1. What’s your Napa love story?
The tranquility of a nighttime harvest and the cohesive element of calling “the pick” – all geared up and ready to toll. “You buy your groceries once a year, it has to be perfect.”
2. What was the first Napa wine that gave you that “ah-ha” moment?
The first Oakville Winegrowers member tasting – amazing the clarity and the power of the flavors. Many excellent fully extracted wines, yet balanced. I’ll never forget the incredible purity.
3. What was your first big winemaking gig in Napa?
Head winemaker at Conn Creek Winery, a Napa Cabernet specialist, at the tender age of 29 years old.
4. What makes Oakville ideal for growing Cabernet?
Its position halfway up the valley – the most narrow from east to west – truly creates a unique microclimate. Dry sunny summer days with exposed Cabernet clusters bodes well for production of colors, flavors and tannins. Soils are well drained and newer plantings adjusted for sunlight intensity have reduced sunburn damage and overexposure.
5. What’s the insider scoop about your Whiskey Barrel Cabernet?
The inaugural vintage was 2019 and I employed the richness of Oakville Cabernet. It was simply a wallop of bold, extracted Cabernet with traditional oak influences from French oak barrels and the added flavors and spicy kick of once-used American whiskey barrels. I took a big chance integrating this whole other level of spice, but it flew off the shelves. I encourage you to close your eyes when tasting this Cabernet – take in the intense aromas of exotic spices, then your first sip. Wowza, what a wine!
6. What lessons has winemaking taught you?
Details, details, details.
7. What drove you to step out on your own as an independent winemaker?
Independence, self reliance, self confidence and wanting to take fruit to bottle – my way.