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08/25/2010

Comments

Andy Peay

I have no interest in putting a target on my chest, but in defense of A16, Ian Becker, Peay and the other "conventional" wineries you diffidently toss aside, I feel I must respond to your blog.

Before I begin a long discourse on what I feel are natural wines, let me first make it clear that no one has the lock on the definition. It is not codified, licensed, or even generally agreed upon by people who are called natural winemakers/grape growers. Hence, the broader net of wineries participating than just Dressner selections. Many of the people you admire for their "natural" winemaking may share a certain gestalt. They have been put on wine lists by retailers and restaurateurs (and writers), etc. and called natural, thereby defining them and the "movement." What you feel they share are "principles coupled with sensuality." Huh? They do not share everything - or even much - in common. Some of them filter, some use commercial yeast, some are not organic, some are not estate wineries, some use pumps, etc. I could go on and on. Sensuality? This is a caricature which I feel the serious winemakers among them would guffaw at. What they may share is an intent and passion for what they do. That is not unique to them.

As for commitment? Before questioning our commitment to our principles, come out and see how hard it is to farm the way we do in extreme climates like many of these wineries do before you judge. In the case of Peay, it would be a heck of a lot easier and cheaper if I farmed "conventionally" rather than organically. But I do not. Why? Because I am committed to making wines of intention and identity. Natural wines. Ah, a segue.

Defining natural wine invites confusion because it is not a simple, codified list of practices but is a movement that is trying to promote wines that share an intention. It is much easier to come to a consensus on the intent of the winemaker than it can be to determine actual practices, though some people do attempt to come up with a list of dos and don'ts, rights and wrongs. Beware, dogmatism and fundamentalist self-righteousness lurk in the discussion of Natural Wine, as seen above. Those who live in the grey world of subtleties may find this trying as I do.

So, to me, wines are natural if they reflect their terroir. They should not be adulterated and masked by flavors that are not a reflection of their unique site. Practices in the vineyard and winery that aim to “create” flavors that are not already there are not natural practices. This does not mean that natural wines are not aged in cask, new or old. If the oak lifts the aromas and frames the wine better expressing the terroir (and not obscuring it) then it is a natural wine. It does mean, however, that picking late is not natural. Nothing unnatural was done, true, but the terroir was obfuscated by a decision aimed at making a wine of power and fruit not a wine of site. It is - literally - more natural to let the fruit hang past ripeness and not do something unnatural like pick it, but the intention was not to make a terroir-driven wine. Makes it hard to define natural, doesn’t it?

To make terroir-driven wines you must strive to create an environment where vines can naturally flourish. If you must constantly battle insects with pesticides and nourish your depleted soils with fertilizers you are caught in a vicious cycle of doing something unnatural in your farming. And the wines often will show their lack of soul. So organic farming appears to be natural farming as it strives to make wines that can show life and express the vineyard. Yet, vineyards are not natural. They are mono-cultures even if you inter-plant with vegetables or nitrogen-fixing plants. But the intention of inter-planting is an attempt to let nature provide the environment for the plant and soil, not a chemical or man. It really is a perspective more than a practice. It is to respect Mother Nature and to work with Her or even for Her, not in a battle against Her. So being holistic in your approach to farming, not just organic, is also important.

For example, at Peay we farm organically: use compost, weed with hoes and a tiller, spray oils and sulfur for mildew, etc. Further, instead of using chemicals to control pesticides, we create a habitat for predatory insects that will eat detrimental pests (mites, for example). That is called integrated pest management and we go to classes every month to learn the latest methods. We also have our fish-friendly certification so we best understand our place in the greater ecosystem/watershed and how to be good stewards. We also run our tractors on bio-diesel and are solar-powered at the vineyard and the winery. So we do not rely on fossil fuels -which are natural! - but instead rely on the sun - also natural. The distinction is a matter of intent. To use fossil fuels shows a disregard for the long-term health of our land. All the above demonstrates an intention and is not meant to be the last word on what practices are natural.

This carries forward into winemaking, as well. We use full-time, salaried employees in the vineyard and winery, hand-pick, hand-sort, use gravity, attempt and 95% of the time succeed with un-inoculated and indigenous yeast fermentations, don't filter (unless ML not completed), etc. etc. These are all practices that - individually – are up for discussion whether they are natural or not. But as a whole, they do reveal an intention: to make wine that expresses the soul of the site, not an idea of how we want the wine to taste. I will side-step further discussion of winemaking techniques in the interest of clarity.

