Cru Podcast | Stories From The People Behind Wine



Cru shares the stories of the people behind wine. Each week we share with you one interview with an influential person in the wine industry. Guests include Brian McClintic MS, Whitney Adams, Michael Cruse, Richard Betts MS, Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Marissa A. Ross, and Dustin Wilson MS.Subscribe on iTunes and to our email newsletter at


  • How to Strategically Market and Develop A Wine Brand with Jeff Meisel

    How to Strategically Market and Develop A Wine Brand with Jeff Meisel

    07/01/2020 Duration: 01h06min

    Jeff Meisel is the Vice President of Brand Development for Long Meadow Ranch based in St. Helena, California. Jeff oversees all things marketing and development across Long Meadow Ranch, Farmstead Restaurant, Hunt & Harvest, and Stony Hill. We chat about Jeff’s story and career in the wine industry thus far, his learnings, and dig into how the Long Meadow Ranch umbrella brand works to engage with customers across marketing channels, platforms, and in real life, along with the specific strategies and tools that they implement do grow the brand across its many product offerings. Learn more about Jeff and Long Meadow Ranch with the show notes at

  • The Future of Online Wine Retail with Vanessa Conlin  Eduardo Dingler

    The Future of Online Wine Retail with Vanessa Conlin & Eduardo Dingler

    28/10/2019 Duration: 53min

    As online wine sales continue to increase in the U.S., the wine purchasing experience inevitably changes. How do you convey the texture, length, intensity, aromas, and balance of a wine through the internet? How do you sell a visceral product like wine with words and pictures? If the consumer cannot taste the wine themselves before purchase, they need to trust that a team of experts has. Wine Access, one of the original online retailers in wine, began as a web hosting service for wine shops and other wine businesses in 1997. Over time, the company has evolved into the robust direct to consumer wine retailer that it is today, with a carefully vetted selection of both ephemeral daily offers and a more permanent inventory of wines from the industry’s top regions and producers. They sell their wines by telling the stories around each of the producers and wineries they work with. They are a leader in direct to consumer wine sales; an area of tremendous growth in the wine industry. Wine Access has an unprecedented

  • Discussing Climate Change  Sustainability in Napa Valley with Dan Petroski

    Discussing Climate Change & Sustainability in Napa Valley with Dan Petroski

    23/10/2019 Duration: 01h04min

    Dan Petroski is the winemaker of Larkmead Vineyards and the founder & winemaker of Massican. Recently, Dan spoke on a panel regarding climate change and sustainability in relation to the global wine industry. Leaving me with more questions, we sat down to chat about the effects of climate change on Napa Valley specifically, with a focus on the benchmarking and data gathering that Larkmead has been doing to assess things like growing degree days in detail, and how Napa Valley is evolving into Zone 5 climatic conditions. We also discuss the affects of alternative packing and how that crosses over in the marketing & customer perception. Then we dig into how Dan is preparing for the potential major effects of climate change with a 21 year plan for testing other grape varietals that might possibly be more viable in the long-term. For those who do not know Dan, I encourage you to go back and list to my original interview with him where we discussed being the winemaker of Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga, Cal

  • Organically Farmed, Sans Pretense Canned Wine with Jake Stover  Gina Schober

    Organically Farmed, Sans Pretense Canned Wine with Jake Stover & Gina Schober

    14/10/2019 Duration: 01h28min

    Founders, Jake Stover and Gina Schober, met in 2013 and started Sans Wine Co. in late 2015. Their preference for fresh, vibrant and approachable “wines of place” paved the way for what is now Sans Wine Co. The philosophy behind Sans Wine Co. is sourcing premium wine grapes from organically farmed vineyards and environmentally conscience growers in order to craft natural wines. Jake Stover, originally from Kansas and University of Kansas alum, on the advice of his older brother, postponed applying to law school in order to intern at a Napa winery for the 2008 harvest. After working in winemaking and production for 8 years, Jake shifted his focus to the farming side of wine growing, and started his own farming company in 2014, Stover Vineyard Management, which specializes in “beyond organic” wine growing. Gina Schober is a Bay Area, California native and UC Davis alum. You could say that wine is in her blood - her maternal Grandfather was a grape grower in Lake County for 30 years and her paternal Grandfather w

  • How to Make Wines with Intention with Scott Kirkpatrick  Allison Watkins

    How to Make Wines with Intention with Scott Kirkpatrick & Allison Watkins

    30/09/2019 Duration: 01h14min
  • An Exploration of the Loire in California with Kim  Tyler Elwell

