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Doon on the Clos {In Pictures}

May 17, 2012 The Press Comments Off on Doon on the Clos {In Pictures}
Doon on the Clos {In Pictures}

Doon on the Clos was a huge success! At the end of all the planning and phone calls, emails and tweets, people showed up, people drank, they ate, they listened, and they bought wine.

A highlight of the evening was an open discussion on biodynamics as well as the philosophies of Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm and Clos Pepe’s Wes Hagen. It was spirited, let’s put it that way. As I get some time, we will post some of that content.

We were thrilled to have our friend Jeremy Ball in attendance. Jeremy is one of the most talented wine and food photographers on the Central Coast and his company, Bottle Branding, works with the best producers in Santa Barbara County. We have gotten to know Jeremy over the last few years and are big fans of his work.

All the images in this gallery are his and we are thankful to have them! Spend some time on his site, it is beautiful work. … Continue Reading

Doon on the Clos {May 11th at Clos Pepe}

April 24, 2012 The Press 8 Comments
Doon on the Clos {May 11th at Clos Pepe}

I am a daydreamer. I often spend too much time pondering what could be and playing out scenarios in my head over and over.


Today, we are thrilled to announce that one of those scenarios is coming to fruition.

Over the course of our voyages, we have met many fine and wonderful winemakers, but few more so than Mr. Randall Grahm, the Great Pontificator and President for Life of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, California. We’ve had the grand privilege of sharing some wonderful moments with him, such as the dedication of Popelouchum, his new organic (bio-dynamic, bio-charred, bio-charged) vineyard in San Juan Bautista.


But Randall is still a son of Santa Barbara in a way, sourcing fruit for some of his Rhone (Ranger) wines from some of the County’s best vineyards. Around these parts, like anywhere in California you find honest people laboring at Rhone based wines, you will find many who say, “oh Randall Grahm? I like that guy!” … Continue Reading

SAXUM {deeper roots}

February 16, 2012 Fifty-Two Weeks 1 Comment
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 of self-entitlement fit for a king and look down upon man as though I were David’s Goliath.

It is the same for Justin Smith you say, the golden boy of California wine, the charmer, the handsome forty-something behind Saxum. He who has schemed to unlock the magic formula that forces the palates of the World’s best critics prostrate in obeisance to his miracle juice. He who influences their pens with his smooth lips to write the shockingly high numbers of their tasting notes, to write the impossible three digit perfection as if they had wine scoring turrets. He has cast a spell on the wine world and his potion is Bone Rock, Broken Stones, and Rocket Block.

In some ways it is true I suppose. I have sought out some of the best in this game, the most interesting, the most passionate, the most gifted. But they are also the most genuine, people of class and substance, people with real stories.

And what an honor it is to tell those stories.

It is also true, Justin Smith is a charmer. You can’t help but like him. But if you strip away the hype and fade the endless praise and criticism into the background, if you stand there with Justin, in his jeans, v-neck, Patagonia vest, and flip flops and if you listen to him talk, to what he really has to say, it all comes down to a simple sentence:

Justin Smith is a farmer. … Continue Reading

Linne Calodo – Names Will Never Hurt Me

October 19, 2011 Fifty-Two Weeks 7 Comments
Linne Calodo – Names Will Never Hurt Me

T H E   L I S T

It was the end of 2009 and the beginning of an ambitious project, to write about 52 California wineries in 52 weeks. I had no idea where to start.

I bought a subscription to Wine Spectator and scoured it for interesting producers to work with; highlighting the ones that caught my attention. Tablas Creek, Barrel 27, Foxen, Kosta Brown. I added them to an ever-growing list of “wineries to work with.” I knew almost nothing about the California wine industry, but if this big glossy publication liked them, that had to be worth something, right?

As my knowledge grew in early 2010, I began adding names to an “if by a miracle” list, wineries I thought it would be next to impossible to work with, legends like Ridge, The Ojai Vineyard, Sine Qua Non, and Harlan. A boy could dream.

In the months that followed, as A Long Pour took shape and I began to regularly cross off names from the “hope to work with” and add them to the “worked with” list, I was amazed at how well it was all going. Tablas Creek, check! The Ojai Vineyard, a very excited check! Barrel 27, Foxen, Jordan, check, check, and check!

I studied, I learned, I listened, and I drank. I stopped highlighting names in Wine Spectator and began working with wineries based on my own taste and interests.  I made the acquaintance of numerous winemakers who in turn gave me suggestions of their own. I took note of who inspired them, names like Randall Grahm, Richard Sanford, Paul Draper, John Alban, Helen Turley, Manfred Krankl, Justin Smith, and Matt Trevisan. … Continue Reading

The Best of 52 Weeks – And the Winners Are…

December 30, 2010 The Press 1 Comment
The Best of 52 Weeks – And the Winners Are…

So as promised, the best of 52 Weeks with California wine. In most cases, it was hard to select winners. I had so many great experiences over the year that it was hard to say the what is listed below were the best. But you have to pick someone. And the winners are… … Continue Reading

Bonny Doon – The Magnificent Opulence of Randall Grahm Part II

Bonny Doon – The Magnificent Opulence of Randall Grahm Part II

An unavoidable consequence of making available great volumes of both written and verbal opinion is that you are bound to win both allies and enemies. It is then no surprise that Randall Grahm has acquired both. He has been both a pioneer and innovator for wine, which has endeared him to many. He has railed against or championed for any number of controversial matters (screw caps, wine critics, the dumbing down of wine) and this has won him his fair share of scorn and Anti-Grahm Fans.

In Bonny Doon – Slaying the Beast (you can read that here), I wanted to present the story of how Bonny Doon came to be, how they lost their way, and how they have dedicated themselves to correcting their errors. In reality, the topics addressed in that article were only a short part of the hour and a half conversation I shared with Grahm. The topics varied, from bio-dynamics to Twitter, the paradox of wine critics to his daughter’s Mandarin lessons (Wǒ juéde tā xuéxi Zhōngwen shì fēichánghǎo Randall. Zhōngwen kěyǐ bāngzhù tā. Anyone know PinYin?). … Continue Reading

Bonny Doon – Slaying the Beast

Bonny Doon – Slaying the Beast

The Birth of Bonny Doon – aka Randall Grahm and the Temple of Doon, Part I

The fantastic Mr. Grahm. The champion of the unsung vitis vinifera and decrier of the long over hailed vitis elieitist. The ever witty prolifcator of the written word, the masterfully poetic advocate of the unorthodox. The wild haired, be-spectacled, trail blazing, Rhône Ranging, entertaining, pontificating, elaborating, and stimulating, fantastic Mr. Grahm.

Randall Grahm is many things. An author (Been Doon So Long), a restaurateur (The Cellar Door), a trendsetter (Rhône wines, screw caps, comic book ads), a provocateur (see items previously listed), a marketer, a father, and of course, a winemaker. He is the name behind Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz and the original Rhône Ranger. … Continue Reading


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 […]

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