gmhTODAY 23 gmhTODAY Dec Jan 2018 - Page 81

You recently made some significant improvements to your tasting room. Are any other changes planned for this year? Each of you makes wine under your own, unique label— Dan’s is J.D. Hurley and Thérèse has Thérèse Vineyards. Most recently, you’ve added a new label called Soulmate. What are the differences? Dan: I like to say that I make cocktail wines – wines that are ready to drink now. They are softer and consumed at an earlier stage. Thérèse: I make my wines to pair with foods. They have more acidity and can age for a longer period of time. Dan and I share in the winemaking process of our Soulmate wine. This wine is a classic Bordeaux style - con- taining the very best grapes from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Our Soulmate wines are to be shared with the most important people in your life. Savored with love and laughter, you’ll create an experience around the wine. Thérèse is one of the first of women winemakers in the Santa Clara Valley to have her own label. Any insights for woman interested in the wine industry? Dan: We’re transitioning to organic growing in the vineyard. This will allow us to use more of the wild yeast which helps create a sense of place or terroir, in the wine. You have a dedicated crew of passionate people that help out around the winery. What are your team-building tips? Dan: We have a dream team! Thérèse: The best thing we’ve learned is to find out everybody’s strengths and then let them shine doing what they love best. We have open meet- ings with our employees where we share our business plans and revenue numbers. We sit and talk as equals. Every single person on the team is important - each one contributes to the final bottle of wine. What should people know about Martin Ranch Winery? Thérèse: Kathryn Kennedy was the first female grower and winemaker in the Santa Cruz Mountains and then came Pam Storrs. I feel privileged to be in the company of these women. When I started winemaking it was more of a male dominated business. But now, there are many young female winemakers coming out of Davis. We’re also seeing a more balanced vineyard crew with more women on the team. Thérèse: When they come to Martin Ranch they know it is a place where they can be themselves. Our winery is a little retreat and a slice of paradise where people can enjoy nature and great wine. How did you learn to make wine? Why are your club members so loyal, what does club membership offer them? Dan: My neighbor, Rob Fladeboe (a KRON4 newscaster), taught me the basics of making wine. Thérèse: In those early days I used to tease Dan by saying it was just a bunch of guys getting drunk in our garage. Dan: We started to get serious and that’s when I went to UC Davis. Therese and I exhausted all the wine courses they offered. Martin Ranch Winery is one of the region’s top wineries; having received numerous awards and accolades. Which award means the most to you? When Michele Swensen, our director of hospitality, came on board, that’s when things became fine-tuned. Michele brought her hospitality experi- ence from Air France, Club Med and her own event company in New York. Michele helps make each visitor’s experience the best that it can be. We’ve built a community of people with our Wine Club. Friends see other friends in the club and it has become a viral thing. Some of our Wine Club Members have been with us for thirteen years – from the very start. Any new goals you would like to accomplish in your winemaking or business? Thérèse: Among the many awards and accolades we’ve received over the years, the best ones are the compliments our customers give us about our wines and the people who serve them. Dan: My favorite accolade is when people say, ‘I usually only like one or two wines at a winery – but here at Martin Ranch, ‘I like them all!’ We heard that Thérèse enjoys a vegan diet. What are some favorite pairings? Thérèse: For health reasons, Dan recently joined me in eating a vegan diet. We eat a whole food, plant-based diet – with the least amount of processed foods. We don’t eat meat, dairy or fish. A white bean hummus with roasted pimento has a soft mouthfeel and pairs really well with wines with similar mouthfeels – like a Chardonnay or Viognier. Also, my recipe for Santa Cruz Mountains Bean Stew pairs perfectly with our recent Wine Club shipment which contains our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane and Pinot Noir. I like to match up the spices of the barrel and vineyard with the spices in the food. Dan: A shitake mushroom risotto and a Cabernet is a great pairing. You are both committed to giving back to the community. Any favorite organizations that you like to support? Thérèse: We have a strong relationship with Community Solutions. It feels so good to be a part of a community that brings people up from the lows in their life. We’re privileged to support them and it is a great feeling to help people. Lisa DeSilva, one of our employees, is an amazing leader in this organization. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Dan: We’re not snooty. Our employees are trained to respect everyone. We are customer service oriented to deliver 5-star hospitality. Dan: We want to stay at our current level of producing 8,000 cases of wine per year and provide a good living for our staff. The question for us is how do we live and survive now? Everybody has good wine – so our focus is to have the best wine. Also, people want an experience when they visit wineries and hospitality is what the wine business has become. OOPS! We made a mistake. We put the wrong answers to these questions for Tim Slater, Owner of Sarah's Vineyard in the last issue of the magazine. We apologize and trust that you will enjoy his REAL answers to these two questions. What is the biggest misconception about you? I once heard someone say that I was a snob. (Tim bursts out laughing). I was flabbergasted! I only wear jeans and really old t-shirts and mostly eat fast-food or cans of chili, and have a pretty low sense of humor. Can you imagine? 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. december 2018-january 2019 81