    An Exploration of the Loire in California with Kim & Tyler Elwell

    24/09/2019 Duration: 01h23min

    Santa Barbara-bred Tyler and Napa Valley-native Kim launched Halcyon Wines in 2013 after Tyler discovered an intriguing Cabernet Franc vineyard along the Central Coast—a varietal he always dreamed of working with. In his 15 years of winemaking experience, Tyler has produced some of the most critically acclaimed wine as Assistant Winemaker at world-renowned Tablas Creek Vineyard and Provenance in Napa Valley. Tyler recently graduated with an Executive MBA in Wine Business through Sonoma State and is helping to develop new brands and reinvigorate legacy brands. Kim Elwell is a PR and marketing expert with nearly a decade of experience serving celebrity, hospitality, and food/wine clients throughout the Bay Area and beyond—most notably managing Bob Weir's (Grateful Dead) recording studio, TRI Studios in Marin, California. Kim works full-time as Account Director for The James Collective, a boutique PR and marketing agency based in wine country and New York City. Together the Elwells combine their deep-rooted lo

  • How a Wine Reviewer Considers Wine in Context with Virginie Boone

    How a Wine Reviewer Considers Wine in Context with Virginie Boone

    14/09/2019 Duration: 01h15min

    Contributing Editor Virginie Boone has been with Wine Enthusiast since 2010, and reviews the wines of Napa and Sonoma. Boone began her writing career with Lonely Planet travel guides, which eventually led to California-focused wine coverage. In this episode with Virginie, she and I dig into the life of a wine reviewer and how Wine Enthusiast works to be as non-biased and democratic with scores. We chat about the future role of the wine reviewer within the market and how the wine experience could use some adjusting and what millennials expect when they go wine tasting. Then we discuss some of the biggest global challenges that the industry is facing. In this episode we mention… Wine Enthusiast Magazine Wine Enthusiast Podcast The Press Democrat Dan Petroski, Massican Follow Virginie on… INSTAGRAM TWITTER WEBSITE PODCAST PARTNER   In 2012, Sonoma State University launched the first Executive MBA Programs in Wine Business in the United States. This program was developed in response to the needs of wine industr

  • The Journey of First Generation Grape Growers with Matt Naumann  Audra Chapman

    The Journey of First Generation Grape Growers with Matt Naumann & Audra Chapman

    26/08/2019 Duration: 01h07min

    After 17 years of doing literally everything in the wine industry from farming coastal vineyards and washing barrels to running national sales and curating wine lists, Matt & Audra have ventured on to a delicious new journey called Newfound. Find the full show notes here.  Having a proclivity for the tactile and tangible work of farming a vineyard, the couple purchased property in the Sierra Foothills of El Dorado County near the town of Placerville to plant their 40-acre ranch to vines. Matt fell in love with farming after Ehren Jordan, of Failla Wines, presented him with the opportunity to take over the farming of his Cazadero vineyard on the extreme Sonoma Coast. Ever since, Matt has been yearning to get back to that sort of lifestyle on his own terms. Matt’s winemaking approach is minimalistic. He’s moved by wines that contain a naturally rugged edge and is in a constant pursuit of pushing his winemaking limits. As it relates to his own wines, he’s firmly guided by the belief that less is always more.

  • How to Be A Winemaker with Jim Duane

    How to Be A Winemaker with Jim Duane

    10/07/2019 Duration: 01h08min

    Having found fermentation at an early age, starting with brewing beer in a fuel can under the stairs, Jim Duane has not ceased in the pursuit of learning more and more. He’s worked in New Zealand, Washington, and finally settled down in Napa Valley in 2004 having worked at Robert Mondavi and Stags Leap Cellars. Today, he grows the wines on the steep slopes that the Seavey Vineyards are planted on overlooking the northern part of Lake Hennessey. As a part of of his unrelenting thirst for knowing all he can about wine, he no longer brews beer in fuel cans (that we know of), Jim hosts the Inside Winemaking Podcast on which he digs into the nitty gritty details with wine industry professionals. They chat about the technical details and specifics of enology, viticulture, chemistry, biology, essentially how to be a winemaker. If you love to geek on the science and practicality of winemaking, give Jim’s long-form interviews a listen. It’s one of may favorite wine podcasts.   In this episode we mention… Inside Winema

  • Reliving The Past  Forecasting the Future with Bob Cabral

    Reliving The Past & Forecasting the Future with Bob Cabral

    12/03/2019 Duration: 01h45min

    Having made a career out of producing wines for companies across California, Bob decided a few years ago to make wines for himself with a focus on experimentation and having fun. For those who don’t know Bob, he cut his teeth working on his family’s vineyards in the Central Valley, graduated with an enology degree from Fresno State, worked for Bronco Wine Company, DeLoach, Kunde, Alderbrook, Hartford Court, led the charge at Williams-Selyem as winemaker for 17 years after Burt Williams stepped down, and now is the Director of Winemaking for Three Sticks in Sonoma and makes Bob Cabral Wines on the side. In this episode, Bob takes us through is long history in the industry working with some great folks, business dealings with John Dyson (owner of Williams-Selyem) and Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks), his passion for music like Petty & Zeppelin, his friendship with Sammy Hagar, and we taste through the wines that he’s crafting right now. In this episode we mention… Williams-Selyem John Dyson Rochioli Vineya

