PinotFile: 9.25 June 2, 2013
- Pinot Noir Doctors
- California Pinot Noir Doctors
- Oregon Pinot Noir Doctors
- Pinot Briefs
Pinot Noir Doctors
“Inside each of us there’s another man or woman dying to get out.
That other person is your alter ego, who begs you to cast aside
your tedious, day-to-day routine and thrust yourself into the life
you’ve always dreamed of living.”
Fred W. Frailey, Editor, Kiplinger’s
Although he was the most famous “Wine Doctor” and often called America’s greatest winemaker, Andre
Tchelistcheff was not a licensed medical practitioner. There is, however, an extensive list of medical doctors
who are winery owners, winegrowers or winemakers. In addition, there are many doctors who have combined
their medical background and enjoyment of wine to become advocates of wine as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Many Pinot Noir winemakers started out in a career path to become medical doctors. Examples abound, such
as Dan Goldfield (Dutton-Goldfield), Natalie West (Foppiano Vineyards), Eric Hamacher (Hamacher
Wines), Louisa Ponzi (Ponzi Vineyards), Melissa Burr (Stoller Family Estate), Rod Berglund (Joseph Swan Vineyards), and Cécile Lemerie-Dèrbes (Derbès Wines)
According to Wine into Word (James Gabler), the first book about wine was published by Arnaldus of Villanova,
who was a physician, surgeon, botanist, alchemist, philosopher, writer, astrologer, lay theologian and counselor
to kins and popes. About 1310, Arnald wrote a book on wine, but because the printing press had not yet been
invented, his book was initially handwritten. In 1478, his book was translated into German and printed, making
it the first book on wine to use this new invention. The first complete book in English on wine was by William
Turner (1568), and the first (Sir Edward Berry), the second (Robert Shannon), and third (Alexander Henderson)
books in English that discuss modern wines were written by physicians.
The tradition of doctors entering the wine business first began with the Australians. A procession of British
ships transported convicts from Northern Europe to Australian penal colonies from the late 1700s to mid 1800s.
One of those convicts was my great grandfather from Ireland, but that’s another story. The turning point in the
medical treatment of convicts during transportation came in 1814, with the voyage of the Surrey. The Surrey
had on board 200 male convicts, marine guards and crew. The convict’s cells below deck were poorly
ventilated and not properly cleaned or fumigated. By the time the Surrey reached the East coast of Australia,
the death toll from typhus was 51. Governor Macquarie ordered an inquiry into the high death toll during the
voyage of the Surrey.
Macquarie appointed Dr. William Redfern, Sydney’s leading doctor, also an ex-convict, to investigate. Redfern
later established a vineyard in southwestern Sydney in 1818, becoming Australia’s first wine doctor. His
investigations and recommendations were to have a significant influence on Australia’s wine industry. He found
that the captain had withheld rations from the convicts, including their wine rations. As a result, the convicts
became weak and susceptible to disease. Redfern’s recommendations included a quarter pint of wine, with
added lime juice, be given to each convict every day to prevent malnutrition and scurvy. He also recommended
that each transport ship have a qualified doctor on board. As a result, Australia found itself host to many naval
surgeons doing convict transport.
After spending six months in a leaky oak cask in the bilge of a transport ship, the wine on board was frequently
oxidized and contaminated with sea water. As a result, many doctors that had retired to Australia established
vineyards to avoid problems associated with transporting wine to Australia as well as to provide wine as a
medicine for their patients.
Australia is now unique among wine producing countries in that 60% of the fruit from any vintage is processed
by wine companies established by Australia’s over 160 wine doctors. Australia’s three largest wine companies,
Lindemans, Penfolds and Hardys, for example, were all founded by doctors as were other famous Australian
labels such as Angoves, Stanley and Houghton. One modern Sydney physician and wine historian, Dr. Phillip
Norrie, founded The Wine Doctor Label, and produces wines with enhanced resveratrol content. The
Australians should consider replacing the medical profession’s traditional symbol of a snake caduceus with a
glass of wine and a convict’s leg iron.
