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JONATA – Matt Dees Interview

Recently, our friends at cdsavoia came to visit the Jonata Ranch and made a movie about it. If you have not seen their site, you should, it is full of great stuff. cdsavoia.com

The Princes of West Paso {Matt Trevisan & Justin Smith}

This is arguably the biggest week of the year for Paso Robles, Hospice du Rhône, a weekend-long celebration of all things Rhône; a week that will see the World’s best Rhône producers flock to the sleepy Central Coast town. Thousands of their disciples will descend from all over the Country to this Mecca of Syrah, [...]

SAXUM {deeper roots}

SAXUM, it’s obvious right? I am a glory seeker; I am Napoleon, motivated by my own lust for recognition. I search out the best, the finest; I am Alexander, an elitist, a snob, a name-dropper of the worst kind, eager to pat myself on the back, and exalt my own voice. I walk around with a sense [...]

Linne Calodo – The Harvest {Photo Essay}

2011 took us many places. While the travel schedule was less hectic than 2010′s 5,000+ mile marathon, we still did our fair share of road miles and met numerous interesting people. From meeting three cult icons of California wine (I have yet to write about two of them) in the same week, to being on [...]

Recent Articles:

Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

September 22, 2011 Archieves, The Press 1 Comment
Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

We have grown rather accustomed to long trips for short stays, so much so that a 500 mile weekend is not such a big deal anymore.

There are a lot of events we are invited to and we can only attend a few of them. But when Randall Graham asks you to attend, you attend. In this case, the event was his annual Day of the Doon, a celebration of all things Bonny Doon. There was a lot to celebrate this year.

For any who have been following Grahm for the past few years, you are likely aware of his current and perhaps most ambitious project, a 240 acre ranch in San Juan Bautista California. Fitting for the industry trend-setter he is, Grahm is not quietly planting vines on some beautiful but traditional vineyard site. That would be too easy. Starting with a piece of land on the outskirts of a tiny town an hour or so southeast from Santa Cruz, in addition to grape vines, Grahm is planting a small farm on bio-char (1) which will one day include a plethora of fruit trees. He is also hybridizing his own grapes, growing his future vineyard from seed (2), an exceedingly difficult task. The results will be something no one has ever seen before and certainly has ever tried, possibly for good reason, as it may not work. … Continue Reading

The Travels {August}

September 9, 2011 The Press 4 Comments
The Travels {August}

We travel a lot. Not just for A Long Pour, but in general. It seems we are always moving around and popping up in some unexpected place doing some unexpected thing.

We were privlidged to be invited to a few great places in the last few weeks and we wanted to share them with you. … Continue Reading

Pfendler – On the Roof of Petaluma

September 8, 2011 Fifty-Two Weeks 1 Comment
Pfendler – On the Roof of Petaluma

Two months earlier it seemed like a good idea. Now, it was our honeymoon.

When I agreed to visit a winery for a future story in the middle of this once in a lifetime event, I thought it a rather cleaver scheme. “She won’t mind going, she has fun at these things too,” I reasoned with myself as I emailed our confirmation. I had even scheduled the appointment for mid-afternoon so we wouldn’t be needlessly rushed early in the day. I was, I thought, a rather considerate guy, and after all, it would probably be romantic, a cute story we would one day tell our children or our Beagle at least.

As the clock closed in on departure time and we reluctantly started to get ready, I began to rethink the brilliance of my plan. After we both agreed that we “shouldn’t stay overly long (it was our honeymoon after all),” we left our cozy vineyard cottage and fireplace in Kenwood, just off of Highway 12 and headed east.

It was a crisp and beautiful January day as we headed the back way into Petaluma. … Continue Reading

Secret Project {the reveal}

August 17, 2011 Archieves, The Press 4 Comments
Secret Project {the reveal}

A few weeks ago I posted the “Secret Project” with some shots of  a friend’s new winery taking shape.

At the time, the space was still in a raw state, holes in the ground, bare walls, cut concrete. In terms of photographing a new winery, one might say there was not much to see, no barrels, no equipment, no bottles. But the components were there and perhaps they were more significant than the sum of their parts.

I returned a few weeks later to find a different scene, a more complete one. The holes were patched, walls were painted, fresh concrete was drying. There was more to see now, there was a winery where before there was only a plan. There were barrels, equipment, and yes, a few bottles too. Still, it was in the individual components I found the most inspired images. … Continue Reading

Two Nights with The Maiden

August 3, 2011 The Press 4 Comments
Two Nights with The Maiden

When I started to “get into wine,” in other words obsess over it like the rest of you, it didn’t take long to be sucked into the full allure of it. Both in things real, like the mysteries of good Pinot Noir, to the not so real, like the mystique surrounding “Cult Producers.” I was enamored by it all.

It is perhaps the “Cult Producers” (obvious ones including Screaming Eagle, Marcassin, Sine Qua Non, and others) who inspire the most wonder, loathing, admiration, groaning, rumors, and debate (well that and alcohol levels, which also seem to go hand in hand with Cult Producers). Whatever your sentiment, one has to admit there is a strange allure to the things we cannot have. The forbidden grapes if you will.