So, do our wines taste like natural, terroir-driven wines? Well, Peay wines often have a verve and unique character that communicate that they are wines of site and identity. They are not fruit bombs or extreme or oaky or wrong-colored (new word!). The whites are often minerally and racy with a limestone/lime oil quality in the mid-palate. The reds often are earthy and have pine needle and forest floor qualities that linger in the mid-palate. Those are the qualities I attribute to Peay Vineyards terroir speaking in the wines. This is evidence of their naturalness since they are not masked or adulterated but instead Vanessa does whatever she can in the vineyard and winery to deliver these flavors.

So, now do you understand what natural wine is? Me neither.

Come have a few this week at A16 with a wood-fired pizza and some burrata. You may still not have a clue what natural wine is but you will have eaten well.

Andy Peay
Peay Vineyards (A16's Saturday night "conventional" winery)

Shelley Lindgren

Nice to meet you Alice, I think? I have never been introduced to somebody over a blog before so, please bear with me. It appears as though there is an obsequious definition of 'natural' with wine. I am not intending to stir a reactive mechanism or to put in question the integrity of winemaking and vineyard management in California. You and I have never had dialog about wine but your opinions are analogous to a referee throwing a yellow card in a soccer match. You are entitled. And, I am happy to answer any specific questions and also, I may have some for you as well.

The California winemakers that rose to the occasion when I asked them to participate in SF Natural wine week haven't been proclaiming that they are doing anything definitive. I intimately know their farming practices and levels of environmentalism and also feel that their integrity for the land transfers beautifully into their wine and personal character. To my understanding on the spirit and dedication to natural wine, they all more than qualify. Happy to be open and start the conversation. Is there a specific question that I can answer for you? I can also share the dialog I have had with each and every one of them on the subject of natural wine, which is how hosting a nightly event at A16 grew to be. I feel that for a community wine event in SF, there should be a voice heralded by some great leaders of California. There is a lot of great feats happening right in our backyard.
On my recent Italian wine research trip in June, I visited 29 wineries in 17 days and was inspired by the level of attention given to produce, pure, natural wines yet not one of them used the word natural to me. I filled three books of everything they said and recently scoured them looking for the word natural. I was unsuccessful. They have no idea I am pouring their wines for this week at SPQR and A16. I also figured Oslavia was a little far to travel right before harvest. I will heading back there next month for a few days as well. Even the purists like Bea, Gravner and Vodopivec took time to explain the process of farming and share their ideals, philosophies and level of attention in the vineyard with me, it was an individual expression and not attempting to be anything more than who they are and what they believe. The standards they uphold, I see in the winemakers that have been at A16 this week but, I don't compare one to another, it's an overall progressive approach to wine and I applaud it.
It is a labor of love and devotion to wine as an almost spiritual practice. Walking into Gravner's 'anfora' room was a place that he himself says he 'enters when he is of the right frame of mind and speaks in a hushed voice' because the wine is a living, breathing thing. Super cool! Likewise, I have visited and have recent inspirational dialog with our local winemakers like Palmina, Robert Sinskey and Randall Graham who have already trekked in to share their use of wild yeasts, biodynamic farming, organic farming and/or the incredible levels of winemaking and farming with the San Francisco community I believe each of these winemaker's has helped to impact a level of California winemaking and raised the bar of integrity, farming practices and winemaking here, at home. I invited them to come and participate in the spirit of natural wine week and be a part of the San Francisco community of wine. It has been a wonderful. Yesterday, Arianna Occhipinti was at lunch at A16 and came to lineup at SPQR before our Gravner night, etc...began. You are invited to come and interact with us any night and bring your questions/opinions. Enjoy your natural wines!!

Alicefeiring

Hello Andy,

Thanks so much for extremely well thought out response. I, by the way, have an appreciation for your winery and spent some time at the table tasting and talking the last time I was at the Skurnik event.

To clarify, when I talked about sensual and delivering pleasure you misunderstand. "Natural wine" has been accused of being bacterial swamps. But wine--whether conventional or 'natural' should be a beverage of pleasure. Simply put. I did not mean for anyone to infer that only 'natural' wine can deliver this, after all, I've been known to really enjoy G. Mascarelli's baroli, and those are yeasted. I did mean that at this Natural Wine week, the wines were excellent examples of the genre. Period.

On at least one point you and I are in agreement, natural wine starts in the vineyard. But we certainly disagree on other points. such as a 'definition' of natural wine.

