gmhTODAY 25 gmhTODAY April May 2019 - Page 77

How did you meet the owners of The Stomping Ground (an urban winery in Gilroy with several premium wineries under one roof) and negotiate a coveted spot there? After buying our grapes and starting out, we needed a place to make the wine. Through an article (written by the author of The Vine) I read about Blended, A Winemakers Studio in Gilroy and talked to Jeff Fadness, the winemaker at La Vie Dansante Wines. Jeff referred me over to Jason Goelz, the winemaker at Jason-Stephens Winery who was opening up The Stomping Ground in Gilroy. The stars aligned and Calerrain joined the new venture. What goals in winemaking are you still working to achieve? Why are your club members loyal, what does your club membership offer them? The first thing is that we are a “user’s choice” club which means that club members can select which of our wines to include in their shipment. Secondly, we like to provide an education about our wines so that people can learn about the different regions and appreciate how place affects the taste of wine. We also offer a unique experience as part of The Stomping Ground – where people can enjoy live music on the weekend from spring through early fall. Can you think of a recent favorite wine and food pairing or what is your all-time food and wine pairing? I am always striving to make that “perfect wine.” To me, the perfect wine is one that is true to the varietal and that will evolve over the years to become a wine worthy of life’s most cherished celebrations. Every Christmas Eve we celebrate Chantelle’s birthday with a delicious dinner of fresh Dungeness crab, garlic fries and our own Chardonnay. You were recently elected to be the president of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley Association. What goals do you hope to achieve this year? We just celebrated our one-year anniversary of the winery and this will be a big year for us. We will be releasing ten different wines including Cabernet, Malbec, Albarino, Rosé, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and expect to bottle 1,200 cases of wine. We want people to pick and choose what they like and discover new wines. We are also going to plant a vineyard in our one-acre backyard and turn it into a club member event center. The rolling hills that surround us make this a perfect spot for sipping and relaxing. At one of the Association meetings last year, I commented that I wanted to contribute, “somehow.” And that’s when they pushed me into the soon-to-be-open president position. I felt that as a new person in the Association I should contribute my time and pay some dues. I have a lot to learn about the area and history of the Association. The Association has grown and matured to the point that we now have administrative support and a bookkeeper. Stacy Giannini, our marketing director, is the heart and soul of the group and keeps us focused. It is still surprising how many people in the Bay Area are unaware of our Santa Clara Valley wineries. So for that reason, one of our top goals is to get a sign posted on Southbound 101 saying, “Welcome to Santa Clara Valley Wine Country.” Any new releases or anything special on the horizon? What is a major draw of our wine regions? The chances of meeting the winemakers are pretty high. We are what Napa/Sonoma were twenty-plus years ago. Our Santa Clara Valley wine region has such a great story to tell: Sarah’s Vineyard and their estate Pinot Noirs, Martin Ranch as a destination winery, Lion Ranch, LaVie Dansante and Aver Family making beautiful Rhones. And in addition to the large producers such as Guglielmo Winery and Clos LaChance there are a number of small boutique wineries making great wine—such as Calerrain. Your wife, Chantelle, works as a pharmacist when she isn't "dreaming about wine.” Any chance that Chantelle might one day join the family business? This is definitely in the works. With Chantelle’s experience working with customers and managing people, we think she would be a great fit as our tasting room and events manager. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN april/may 2019 77