The Mark Wine News Summer '18 Volume 8.3 - Page 16

Total Recall CLINE CELLARS’ CHARLIE TSEGELETOS T he name is a bit of a giveaway, but it wasn’t all Greek for Cline Cellar’s Winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos; “I was born with Greek and Italian parents,” he says, so the dinner table and family gatherings were definitely about food and wine. “There was always a bottle of wine on the table,” adds Tsegeletos of growing up in Marin County, California, just 30 minutes north of San Francisco. He wasn’t born with a Tastevin around his neck, but wine was definitely a part of his upbringing. And it wasn’t the typical table wine for this kid. “I went right to the Beaulieu Vineyards reds thanks to Dad and his cellar.” Dad loved his wine and had a very impressive cellar, however, it wasn’t his career. “Dad was a prison guard, police officer, sporting goods store owner and travel guide. He was always an explorer and spent years scuba diving on California’s North Coast. He also wrote a book about being in the battle of Chosin in Korea called As I Recall. I was intrigued by this and started reading an excerpt and reviews right away. I quickly learned As I Recall, is a series of short stories recalling personal experiences of his dad, George Tsegeletos, as young Marine serving in Korea. However, unlike most memoirs describing the horrors of war, the senior Tsegeletos describes the sights, sounds and what is most fascinating, the thoughts that ran through his mind during each incident (I find this fascinating and have put the book in my Amazon cart and am really looking forward to reading it). I also found it fascinating that when I asked him about his first memories of wine he regaled me with a few very personal and interesting stories, all going back to his dad. “I remember a big family 14 gathering when I was around 14. I tried everything on the counter including lots of wine and my Dad then paraded the family through the bathroom to see his very sick son who hopefully had learned a lesson about mixing his drinks, says Tsegeletos. And he adds another story. “My parents left me to my own devices which meant lifting a bottle of BV George de Latour from my Dad’s cellar and then having him pick me up hitch hiking to meet some friends with the bottle in my back pack. I still live with the guilt,” he says His mom also had her eye on him. Of course, she had her eye on all the kids. “Mom worked at a local school keeping everybody fed – as usual.” Tsegeletos attended those same local schools. “I went to a local public high school in Marin and then went directly to the University of California Davis and studied agriculture and plant science.” Which is how he got into wine. Well, that and wine tastings she was invited to. “At one of the first formal tastings I attended, they were pouring a 1974 Charles Krug Reserve Cab and it was spectacular. I remember thinking that I would like to make a wine like that someday,” he says. Today, he gets to do that. And more. “I didn’t think much about growing up unless it involved skiing and motorcycles, but when it finally dawned on me that a job was going to be necessary, winemaking seemed ideal. The beauty of the job is there are so many different aspects. Yesterday I tasted wine with our German Importer and a toured a distributor group from the mid-west and today I tasted through a table full of Pinot Noir lots. Blending is my favorite part of the job.” As winemaker for Cline Cellars, Tsegeletos works THE MARK WINE NEWS