)ѡ՝ݔݥѡMɅéYɐхѥɽ)ȁɕЁѥ'eѕѥ܁ݥѠɕ)́ݥݡ$ЁЁQMѽɽչ%Ёݽձ)݅Ѽɕ́ͽ٥Յ䁥ѡݥݽɱ]䁅ɔȁՈ́ͼ兰)]Ёɔȁɔ'eхѥٔ䁅ѥЁ'eٔѼͅ+eɵdQɔ́ͽѡЁЁѡ)ɽݥѡ̸$ٔѼɸЁɅ٥́ѡ)չ̸݅Qɔ́ѡѕȁѡ́)٥ɐѼ݅ɽչQ́ɔ䰁׊eɔ)ѡݽɱ́ݽəհ)=ȁٕɅ́ȁMɅéYɐѼѡЁѕݽѡ)ݥ䁽ѡ Ʌ аɽMф ɉɄѼMɅ͍)]݅ЁѼѡЁݥٔѡЁѽȁ͕٥)'eչє٥хѡЁɕ䁉ٕ́ѡ)݅́ѼЁѡɽɅ'eͼѼɽ)%1I=d5=I8!%10M85IQ%8)$ٔѡȁ共ѕ́ɽ́ɥЁѡ5)ȁݥՈ́ɕ锁ѡЁݔɔ她Ѽ)ፕЁݥݥѡЁɕѡ9Ʌݗeٔ)յхٕ́ȁѡ啅̰Ёѡ)ѡЁЁ́ٔɽ̸$ѡѡ͕ѡЁݗeɔ)݅́她ѼɽٔѡЁ́ɕɸ)]Ёݹݥ䁑ԁɕ聙ɵ)ݥхѥɽ͍饹ݥѠѽ)= Q= H9=Y5 H)ѽ乍(