  • Cultivating A Mountain-Top Wine Tribe with Sophie  James Gray

    Cultivating A Mountain-Top Wine Tribe with Sophie & James Gray

    05/03/2019 Duration: 01h04min

    With a dream to buy a ranch in order to reconnect with nature, work with their hands, and raise a family, Sophie & James Gray started searching for the perfect piece of land in Northern California. Wine wasn’t even a forethought. They eventually settled on a little slice of heaven perched atop the volcanic ash rich, Sonoma Mountain with 360 views high above the fog line. Spending a decade fixing up the home, grooming the land, getting married, having two girls, they found an opportunity sticking out of the earth. One that combined their passion for the community together with the yearning to share the magic of their mountain-top home—and Sophie James Wine Co. was born. In this episode we mention… Sophie James Wine Co. Sophie James Instagram Sophie James House Joining the Tribe The Vineyard Scribe Winery Phil Coturri, Viticultralist Eric Neil, Viticultralist Dr. Kristen Lowe, Viticultralist Flowers Winery Adam & Andrew Mariani Viticultralist, Jason Ruppert Scott Schulz, winemaker Follow Sophie James W

  • How To Build An Authentic Personal Brand with Amanda McCrossin

    How To Build An Authentic Personal Brand with Amanda McCrossin

    07/02/2019 Duration: 01h05min

    Having previously worked as a sommelier in New York City, Amanda moved to the west coast in July 2015 where she joined the wine team at PRESS restaurant in St. Helena.  Known as the "sommvivant" to her Instagram followers and YouTube subscribers for being a "Sommelier" with a "Bon Vivant" lifestyle, Amanda documents her life as a somm in the Napa Valley on a daily basis.  By showcasing events like excursions around northern California in her splashy red Mini Cooper convertible, tastings at Napa Valley wineries, rare bottles of vintage Napa Cab at PRESS and daily adventures around the Valley, Amanda has become "an advocate for indulgence and the wine lifestyle." In this episode Amanda and I dig into her story of being a sommelier, how to hone one’s voice and story telling ability, strategies for being a successful sommelier, and define how to be authentic to one’s self when it comes to building a personal brand with a purpose. In this episode we mention… PRESS Restaurant Napa Amanda’s YouTube Channel Amanada’s

  • If It Tastes Perfect, You’ve Missed It with Bob Cabral  Ryan Prichard

    If It Tastes Perfect, You’ve Missed It with Bob Cabral & Ryan Prichard

    29/01/2019 Duration: 02h02min

    Under the guidance of philosophies like, “Great winemaking is doing the right thing when no one is looking,” and “if it tastes perfect, you’ve missed it,” Bob, Ryan, and the Three Sticks team are crafting elegant wines with a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They source fruit from some of the top vineyards in Sonoma County including Gaps Crown, Durell, Walala, One Sky, and various other Price Family Estates. Subsribe at In this episode, Bob, Ryan, and I sat down to taste through a large portion of the Three Sticks lineup. We delve into the details of each wine, the soils, farming, ecology, everything. Mixed in between we chat about Bob & Ryan’s histories in the wine industry, life & work philosophies, and the practical & technical sides of winemaking in Sonoma County. In this episode we mention… Three Sticks The Adobe Tonnellerie Ô Rudolf Steiner, Biodynamics Bronco Wine Company Lutum Wines Russian River Brewery Barndiva Domaine Marcel Deiss Wines we tasted… 2017 Russian River Pi

  • Crafting Elegant Mountain Cabernet with Francoise Peschon  Elizabeth Tangney

    Crafting Elegant Mountain Cabernet with Francoise Peschon & Elizabeth Tangney

    22/01/2019 Duration: 01h02min

    Francoise Peschon is the head winemaker for Cornell Vineyards. She has always had an affinity for estate properties – for those places that are “about the land and the wines, not necessarily the winemaker.” In her thirty-year career, she’s worked at some of the best—including Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Araujo Estate Wines, Viader Vineyards and Vine Hill Ranch—quietly crafting some of Napa Valley’s most acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons of the last three decades. She is quick to credit her mentors, wine industry luminaries like Michel Roland, Warren Winiarski and Tony Soter, whose sensitivity, intellect and sense of aesthetics have clearly inspired her. Early in her winemaking career, Francoise spent a year in Bordeaux working at Chateau Haut Brion. The first job always makes the greatest impression, and It was there that she knew she wanted to work with Bordeaux varieties at an estate property. Two concepts that have resonated with Francoise for more than 30 years. She holds a degree in Enology from the University