Terroir wine is not by default natural, just as 'Natural wine" is not, by default Terroir wine. I do believe that going au naturel is probably the best way to express a sense of place, but the definition does not stop there.

Over the past 30 years or so a definition (or at least some parameters) have absolutely been established; quite simply nothing added, nothing taken away. As you indicate it is a mindset, a philosophy a goal, and for some reasons not always achieved. (this most often is in regards to sulfur).

And as far as that demon sulfur? Please keep to a minimum if your are soft core. If you're hard core, none at all. So that means no inoculations, no DAP, no other yeast food, no acid, no deacidification, no enzyme, no tannin and so on. I'm not saying you do any of these. After talking with one of the Peay winemakers I certainly came away with the feeling that you are on the road to this kind of winemaking but weren't quite there yet.

There are many vignerons making wine under this nothing added/nothing taken away umbrella-- total commitment to this philosophy.

If winemakers are going to align themselves to a 'Natural Wine Week,' because they are organic and make good wine and are nice people, the 'movement' needs a different name to make it more inclusive.


Alicefeiring

Hello Shelley,

I initially tried to reach out to you on Facebook, so the introduction would have been a little more personal. Forgive me if I was hasty, I am on the road.

Much of what I wrote to Andy addresses you as well, and would love to know your thoughts, especially on the nothing added, nothing taken away part.

Most people in Europe involved in 'natural' do not use the word 'natural,' because they just are. That's the point. Few are waving the flag, this is a new banner as working this way in the winery is being spread around the world. Outside of the 'secret' world need something to call them. There's a learning curve. And while Bea might not use 'natural,' he was one of the founders of Vini Veri and will happily engage in debate and conversation about it.

I envy you your visits up North. Friuli is one area I haven't spend much time visiting.

Robertsinskeyvineyards

Alice,

I do not believe we have ever met, nor do I believe you have ever received a sample of our wine as we have not sent samples since the 80's. I am trying to figure out who has sullied who.. or should I say libeled, maybe slandered? We made a commitment over 20 years ago to be 100% organic and ignore status quo in the pursuit of pure, vibrant, expressive terroir driven wines. Our first foray into Biodynamics was in 1991. We are 100% CCOF and Demeter certified in all 180+- acres of vineyard. We do not buy fruit. We have made a commitment to reduce our impact on the planet by not using synthetics or toxic chemicals in the vineyard or in the winery. We produce a large part of the energy we use and run our equipment on biodiesel when animals can't do the job. We allow nature to drive our winegrowing and winemaking. However, we believe in producing a wine that is sound when it goes in the bottle so the work in the vineyard is reflected in the finished wine. We are not perfect. Dig deep enough and you will find inconsistencies and contradictions, as you will find with every "Natural" producer. Once a human is involved in the farming and winemaking process, we are no longer working in a natural environment, we can emulate natural systems though every decision we make in the process is an intervention.

As I read your blog, I realize that we are guilty by association. We grow grapes in a wine region that has been dominated by a science and technology paradigm... that has, for better or worse, influenced most wine regions of the world. It is romantic to travel to a far flung place and discover a wine that is unique and distinctive. Not so romantic to travel an hour north to make a similar discovery. I salute Shelley for having the guts to discover and showcase wines from her backyard that are not typical New World commodity wines. If we don't say yes, and support those that do it well, we will end up with cookie cutter commodity wines we despise. Shelley has stuck her neck out with the rather uncool premise that you can find wines of passion locally, and you have done your best to cut it off.

There is danger in arrogance. It alienates instead of creating community or dialog. The fact that the only people engaged in this conversation are those you have attacked illustrates that your narrow definition of what makes a wine valid is not shared by many. Perhaps if you had taken the time to research the wineries or taste the wines in question, you would have had a different point of view.

Rob Sinskey

Alicefeiring

Hello Rob, Actually we have met several times and I frequently taste your wines over the year and have seen them progress. I have talked to your asst winemaker for stories (Deborah?) over the past year and have stayed in the shadow of your vineyard at a friends house and have walked the rows. I think Shelly put together a remarkable group of strong and committed California winemakers for showcasing, however, "natural" is a specific kind of wine and just being committed to terroir and good farming practice doesn't make a natural winemaker. That is a totally form of mindset and if there's supposed to be a natural wine week, I think some parameters need to be adhered to, otherwise, what's the point?

I mean, really, what is the matter with the definition of nothing added, nothing taken away, except for sulfur as needed--most likely just at bottling. No water, no acid, no ML bacteria, no fruit concentrate, no yeast....etc.etc. By the way, this is not my definition. But as there are so many American Wineries wanting to change the European paradigm, maybe, as I have suggested, there needs to be another category called, 'Natural Enough?'

