On The Wine Road Podcast



Hear intimate conversations with winemakers, growers, winery owners, brewers and more from Sonoma, Napa and beyond. You can also join my community at Patreon.com/OnTheWineRoad. Receive special posts, rewards, and additional content.


  • Napa and Sonoma Vintners Organizations Step Up

    20/05/2020 Duration: 36min

    While the Napa and Sonoma Vintners organizations are incredibly supportive to their winery members, and communities, covid-19 has required an even greater response. The Napa Valley Vintners and Sonoma County Vintners are helping to promote the creative and necessary ways wineries are reaching out to the wine loving public. In some cases, they're presenting their own virtual tasting sessions. In this podcast I talk with the President and Executive Director of the Napa Valley Vintners, Linda Reiff, and the Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners, Michael Haney. These interviews were conducted to coincide with my previous post "Wineries Battle the Coronavirus Blues." As  you'll hear, there is no elitist attitude from either of these executives despite the fact they run organizations in two of the world's top wine regions. They're pleasant, down to earth people. Many winemakers, growers, and owners are the same way. As I've said before, that's what I love about the wine industry. Keep listening until the end

  • The Oregon Interviews

    26/04/2020 Duration: 01h00s

    Back in December - before sheltering in place and when corona referred to a type of crown or the glow around the sun - my wife and I spent a week up and down Oregon's Willamette Valley. It was cool, with light rain and occasional heavy fog...and we loved it. Prior to our trip I set up several interviews, with Lynn, the dynamic former owner of Penner-Ash; Bryan and Laura Laing, the fun-loving owners of Hazelfern Cellars; and Luisa, from one of the oldest Oregon family wineries, Ponzi Vineyards. Each guest expressed their love for the region and the wine they craft. As always, their stories are entertaining and distinctly different from one another. Join me as I travel beyond California On The Wine Road.

  • ZAP Part 2: Ramazzotti Wines & Berryessa Gap Vineyards

    07/04/2020 Duration: 47min

    In this second ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) podcast, I feature Ramazzotti Wines & Berryessa Gap Vineyards as I promoted the annual Zinfandel Experience. Joe and Travis Ramazzotti follow in immigrant Guiseppe's footsteps growing zinfandel and other Italian varieties. In 2002, they  decided to start bottling their grapes and others from legendary vineyards in Sonoma County as Ramazzotti Wines. I met up with Joe and Travis at Deavola Pizzaria in Geyserville for the interview. Hey, why not drink wine and eat pizza while we talk? Nicole Salengo, the winemaker at Berryessa Gap Vineyards, fills us in on the grapevine history of Winters, California. It's a warm region but evening winds funneled through the Berryessa Gap cool down the vineyard grapes. She crafts a good variety of wines but zin is one of her favorites.  In this interview you'll find out how this geology loving Vermont gal became a California winemaker. A Wine Uncorked feature is also included.  Stay in, stay healthy and enjoy some wine w

  • The ZAP Interviews - Robert Biale Vineyards

    18/03/2020 Duration: 35min

    Zinfandel Advocates and Producers host ZinEX, aka the Zinfandel Experience, each year in San Francisco. The past few years I've interviewed zinfandel winemakers and growers to help promote the event. This podcast will be the first of two featuring this year's guests. Napa Valley's Robert "Bob" Biale filled the full hour of my radio show, so he'll be the only guest on this podcast. His Italian immigrant family has a rich history in Napa. As you'll hear, early challenges inspired Bob's father to get creative, selling wine clandestinely...without a permit. That audacious move led to their  successful flagship wine. It's one of many colorful tales offered by those in the wine industry. Hit Play to hear this gracious man share his story and his love of zinfandel. 

  • Mount View Hotel & Spa and "Cinema and Song" Event

    05/03/2020 Duration: 17min

    This is a shorter podcast that features the Mount View Hotel and Spa in Calistoga, Napa Valley. It's an historic, beautifully designed art deco hotel that offers many enticing experiences for their guests. This interview aired on my radio show last Saturday and I wanted you to hear it in case you're panning a trip to Napa Valley or Sonoma, in the coming weeks. On April 1st, The Mount View is offering a one of a kind experience that combines wine tasting, a film, dinner, featuring one of the performers in the film, and a night's stay at the hotel. Further details on this one of a kind event are featured later in the interview. If you can't make it that night keep the Mount View in mind for a future stay. 

  • Return to Paradise & Faire La Fête!

