wine maker interview

Arizona Hops & Vines interview

Arizona Hops & Vines is the name of one of Arizona’s newest wineries. I happened to meet the principals at the 2012 Arizona Wine Grower’s Association Festival on the Farm at South Mountain.
Here’s a quick interview

Arizona Winery Burning Tree Cellars | Interview

Another interview in a series of interviews I did with Arizona wine makers at the Festival on the Farm. Corey and Mitch, co-owners of Burning Tree Cellars, spoke with me for a few minutes about their wines

Maynard James Keenan | wine maker interview

I had a chance to sit down with Arizona wine maker Maynard James Keenan at this year’s Arizona Wine Grower’s Association “Festival on the Farm”. Mr Keenan is the owner of Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus cellars.

Arizona Stronghold website
Caduceus cellars website
Arizona Wine Grower’s Association website

Video interview with Arizona wine maker Tim White

I got a chance to sit down with Arizona wine maker Tim White at this years Festival on the Farm.  Tim is the director of wine making at Arizona Stronghold Vineyards.  Arizona Stronghold took home multiple awards from this year’s Arizona Wine Grower’s Association competition including:

Arizona Grower’s Cup, Gold for red.  And a clean sweep in the white category, winning Gold, Silver and Bronze!

Video interview:

Arizona Stronghold website

Arizona Winemaker wins big in National Competition

Eric Glomski

Eric Glomski, Page Springs Cellars and Arizona Stronghold Cellars

The Jefferson Cup wine competition held this past November was a major achievement in Arizona Wine. The Jefferson Cup is an invitation only wine competition held in Kansas City. The wines were judged by some of the industries most well known Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine from across the country, 13 in all. There are no Gold or Silver medals awarded.
Over 630 wines from all of America’s wine regions were selected to compete with just under 300 being awarded “Medals of American Merit”
52 wines won “Medals of American Excellence” and only 22 wines won Jefferson Cups.

In an Amazing feat for Arizona wine and for any winemaker, Eric Glomski (winemaker for Page Springs Cellars and Arizona Stronghold) took home 3 Medals of Merit, 2 Medals of Excellence and 2 out of only 22 Jefferson Cups awarded.

Here is an interview with Eric Glomski just after the awards were announced:

A List of Eric Glomski’s award winning wines:

Page Springs Cellars:

El Serrano 2010, Red Blend, Cochise County | Jefferson Cup

Mourvedre Colibri Vineyards 2010, Cochise County|Jefferson Cup

La Serrana 2010, White Blend, Cochise County | Medal of Excellence

Landscape Page Springs Estate Vineyard 2010, Red Blend, Yavapai County ………Medal of Excellence

Petite Sirah “Page Springs Estate Vineyard” 2010 Yavapai County | Medal of Merit

Pinot Noir “Bonita Springs”, 2010, Graham County | Medal of Merit

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon “Dala” 2009, Cochise County, Arizona | Medal of Merit

For a complete list of Jefferson Cup Competition award winners click HERE

2 Quick Video Interviews | Cellar Dwellers | Callaghan Vineyards

Flip cam interviews from the 3rd annual Arizona Wine Growers Association Festival on the Farm

Cellar Dwellers:

Callaghan Vineyards:

 

For more pictures visit facebook.com/weeklywinejournal

Scott McWilliam shares some of his new wines

I recently had the opportunity to meet up with Scott McWilliam, 6th generation Australian wine maker for McWilliam’s wines.  A quick primer on McWilliam’s: Founded in 1877,  McWilliam’s is Australia’s most awarded winery.  They won 40 trophies and 889 medals in 2009 alone! Scott has been making wine since age 14 and has spent time in Bordeaux.

We tasted several wines in this sitting including Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and a special Bordeaux blend called “Jack’s Blend”

A quick video introducing  Jack’s Blend:

A quick video introducing McWilliam’s Cabernet:

an even quicker video introducing McWilliam’s Riesling:

McWilliam’s WEBSITE

Dinner with the Craigs

As wine consumers we are accustomed to perusing wine reviews, sometimes as we are shopping for wines.  We are used to reading the flavor profiles and scanning for points.  We do this quickly and efficiently, searching for gems, or just for something decent to pair with tonight’s dinner.  But if we dig a little deeper there are the stories of the vineyards, the wine makers and the terroir.