Robertsinskeyvineyards

Alice,

I guess I am getting old. My apologies for not recalling our prior meeting. BTW, Debby is our vineyard manager.

I am confused, if we had met and you have been in contact with our vineyard manager, why would you categorize us as conventional? I would have assumed you would have known our practices and would have saluted Shelley instead of calling her into question.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of nothing added, nothing taken away as long as the wine is sound. The reality is that sometimes the dogmatic pursuit of the ideal leads to a wine that is flawed and lacking in pleasure... and is ultimately less pure because steps weren't taken that could have prevented the contamination in the first place. A spoiled or flawed wine is a spoiled or flawed wine whether it is natural or not.

We are a member of The Charter of Quality and the Return of Terroir founded by Nicolas Joly and others. This creates a star system ranking of purity whereas some wines can be considered one star and others three star in their purity. The point is that a winemaker can share the philosophical goal of natural wine, but they take into account that some vintages force your hand or that some wines can be difficult. In this case, a wine can be lowered on the "purity" scale. This system does not take into account quality, just the pursuit of purity.

The reality is that this is a passion, but not a hobby. To pursue our lofty goals, we must be able to keep our business going. If we have to choose between a sulfur addition or flawed wine, we will choose the former. Same with filtration. It would be irresponsible to sell a wine that was suffering from bacterial spoilage. We do not however do anything to a wine that would alter its inherent character or flavor profile.

I realize you were attempting to be provocative in your opening statement, but the end result was inaccurate and hurtful. The reason most people do not use the title "Natural" is because it is a philosophical ideal but, as I stated before, if you dig deep enough, you will always find contradictions and inconsistencies.

Rob

Hardy Wallace

What's the real issue here?

A lot of people took a double take at some of the choices made by A16-- Some raised an eyebrow, some screamed "no f'n way", and others have said- that they deserved to be there.

I have friends and there are people I respect on all sides of this post, but was it right to question some of these picks? Yes. Would it be right to question any other locations picks? Absolutely.

Isn't questioning (and answering) part of this natty wine sh** should be about?

Robertsinskeyvineyards

Hardy,

Let's say you were accused of being a schiester in this blog. You know you are an honest man, yet someone decided they would publicly trash your reputation. This is the issue.

There appears to be a belief that only wines from quaint towns in Europe can achieve a state of naturalness and that any California producer who aspires (or achieves) "naturalness" is fraudulently co-opting the term. All I ask is that you give credit where credit is due and not trash the reputation of honest folks.

Hardy Wallace

Robert-

People have the right to question and you have the right to answer.

Alicefeiring

Robert, If there was any accusation, it was that American winemakers seem to want to ignore a movement that has been out there for 30 years and because they farm well and go minimalist, want to hook on to the new cool of natural. There are wines that are terrific that don't fit into the category. I actually think this is about provincialism, but unless you can tell me that your credo is nothing added, nothing taken away, unless you run into a problem, it is wrong to be throw the hat in the ring with those who live and die or eat or starve by this credo. Accusation? I'm not sure. I see this more as clarification.

Truly, with all due respect, --Alice

Ben

too much talking (or writing) and not enough drinking. good wine is good wine. it's silly to get too hung up on the particulars--not to mention terribly boring and frustrating. i feel conflicted about what you wrote here alice, because i love many of the wines that you too love, and yet i also enjoy and respect many of the wines that you criticized. that said, i think you went too far here, and seem to have no interest in conceding your point or apologizing.

Robertsinskeyvineyards

I believe that is what I have said without calling myself a Natural winemaker... BTW, the real natural movements began as a reaction to industrial agriculture at the beginning on the 20th century. Sir Albert Howard, Steiner, Lord Northbourne and later Albrecht all helped to define natural systems that evolved into a larger philosophy of purity and naturalness. It is an ongoing journey. These concepts have driven our version of natural wine long before I even knew of the natural wine movement. We have not been ignoring any movement, (though industrial wine from any country ignores any system that is less than quantifiable and profitable) we have been quietly and diligently refining our systems over the past twenty years and constantly learning better ways as we go. Purity begins with the land and evolves from there. The rest is just technique.

I usually avoid getting into blog discussions because I believe they propagate misinformation and lead to endless, many times inconclusive banter. In this case, I felt the need to defend Shelley and those that are doing the right thing. BTW Thank you Ben, whoever you are!