  • How to Listen to a Vineyard with Laura Díaz Muñoz

    How to Listen to a Vineyard with Laura Díaz Muñoz

    15/01/2019 Duration: 44min

    Born in Spain, Laura grew up sharing sips of wine with her father while watching the fishing boats during their family vacations in the North of Spain. Her first sip of Albariño solidified her love of wines and her first winemaking internship solidified her future as a winemaker. After completing her post graduate degree in enology at the Polytechnic University of Madrid Laura started her career in La Mancha and worked in different wine regions in Spain. A few years later, Laura left Spain and traveled to New Zealand and Chile learning as much as she could about winemaking and the influence of terroir in different wine regions. Finally, Laura took a job in the Napa Valley. For over a decade Laura has been making wine in the Napa Valley as the Associate Winemaker for Cardinale, Lokoya, Mt Brave, La Jota and Galerie. She joined Ehlers Estate in July of 2018 and is excited to continue the legacy of this special property. Learn more about Laura with the show notes here. In this episode we mention… Ehlers Estate D

  • How to Create Legacy for Past, Present, and Future Generations with Mike  Steve Sangiacomo

    How to Create Legacy for Past, Present, and Future Generations with Mike & Steve Sangiacomo

    04/01/2019 Duration: 01h07min

    With the 2016 harvest, Mike, Steve, and their sister Mia, decided to take the family business to a new level by hiring winemaker James Macphail to bring their vision of estate Pinot Noir & Chardonnay under the Sangiacomo Wines label to life. The goal? Create legacy for past, present, and future generations of Sangiacomos. Fast forward two years, the newly released Sangiacomo Wines are available via allocation through their mailing list, which you can signup on their website, In this episode, Mike, Steve, and I sat down to share the stories of the past, the difficult decisions made to strive toward the future, and taste through the inaugural 2016 vintage. Learn more with the show notes at

  • Sharing The Stories Of West Coast Wines with Chris Wanner

    Sharing The Stories Of West Coast Wines with Chris Wanner

    26/11/2018 Duration: 57min

    Before opening their doors in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco, Chris spent 15 years in wine and spirits sales in the Bay Area, working mostly with wineries in California, Oregon or Washington. He met a number of winemakers and proprietors who shared his passion for wine and for being good stewards of the land. These relationships reinforced Chris’ belief that wines from the West Coast are just as good, if not better, than wines from anywhere else in the world. Back at home in San Francisco, Chris noticed the lack of support for West Coast wineries on many wine lists. Despite the high quality wines produced in the area, most local places were (and still are) pouring imported wines. So, along with wife Lindsey, he decided to do something about it. Four years, and four Wine Spectator 'Award of Excellence' honors later, West Coast Wine • Cheese continues to showcase regional wines by serving up premium experiences in a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere, now in two locations; their original San Franci

  • Tasting Sustainable Farming with Remi Cohen

    Tasting Sustainable Farming with Remi Cohen

    12/11/2018 Duration: 57min

    Remi directs the winemaking process from vineyard to bottle and is responsible for top quality, small-lot winemaking expressive of appellation and vineyard site. In addition, she oversees the sale of all wines through the hospitality experience and the wine club programs direct to consumer, and throughout the domestic and international markets. Learn more about Remi with the show notes here.  

  • How Unconventional Wines Create Connections with West + Wilder

    How Unconventional Wines Create Connections with West + Wilder

    06/11/2018 Duration: 01h15min

    West + Wilder is redefining the look and taste of canned wine and setting a new benchmark for quality within a growing category. Dedicated to sustainability and taste, this small wine company with big world values recently added a Sparkling White and a Sparkling Rosé to their portfolio of West Coast inspired wines. With varied backgrounds in marketing and the wine industry, co-founders Matt and Kenny launched West + Wilder in May 2018 with the vision of making wine more accessible, approachable and fun. An opportunity for them to support causes they value, like protecting our National Parks, and making customers smile, they are excited about what they do and how they can share it. For them, West + Wilder is a celebration of the dreamers, the seekers and the thinkers. It’s for those who appreciate good things in life with care, humor, mindfulness and beauty. They scoured the West Coast to discover and uncover the best of each state's wine regions, from Washington, Oregon, and California. Being labeled non-vint

  • Finding Home In Sonoma Valley with Dan OBrien

    Finding Home In Sonoma Valley with Dan O'Brien

    15/10/2018 Duration: 01h13min

    Dan O'Brien has worked throughout the wine industry, first starting in high-end restaurants in the North East, eventually moving out west to San Francisco to start the Grand Award winning wine program at Cavallo Point. From there he started the Cultivar wine label, was the estate director for Long Meadow Ranch & Larkmead Vineyards, started the Hunt & Harvest wine label, and now is dedicating all of his time and efforts into Gail. Learn more about Dan with the show notes here.

page 2 from 6