I have often contemplated the reasons for the strong connection between medical doctors and wine, and I find
there are considerable parallels for such an association. A physician is typically intelligent, inquisitive,
dedicated, prestige-driven, and goal oriented, all of which are qualities that lend themselves to success in
winegrowing, winemaking and the wine business. The complexity of wine, like the complexity of the human
body is fascinating to medical practitioners. Physicians learn the life sciences and biochemistry in training that
are the backbone of winegrowing and winemaking and make the transition to vinifying wine a natural step, and the
many principles employed in the treatment of human disease can be applied to treating grapevine disease.
Medicine is constantly changing requiring doctors to keep up with new developments, much like the fields of
viticulture and winemaking. Medical doctors often have the spendable income that allows them to indulge their
interests as well. Since doctors spend so much time indoors in their office and hospital, the chance to work
outdoors offers a peaceful way to balance out their day to day activities. In addition, grapevines, unlike
patients, don’t complain.
Both medicine and winemaking are fields that uniquely combine art and science. Some have said that
winemaking, and even practicing medicine is more a craft than an art, but I believe there is some artistic
component to the winemaking process and most definitely some truth to the proverbial “art of practicing
medicine.” The best doctors and winemakers know when to wait and when to do nothing. They both realize that
a long night spent at a crucial time can potentially avoid an undesirable result.
This quote from Keith Marton, M.D. in the Stanford alumni magazine, Bench & Bedside, about why people in
medicine are drawn to wine is well put. ”It’s the right confluence of art and science that doctors appreciate. If
you look around and see how doctors lead their lives, you will find what I would call an aesthetically prone
group of people who also are scientists at heart. Not only are doctors often interested in wine, they’re also
interested in music and art. Many of the doctors I know have a strong aesthetic sense that wine really
Most doctors find that they learned about wine without formal training, using the advice of winegrowers and
winemakers, reading books, and taking courses from colleges and college extension programs.
I asked a number of “Pinot Noir Doctors” to share their story of how they became interested in wine, what
drove them to enter the wine business, and why they thought physicians were drawn to wine. My research
uncovered a surprisingly large number of “Pinot Noir Doctors” in California and Oregon, many of whom
contributed their stories in the pages to follow. The “Pinot Noir Doctors” were overwhelmingly male. Although it
has been reported that second career vintners will fail 60% of the time and won’t see profit for at least seven
and more likely ten years, none of the wineries profiled here have failed because of financial reasons. Curiously, a majority of the doctors
prefer to stay out of the limelight and are quite humble about their accomplishments. Thirty-seven “Pinot Noir
Doctors” are profiled here, but if you know of others worth mention, please let me know their details.
I did not include medical doctors who were winery owners, vineyard owners or winemakers whose major focus
is varietals other than Pinot Noir, but some of their names bear mention:
Ernest A. Bates, M.D., Black Coyote
Clay Cockerell, M.D., Coquerel
George Lee, M.D., Old Chatam Ranch
Jan Krupp, M.D., Krupp Vineyard, Krupp Brothers Vineyard, Stagecoach Vineyard
Larry Staton, M.D., Cerro Prieto Vineyard & Cellars
Elwood Greist, Shadow Hills Vineyard
Lee Titus, M.D., Lee F. Titus and Sons
Alfred de Lorimier, M.D., de Lorimier Winery
Brunno Ristow, M.D. Ristow Estate
Less Chafen, M.D. and Jennifer Chafen, Dutch Henry Winery
Kosta M. Arger, M.D., Arger-Martucci Vineyards
Marc Cohen, M.D., Howell at the Moon Winery
Larry Turley, M.D., Frog’s Leap and Turley Wine Cellars
In Oregon: H. Earl Jones, M.D., Abacela Vineyards & Winery
Elsewhere in the United States:
Bryan Staffin, M.D., Fox Hollow Vineyards, Lake Michigan Shore, Buchanan, Michigan
Joseph Gunselman, M.D., Robert Karl Cellars, Columbia Valley, Washington
Charles Thomas, M.D., Chateau Thomas Winery, Madison, Indiana
Jim Vascik, M.D., Valhalla Vineyards, Roanoke, Virginia
Laura Catena, M.D., is a fourth generation Argentine vintner who graduated from Harvard University in 1988
and received her Medical Doctor degree from Stanford University. She is currently general director of Bodega
Catena Zapata and her own Luca Winery in Mendoza, Argentina, as well as a practicing Emergency Medicine
physician at University of California San Francisco Medical Center in California. She is the “face” of Argentine
wine for her active role in promoting the Mendoza wine region.
