Winemaking Journal


The other day I had lunch with the Mauritson Family to discuss our block of Zin at Rockpile.  Rockpile is a unique Sonoma County AVA situated at a high elevation above the fog.  A combination of micro-climate and gravely soil - this chunk of land produces much revered fruit.  Part of what I love about my job is meeting with folks like the Mauritsons - multi-generational grape growers.  This family has been cultivating grapes in Dry Creek Valley for five generations succeeding at growing ultra-premium fruit.  During lunch we talked about prices of grapes, yield per a

Oak in Wine

I get a lot of questions about oak in wine and its role in the process of aging wine.  At Kokomo we have this saying: "We oak our wine to taste, similarly to salting our food to taste".  We don't want the salt to overpower the dish, but, rather to accent the flavors of the dish.  Same goes for accenting wine with oak.  I have found that you need a percentage of new oak on wines, especially for crafting ultra-premium wines.  However, the amount of new oak to be used varies from varietal to varietal and vineyard to vineyard.  We also like a bolder Eastern Europea

"Cocktail" Wines vs. "Food" Wines

I put wines into two main categories – cocktail wines and food wines.  Food wines are self-explanatory in that they are to be paired with the flavors and textures of food.  Cocktail wines, on the other hand, are designated to be consumed å la carte.  You come home from work, kick your feet up and have a glass of wine, or, you have an evening out at your local wine bar, or perhaps you have a dessert wine as an apertif.

The Millennials

A hot topic of conversation among wine industry folks are the “Millennials”, also known as the emerging group of wine drinkers that fall between the ages of 21 and 36.  This demo is certainly into wine and the older establishment is wondering how to attract their loyalty.  Being 35, I am at the tail end of this age group, so I guess that makes me an expert!  In my opinion, the way you rally Millennials to support your brand is by NOT trying to target them, a bit of reverse psychology, if you will.  Thi

Giving Thanks

The Wine Lover's Holiday – Thanksgiving!  The time of year to be with
family and friends, sharing two of the things we love the most – food and
wine.  It’s also a winemaker’s favorite season when the harvest is
complete and we get to sample some of our latest creations.  Something I
have made a tradition of doing at Thanksgiving is bringing new release
wines to the table and discussing how they are evolving.  This year I’ll
bring the 2009 Mounts Vineyard Zinfandel and the 2009 Gopher Hill Peters

Those Who Have Come Before Me

One of the most common questions I get is “how did you learn to make wine and only be 35?”  After I mention my post grad UC Davis studies everyone seems to be satisfied with my formal learning process.  As to my hands-on learning evolution, I started in the cellar and learned from the ground up.   I wanted to take the time on this particular blog to give a nod and a thank you to fellow winemakers who take the time to engage in conversation and answer my questions about their challenges and experiences that are simi

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