    16/02/2020 Duration: 41min

    It was two years and two months after the wine country wildfires when I stopped by to see how Paradise Ridge Winery's rebuild was coming along. I had no idea it was the first day of their soft opening. In October of 2017 their hospitality center and production facility burned to the ground. I've come to know the Byck family fairly well over the years and I'm thrilled to see the return of Paradise. Owner and family member Rene and I sat down in January so he could catch us up on the challenges his family faced the past two years, the new building and some changes they have in mind.  Then I'll talk with Master of Wine Peter Neptune about the rich and centuries long tradition of Mardi Gras. You won't believe how many centuries! You'll also hear about the sparkling wine that was developed in southeastern France that ties into the historical roots of the celebration, Faire La Fête Brut. As you'll hear, sparkling wine was developed in the Limoux region, (no, not Champagne) making Faire La Fête the ideal sparkling f

  • ZO Wines & Napa Valley College Viticulture and Wine Program

    25/01/2020 Duration: 38min

    On this first podcast of 2020 I talk with winery owner and winemaker, David Eckert about ZO Wines, in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. Not only do they have a number of tasting spaces on the property, they also have a lovely 100+ year old Craftsman home that is available for overnight stays. David also answers the question of why they chose an elephant as their mascot. And no, it doesn't mean their wines are big.  You'll also meet esteemed winemaker Daniel Baron, who spent many years at Napa and Sonoma County's Silver Oak and Twomey. He joins Molly Hodgins of the Napa Valley College Viticulture and Winery Technology Program to discuss some of their courses. The college is an excellent option as a path to get started in the wine industry.  Another Wine Uncorked features is also included. Hit Play and I'll meet you On The Wine Road.

  • Ace Premium Cider & Harvest on Spring Mountain Vineyard

    18/12/2019 Duration: 43min

    After a long unplanned delay my latest podcast is finally here. For you hard cider fans, you'll get a kick out of hearing from founder Jeffrey House. The former Brit brought his cider knowledge to the U.S. in the 1970s and opened Ace Premium Craft Cider in 1993. With his sons firmly in place Ace is still a family run business, now in it's second generation. Then you can join me on Spring Mountain Vineyard during harvest with their longtime vineyard manager, Ron Rosenbrand. You'll hear about the unique character of this 845 acre property and how this year's growing season was for their Bordeaux varieties. Buckle up, it's time to venture out On The Wine Road.

  • Top 100 Wineries of 2019

    03/11/2019 Duration: 51min

    Each year I have the great pleasure to taste some of the world's best wines all in one place. If only Wine & Spirit Magazine's Top 100 Event was several days so I could taste them all. The local culinary treats are a welcomed bonus. In this podcast you'll hear interviews with winemakers from California's Central Coast, South Africa, Portugal, Slovenia, Napa Valley, and W&S Magazine's senior editor Joshua Green. The Top 100 wineries gather every October in San Francisco. it's a "must experience" event if you appreciate wine and would like to expand your horizons. Pop open a bottle and join the fun.   

  • Introducing...John Fucking Caldwell

    16/10/2019 Duration: 41min

    Now a guy who calls himself John Fucking Caldwell is likely to be brash...probably be a risk taker, and likely one of a kind. In John's case, yes, he could be described by each of those descriptors, as well as pleasant, inventive, philanthropic, and one who can make the best of a situation. So it may come as no surprise that he's the kind of person who would consider, and accomplish, smuggling grapevines into the U.S. And that's just half of the story. Join us in his kitchen in south Napa Valley as John shares the compelling tale he's told many times...because it's one worth hearing. 

  • The owner at Gamba Vineyards and the Somm at Justin Winery

    28/09/2019 Duration: 36min

    As the harvest season was looming I felt it was a good time to talk with a grape grower. I wanted to get answers to questions I was receiving from people about the weather. We had heavy and late rains well into spring, then occasional heat spikes began happening the past couple of months. Would that affect the grapes and vines? After meeting Gus Gamba recently Gamba Vineyards and Winery seemed like the place to visit. And what a story he has to tell about his old vine zinfandel and Italian heritage. My second interview is with the sommelier at Justin Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles, CA. I sat with Jim Gerakaris a few years ago but it didn't make it onto a podcast. Not much has changed, including Justin's well respected reputation and wine. It's still a worthy interview. Jim is very good at explaining the brand and their philosophy. My Wine Uncorked feature exposes a little known fact about King Tut. Join us On The Wine Road.

  • A Distiller and an Author

    31/08/2019 Duration: 42min

    On this podcast I'll take a detour from the wine road to talk whiskey. It's another adult beverage that has really be exploding in the last decade or two. In the California town of Graton, head distiller Jeff Duckhorn and his team are crafting Redwood Empire Whiskey. They've gone through a transformation with new branding and adding two more whiskey's to their line-up. Then you'll meet author Paula Moulton. This multi-faceted woman gave up city life to become a grape grower, an author, an accomplished chef, a winemaker and all while raising children. She tells you how you can do it too! Maybe not all of it but even some of it would be cool. Strap yourselves in for another ride On The Wine Road.  

  • The Mighty Mondavis and Boutique LaRue Wines

    10/08/2019 Duration: 45min

    CK Mondavi and Family of Napa Valley is currently ranked at #16 in annual case production for US vintners. That's large. LaRue Wines of the Sonoma Coast region produces less than a thousand cases. My guests are Randy Herron of CK Mondavi and Family, and Katy Wilson of LaRue. I thought it would be fascinating to hear the differences between these two brands. Randy crafts more than half a dozen varietals that are priced in the Value category. Katy focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir priced at the Luxury level. Nevertheless, these two share an easy going nature and make wines that are exceptional for their price range. A Wine Uncorked feature is also included in the podcast. A little trivia gift from me to you.

