gmhTODAY 24 gmhTODAY Feb March 2019 - Page 79

Any tips for other husbands and wives who would like to work a family business together? John: We learned that each person has to have their own specific area of responsibility and then the other person has to let go and trust that it will get done. Carolyn: It took a little while to adjust and to figure out how to work together. Any new releases or anything special for the coming year? John: I recently sourced Cinsault vines for the first time and am excited to add it to my Hope red wine blend. It should add a little complexity and spice. I also sourced a new local vineyard of Grenache which will add another “color” to my palette for making southern Rhone wines. We are also debuting a new website with amazing photography. What makes your wines so special? Carolyn: John is super focused on the quality of our grapes—whether what he grows or what he sources—and never wavers on getting the absolute best fruit. All of our wines are a result of John’s vision, specializing in Rhone style wines and blended to his palette Our organic farming practices make for a complete quality system. John recently completed a three-day seminar on soil and is on the leading edge of developing the best soil conditions. John: In the end, it’s all about the quality of the soil because it is the soil that nurtures the vines and predicts the quality of the grapes. Best advice you received from another winemaker? John: Always make what you like because you never know if you may have to drink it all someday. Also, believe in yourself and your instincts. Don’t go in for fads. You frequently post photos of your dogs. Do they help around the vineyard? Carolyn: We currently have four dogs: Princess and Benny keep us company in the office and Max and Hope patrol the property; keeping critters away from the vines. What is your favorite award or accolade you have received? John: Despite all the gold medals our wines have received, what always touches me is when someone says that they love every single wine on our tasting list – that there isn’t one wine that they don’t absolutely love. To me, that is better than any other award. What kind of vibe does your winery have? J ohn: It’s casual—our tag line is “Where friends become family.” People feel welcome and comfortable here – they can bring a picnic and relax. Kids get popsicles and dogs are welcome, too. Carolyn: Our house has always been the place where our friends and family gather and so we like our winery to offer the same welcoming feeling. Our winery is all John’s vision – his clear and unwavering view of what kind of wine we make, the level of quality and the experience he wants to deliver to our customers. I do everything I can to help execute John’s vision. Why are your club members so loyal? John: Our wine club is an extension of us – folks that are new to the area and appreciate good wine especially like to join. It’s a way to discover good friends who have similar interests in food and wine. We plan an annual river cruise to European wine regions which always sell out fast. Do you have a favorite wine and food pairing? Carolyn: We don’t go out to dinner a lot and prefer to cook together at home. One of our favorite pairings is grilled lamb chops rubbed with fresh garden herbs and paired with our Hope red blend. Or cracked crab with our Viognier. I post my recipes under “Carolyn’s Kitchen” on our website for other great pairing ideas. John: Several years ago, at a winemaker’s dinner, the chef slow cooked ox tail in Moroccan spices paired with our Carignane – it was simply amazing. What advice do you have for people new to wine? John: My philosophy is: there are a million wines out there and you will never know what wine you will like until you try it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should like. If you like a $2.00 bottle or a $2,000.00 bottle – either is fine. But please invite me over if you have a $2,000 bottle because I’ve never had one! What does the future hold for our local wine industry? John: I see our wine industry going forward in a very positive way. Many of us have received excellent scores from Wine Enthusiast. I was excited when Tim Slater, the winemaker at Sarah’s Vineyard, recently received recognition in Wine Spectator. The challenge is our land prices are so expensive which makes it difficult for other new wineries to come in. We’ve become a well- recognized wine region and we are all part of making that happen. It is an exciting legacy for all of us.