Alicefeiring

Ben, I am not sure where you think the problem is with my posting. If this week was about 'wines we love,' there is no problem. But don't you think that a Natural wine week, should mean wine that adheres to the practice? Shouldn't it teach drinkers about what it is like to make wine from great agriculture bit ALSO low to minimal sulfur and no intervention with additives and adjuncts UNLESS the wine is in danger? Otherwise, really, what's the point? True, absolutely, where Robert and Andrew says, great wines, natural wines are not possible without healthy, living soils, but so many wines come from gorgeously farmed vineyards and manipulated in the winery. This is the point. It's not love me. I'm natural, but really about the people who take the 'risk' to make wine in this manner. And here is my point. I'm not sure why Andy or Robert take offense with my position. They keep on confirming that it is all about the vineyard, but what winemaker doesn't say that?

Both wines, for my palate, are better examples of California wines, but the 'natural' category is just a different genre.

OrganicWineFind

Its easy to want to support both sides of the argument here.

Alice's point of not muddying the water by keeping the players to "nothing added, nothing taken away" is valid.

Rob's points are also valid. It is unfair to accuse him of not being natural, and it is unfair to want exclude him and other organic producers from a wine gathering for "Natural Wine".

The real issue seems to be the name 'Natural Wine' and its use by the "nothing added, nothing taken away" movement. If "natural wine" becomes the sole province of "nothing added, nothing taken away" then it leaves many organic and biodynamic producers that are farming and making wine completely naturally out in the cold - stuck between industrial wine and radical wine.

Its one thing to say that its unnatural manipulating wine by adding fake flavors etc but to say that filtering wine to remove bacterial spoilage is unnatural goes a bit to far imho.

Robertsinskeyvineyards

Alice,

Thanks for reaching out through other channels, however since this began in an open forum, it should remain in an open forum.

I take offense, because you slandered me and my operation by accusing us of being conventional and riding on the coattails of others.

I also am offended that you changed your primary blog post after comments were made, to slightly soften your inflammatory rhetoric. From what I recall, the word "sullied", among other things, was edited.

In many ways, this is reminiscent of an earlier encounter with RP when you claim to know what we do in the cellar (in 1987, he accused us of acidulating when the wine was non-malolactic and had a natural high level of acidity) and again when you claim to have gotten story ideas from "Deborah" when Debby does not recall communicating with you (RP claimed to have tasted barrel samples when he had never been in our cellar) Also like RP, you find it provocative and profitable to go negative rather than nurture the positive.

Natural is impossible to define. There is no standard. "Nothing added, nothing taken away, except for sulfur... UNLESS the wine is in danger" is a great slogan. However, it leaves a lot of leeway for the individual to decide how far they will go and how much they will declare. Dogma does not make good or even pure wine, rather what does is a philosophical approach that allows one to react and respond to what is presented by nature.

“When we strive after the good or the beautiful, we thereby forget our nature, which is distinctiveness. When, however, we remain true to our own nature ... we distinguish ourselves ... from the evil and ugly.” - Carl Jung

I am now signing off on this subject.

Alicefeiring

Robert, I wanted to interview you for my book about this topic, that is why I was reaching out to you. I wanted to understand your point of view.

I wish I had that original post. I never used the word sullied. Goodness. Also, I never signaled you out or anyone else in that group. I hinted that 'some' amongst those might not fit the category that hung their lives on the concept of natural--whatever that means.

Here's my deal: as a blogger, especially on the road, I can be hasty. Oh, this is not good. And I wish I could wait, but the nature of blogging is immediate. As it happened, I was--on the road and I was hasty as well as careless.

I softened the post's attitude after Shelley wrote in because I did not want to hurt anyone, and most definitely, I did not want my tone to stop a conversation before it could start.

Initially, I said something about, should I give up? Should I throw in the towel? But...sullied? Oh, Robert. Really. For shame. The word or the concept was never used, and in what context? That first graf was throat clearing, everything else remained the same. (grammar cleaned up.) The closest thing to sullied that I can see is still there:

"But here some 'conventional' winemakers included in this line up will be getting a free ride from a different association."

Remember, you're the man who doesn't remember meeting me countless times over the past 15-20 years.
Reliable narrator?

I contacted you because I wanted to hear what you think a natural wine is, as you say it can't be defined. I wanted to find out where we separate on the topic. I wanted to hear where you stood on inoculations, 'food,' acidi, and sulfur. I doubt you use tannin or other ingredients. I am not the cop here and you owe me nothing, but I wanted to know. This is important to me. I wanted to understand.