I am not a man of Screaming Eagle funds, nor even of Sine Qua Non finances (more reasonable at $200-300 a bottle compared to the boisterous raptor’s $1,000 price tag). I am happily a man of the $13 to $25 bottle, with occasional indulgences in the $30 to $50 range. I do get to drink some of the best wines in California (many in the $15 to $40 range), but much of that is the result of this scam wine blog, which has allowed me to hustle otherwise decent winemakers into pouring me many a glass of their best stuff. What a scam indeed!
… Continue Reading

The Regions – Eh, I Tried {對不起!}

July 29, 2011 The Regions Comments Off
The Regions – Eh, I Tried {對不起!}

The Regions has suffered its first defeat.

In June, we had hoped to bring you the wines of Santa Cruz and few other random wines. Santa Cruz is dear to my heart, it is actually the region that made me fall in love with wine in the first place and was the first region I wrote about on A Long Pour (here). That was way back in January of 2010.

Alas, sickness overcame us for more than half of June and our wine drinking dried up like an ice cube in the Bakersfield heat of August. This resulted in 3 or 4 reds from the area, but no whites.

So, while we are currently drinking through parts of Sonoma, give us some time to seek out a few more candidates for Santa Cruz, and we will report back on our results.

Until then! 经常喝好的酒! (是的,我可以说一点点中文)

Secret Project

July 14, 2011 The Press 5 Comments
Secret Project

OK, so I have more than one “secret project,” but this is one of them. I had the opportunity to photograph a new winery taking shape the other week. It is going to be a beautiful and fitting space for the winemaker and it is a privilege to watch it come together.

The half finished state of the winery inspired me to find the emotion in the texture of the materials. Not having something “finished” to shoot forces you to realize that all things are “finished” in their own unique way. … Continue Reading

A Wedding {Photography by Amy Payne}

July 12, 2011 A Wedding 6 Comments
A Wedding {Photography by Amy Payne}

As some of you know, I got married last January to my wife Damaris. The wedding was in Santa Barbara (could it be anywhere else?) and it was a beautiful day spent amongst friends and family.

We were also fortunate enough to have our incredibly talented friend Amy Payne shoot the wedding. She did a beautiful job and we are thrilled with the results.

Here are a few of the less sappy ones…and a few good shots at Municipal Winemakers with Dave Potter. … Continue Reading

Hidden Ridge – Art in Wine

July 6, 2011 Fifty-Two Weeks 1 Comment
Hidden Ridge – Art in Wine

I was late. I had just left the outskirts of Napa headed south on the 29 when my phone rang. I lingered too long at a lunch in Calistoga and was late for my next appointment. Winemaker Timothy Milos was on the other end.

“Just wanted to check in and see where you were at,” he asked. In addition to being late, I was also lost. After another phone call to clarify the directions, I finally arrived at the custom crush facility we had agreed to meet at. But this wasn’t where we were supposed to be.

We were supposed to be atop one of the most rugged and hard to access vineyard sites in California. Hidden Ridge Vineyard, as its name implies, it’s off the beaten path. It is in fact so far off the path that it is only accessible with vehicles much more all wheel drive than my Mazda3. In the rainy weather of this past December, when I visited the Napa Valley, the normally difficult roads became impossible roads and so we settled on the civilized streets of the custom crush facility where the wine is made.

I am, “all about the vineyards,” or so I tell people, and so I was disappointed to not be atop the peak of what is no doubt a breathtaking site. There was however, an unexpected windfall to my letdown.

… Continue Reading

The Regions – Monterey {May}

June 28, 2011 The Regions Comments Off
The Regions – Monterey {May}

Fly-over country. I had never heard the term until a winemaker I met used it in a conversation last year. It went something like: “they like good wine in fly-over country too, in Iowa, and Ohio, and other places.”

The term “fly-over country” means exactly what it sounds like, those stretches of the Country we have all flown over to get somewhere else, say New York (or Los Angeles if you come the other way). It is a sad phrase, but an accurate description of many Americans’ traveling patterns. For many of us, we have “seen” the Midwest only from 30,000′ at 500pmh. Sorry Iowa, I do like those giant green blocks your State is made up of though.

But California has its own “fly-over” wine regions too, except here we drive by them at 80mph. None of these areas stand out to me more than Monterey County. While Lodi or even the Sierra Foothills can claim their own right to the designation “drive-by wine region” (particularly the Sierra Foothills), no place seems more fitting to me than Monterey. … Continue Reading

{Archives}

Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

September 22, 2011

Bonny Doon: Day of the Doon IX {Photo Essay}

We have grown rather accustomed to long trips for short stays, so much so that a 500 mile weekend is not such a big deal anymore. There are a lot of events we are invited to and we can only attend a few of them. But when Randall Graham asks you to attend, you attend. [...]

Secret Project {the reveal}

August 17, 2011

Secret Project {the reveal}

A few weeks ago I posted the “Secret Project” with some shots of  a friend’s new winery taking shape. At the time, the space was still in a raw state, holes in the ground, bare walls, cut concrete. In terms of photographing a new winery, one might say there was not much to see, no [...]

{People We Like}

Studio Holladay
Municipal Winemakers
Kunin Wines