Howell Mountain wine maker

Robert and Lynn Craig

On my recent trip to Napa Valley I was treated to an amazing dinner as the guest of Robert and Lynn Craig.  I first met the legendary Napa Valley Wine producer in Scottsdale, Arizona in September of 2010 at a wine maker dinner.  After that event, Robert and his wife Lynn invited me to visit them in Napa the following summer (2011) and to attend The Taste of Howell Mountain.

Well when the time finally came, I couldn’t have been more excited, and was happily surprised that they still knew who I was!  I guess not everyone has a sub par memory like me!

Napa tapas bar

Zuzu Tapas and Paella

We met at ZuZu tapas in downtown Napa, overlooking the banks of the Napa river.  We enjoyed a multitude of various tapas, including sautéed jumbo shrimp, and flat-iron steak.  The wine?  A bottle of the 2008 Robert Craig Affinity!

But the wine was just a back drop to the conversation.  Over our 2 hour dinner we talked about almost everything and anything that came to mind.  From my recent affliction to gluten and lactose, to their adventures in the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Alaska/Denali.

In a previous life, Robert Craig was in the Coast Guard and was stationed in the Alaskan panhandle for a while, and he said very little had changed in the nearly 50 years since he had been there. It was while he was stationed in San Fransisco that he met his future wife, Lynn. In the late 1960′s San Fransisco was the epicenter of the counter culture movement. During this time the Craig’s would venture north into the relatively undiscovered Napa Valley. Robert was involved in real estate and eventually he came across a deal he couldn’t let go and he put together an investment group to acquire vineyard land on Mt. Veeder. Robert Craig was instrumental in Mt Veeder becoming an official AVA. The investment group sold the land to Donald Hess  and Robert stayed on as General manager of the Hess Collection. In 1992 Robert Craig started his own winery, sourcing grapes from a friends Howell Mountain vineyard and making wine at various facilities.  In 1998  he acquired some prime vineyard land on a steep slope right near the peak of Howell Mountain, over looking Napa Valley to the west and Pope Valley to the east. He planted right away and in 2002 the Robert Craig Winery in its current form was born, sourcing grapes from his own land, and making wine in his own premises.

As we were discussing the serious matters of mountain fruit versus valley floor fruit and Lynn was explaining how she edits the website information, I noticed Robert sniffing the cork of the bottle of Spanish Albarino he had ordered. The cork was plastic. Out of the corner of his eye he glanced at Lynn, who sensed he was looking at her. She looked at him for a second and then smiled
“Bob, stop that!” she laughed
He chuckled and his eyes twinkled.
His endearing sense of humor, often under the radar, understated and Lynn’s appreciation of that humor are some of the things that has kept them happily married after all these years!

Well the food plates kept coming and the Craig’s kept telling me to “eat, eat!” This was a familiar feeling, as my own grandparents had often said the same thing, they used to tell me I ate like a bird..peck peck. The evening finally drew to a close, and we made plans to meet the following morning at the Culinary Institute of America in St Helena where I would join the Craig’s in their vehicle for a ride up Howell Mountain and a private tour of their vineyard!

Cooks & Corks Arizona Wine Seminar

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival featured a special event called Cooks & Corks.  Guests paid $65 a ticket to be wined and dined inside the Scottsdale Center for the Performing arts.  Within this special event was an even more exclusive Arizona Wine Seminar.  Seating was limited to just 65 guests who were treated to a run down on the Arizona wine industry featuring guests speakers, Pavle Milic, Todd Bostock and Kent Callaghan.  Bellow you will find 3 videos of the seminar.

Interview | Curt Dunham | Lawrence Dunham Vineyards

I took a little tour of Curt Dunham’s personal wine cellar at his home in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Lawrence Dunham Vineyards WEBSITE