We have a gorgeous opportunity to get to the core of what is natural and what is not. I want to know why California winemakers are so threatened by this: it is fascinating and important. I would imagine because the nothing added, nothing taken away ---as it is catching on--as a new generation emerges and gains followers, is going to change the face of 'artisinal' winemaking in America.

But that is just my hunch.

Sorry you can't be part of the conversation. I really wish you could. But, you can quote Jung, you can quote the Bible, but that doesn't make up for your lack of knowledge of a 30+ year old movement that has been growing in Europe and just touching down in the US now.

As far as Deborah? I talked to her in regards to my SF Chron irrigation story I did a few years back, because I was curious why you didn't try to dry farm. Maybe I still have the quote from her, it was something about that she thought in 2007, you'd be forced to try to dry farm. (I found this in my notes: >>)

Robertsinskeyvineyards

I will apologize if you will... I was too harsh, reacting to a perceived attack and writing after a two bottle lunch. Please forgive me.

Alicefeiring

Robert, Of course. Please. Just let's promise to have a face to face one day, okay? I think it could be great.

Alicefeiring

Hello Organic Wine Find, for wine health, filtering as needed is as needed. We are all agreed that wine deliciousness and a sound wine is the desired outcome. But I keep on thinking of a situation that seems analogous; I was at dinner with two women with dyed red hair and one of them said, "We red-heads have to stay together," and I was like, I'm the only real one here.

OrganicWineFind

Hi Alice,

I think I get your analogy i.e. that 'nothing added/taken away' organic and 'manipulated' organic are far from the same thing. They shouldn't be lumped together, nor should they 'stick together'.

I agree with you from the perspective of taste - they are not in the same camp. And I know that personally I would always choose a "naked" wine rather than something manipulated.

But the challenge is that 'organics' and 'naturalness" is so much more than about taste -- its also about health and about environment. I don't have any data to support it but I'd be willing to bet that many of today's conscious consumers are moving to organic for health & environmental reasons first - taste probably comes in 3rd.

So when it comes to the use of the word 'natural' it gets tricky because for many people 'natural' has more to do with chemical inputs, or 'additives' than it does taste 'manipulation'.

The manipulators may oxygenate, reverse osmose or whatever else they do up the wazoo but if they don't add chemicals (other than SO2)or other 'unnatural' additives the wine is still technically 'natural' from an additive perspective. And that may be what consumers are most concerned about.

Its like the difference between cream and whipped cream. One has been manipulated but they're both natural.

So can we find another name for "nothing added, nothing taken away" so that consumers don't get confused? And so organic wine can be natural whether its "naked" or "manipulated"?

Alicefeiring

Thanks, Great to read your thoughts. The word natural is bastardized. Too many 'natural' ain't natural. I still think that no matter what, any name will be co-opted, though today, I'm kind of into, 'Not fucked with.'

What do you think?

Winekat007

Dear Alice,
This was just too good not to comment. After reading all the above I went back to read your "call to arms" under your photo on the blog. Although we dry farm and have a vineyard that has never been sprayed with anything including sulphur. And just as little intervention went on in the winery. I have to say, unlike you, I DON"T want wines that make me think, laugh and embrace sex - I actually have real human beings for that. (Hey, Rob SInskey - you managed to do 2 of those things for me tonight)
I want to make wines that when someone has had a glass they are not talking about the wine, because the wine was just a part of the beautiful meal, great conversation and wonderful food that is being shared.
The only thing I want anyone to say after drinking my wine is "More Please." Anything else would ruin it.
And as all of you have proven ... those who talk about wine too much are far more dreary ... then those who drink too much. And drunks are usually the dreariest of them all.

Winekat007

Oh and one more thing...your red hair - no tint, nothing?
I only ask because you brought it up.

Alicefeiring

I've no problem with people coloring hair especially as we live in a world still unkind to women, but people have been asking me, "Are you a real redhead," ever since I was born.

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I'm hunting the Leon Trotskys, the Philip Roths, the Chaucers and the Edith Whartons of the wine world. I want them natural and most of all, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue. With this messiah thing going on, I'm trying to swell the ranks of those who crave the differences in each vintage, celebrate nuance and desire wines that make them think, laugh, and feel. Welcome.
And, if you'd like a signed copy of either THE BATTLE FOR WINE AND LOVE OR HOW I SAVED THE WORLD FROM PARKERIZATION or NAKED WINE, feel free to contact me directly.