  • Solving Zinfandel's Mystery & Kendall-Jackson's Master

    15/07/2019 Duration: 51min

    As I travel this week I'm reaching into the archives to bring you two compelling interviews. UC Davis Professor Emerita Carole Meredith shares the story of how she, with a little help from others, solved the mystery of Zinfandel's origin. If you enjoy investigative stories you'll get a kick out of the many elements involved in her discovery.  Kendall-Jackson's Winemaster Randy Ullom may not be a well-known name but it's very likely you've tasted his creations, including the Chardonnay that has been the top seller in the U.S. for over 25 years straight. Who would have thought a ski trip to Chile would lead to nearly 3 decades of winemaking with one of the world's most successful brands.  Another Wine Uncorked is also included. Let's hit the road!

  • Cappuccino with Vittorio & The Girl and the Fig

    29/06/2019 Duration: 37min

    This podcast offers something a little different. Yes, I do talk about wine - Italian and French varietals, but tasty cuisine as well. The settings for VJB Cellars and The Girl and the Fig Restaurant are entirely different, yet each offer extraordinary experiences. My guests are Italian immigrant Vittorio Belmonte and Sonoma chef & restaurant owner Sondra Bernstein. Their wine and culinary businesses are successful but both started from humble beginnings. Needless to say, that provides a compelling story. 

  • Prager Winery and Port Works

    07/06/2019 Duration: 29min

    I was slow to develop a taste for Port and dessert wines but for the last ten years it's been my desire to have at least one bottle on the shelf and/or in the refrigerator. It also took a while for me to hear about Napa Valley's own Port house, Prager Winery and Port Works. They hit two milestones this year; their 40th anniversary and Sweepstakes & Best of Class awards from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Tasting - the largest competition of American Wines in the world. It was their 10-year-old Tawny that grabbed the prize. Winemaker Peter Prager shares the story of following their father's dream to own a winery as he takes me through each of his Ports and dry Petite Sirah. What a way to start the day! Their rustic winery is a throwback to a simpler time in the valley and truly a unique experience. Join us at the tasting bar.  

  • Artesa Estate Vineyards and Winery

    24/05/2019 Duration: 36min

    It's not intentional that I'm uploading this podcast just a week or so after the movie Wine Country was released. Artesa Estate Vineyard and Winery is one of the featured wineries. As it turns out their winemaker, Ana Diogo-Draper, was on my radio show in April which places her next in line for my podcast. You'll hear Artesa is influenced by Spain, Napa Valley and Portugal. You can taste those influences in the many wines Ana crafts. Varieties include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Alberino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and a sparkling. Join us in the tasting room to learn about Artesa, the rich history, and their delightful winemaker.

  • The Story of Jordan Vineyard and Winery

    10/05/2019 Duration: 48min

    Jordan is an ivy covered Icon. It's one of Sonoma County's most stunning wineries fashioned after a French Chateau. It stands boldly yet gracefully among the sweeping lawn, beautifully manicured trees, and recently planted cabernet sauvignon estate vineyard. Needless to say, it was a pleasure to spend a couple of hours there interviewing CEO & family member John Jordan and winemaker Rob Davis. He and I chatted for 90 minutes, way more than I could squeeze into my one hour radio show. Fortunately, a majority of the outtakes can be heard in this podcast. As you listen you'll understand the reasoning behind Wine Enthusiast Magazine choosing Jordan as American Winery of the Year in 2014. Since they produced their first vintage in 1976 their wine has lived up to the elegance of the chateau.

  • Slow Wine for Earth Day

    22/04/2019 Duration: 39min

    It's another day on our incredible, beautiful and struggling planet. This podcast focuses on the positive impacts people are making as I present Part Two of my Earth Day celebration. Much like the Slow Food Movement, Italy's Slow Wine crusade promotes sustainable practices within the winemaking industry. The Slow Wine Guide features those who operate within those parameters. The 2019 edition contains 370 wineries from Italy, 121 from California, and new this year, 50 Oregon wineries. I chose two from Northern California who have been selected by Slow Wine; Larkmead Family Estate in Calistoga, Napa Valley, and Littorai Wines of Sebastopol, Sonoma County. They're both highly respected in the industry. You'll be impressed with the efforts they put forth to create their exceptional wine. Cheers to that! Happy Earth Day. 

  • Down To Earth Month, Celebrating Earth Day

    13/04/2019 Duration: 24min

    On this podcast we celebrate the Earth, and those who are doing their part it keeping it as livable as possible. Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd and the Wine Institute is presenting their 8th Annual Down To Earth Month. They're promoting celebrations throughout the month, across California. You can find more details on my Events page Down To Earth Month Celebrations. You might also want to visit Discover California Wines. In this podcast you'll hear my interview with Allison Jordan, the Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute. I have a brief conversation about sustainable winemaking and vineyard practices with Ana Diogo-Draper, Director of Winemaking at Artesa Vineyards and Winery. Then I talk with C.O.O. and winemaker John Olney of Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs about their April 20th event celebrating organic farming. We'll also chat about the rich history of Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello as well. I mean, it's icon

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