Max Heger, M.D., a country doctor in Ihringen, Germany, with patients throughout the Kaiserstuhl area, was
also a former bee keeper and pigeon breeder who entered the wine business in 1935 by accumulating portions
of Voederer Winklerberg, today the 18 acres of Ihringer Winklerberg, the foundation of the Dr. Heger Estate. In
1949, his son Wolfgang began to build a reputation for the estate. For their accomplishments both Dr. Heger
and Wolfgang Heger received the distinguished service cross from the German government.
Julio Palmaz, M.D. invented the Palmaz Coronary Stent, the heart stent that was eventually licensed to
Johnson & Johnson. While completing his residency at University of California at Davis, his passion for wine
began. Along with his spouse, Amalia, and family, he moved from his native Argentina to the San Francisco
Bay area and became enchanted with the Napa Valley. He established Palmaz Vineyards in the Napa Valley in
1997, on the site of Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery that had been founded in 1881 by Henry Hagen, one of
Napa Valley’s pioneer winemakers. With his interest in mechanics and engineering, he played an integral role
in designing Palmaz Vineyards’ gravity flow winery.
Philip Norrie, M.D. is a winemaker and general practice doctor in Australia who has written eight books on wine
and health. He continues the long Australian tradition of winemaking doctors. His winery, Pendarves Estate, is
located in the lower Hunter Valley. With 30 acres of vines, the estate produces a range of varietal wines.
Justin Peter Ardill, M.D., an interventional cardiologist, is the joint founder with wife Julie, and winemaker for Reilly's Wines in Clare Valley, South Australia. Reilly Wines produces 7,000 cases of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache blend and Riesling from estate vineyards dating back to 1919. The wines have received numerous awards both domestically and internationally.
California Pinot Noir Doctors
“I tend to judge doctor winemakers by the color of their hands in October”
F. Wells Shoemaker, M.D.
David Bruce, M.D.: David Bruce Winery
Medical School: Stanford University School of Medicine
Residency: University of Oregon Medical School Hospital 1960
Board Certification: Dermatology
Dr. Bruce is an iconic winemaker whose combination of scientific curiosity and passion led him to become one
of the first to produce credible Pinot Noir in California. Although he is now 83 years old and no longer involved
to a significant degree in the winery, his legacy is firmly established. I last saw him at both the 2009 World of
Pinot Noir and the 2009 Pinot Noir Summit where he was said to be organizing his memoirs for inclusion in a
book about his extraordinary career. Mark Greenspan (Wine Business Monthly June 2011), who worked with
Bruce’s vineyards since 2006, found him still active, serving as executive winemaker, and holding weekly
tastings with his staff. Greenspan said, “David Bruce did Pinot before Pinot was cool.”
Born in San Francisco, he was said to have his wine epiphany while attending medical school when he bought
a bottle of 1954 Richebourg that cost him a large sum for the time - $7.50. He became inspired by the book
Wines of France by Alexis Lichine, and intrigued with the Pinot Noirs made in the Santa Cruz Mountains by
Martin Ray. John Haeger (North American Pinot Noir 2004) notes that Bruce considered Ray’s Pinot Noirs
better than those of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. While in Oregon for his residency, he was said to have
made wine, and considered staying there to establish a winery. This was about the time Richard Sommer
traveled to the Umpqua Valley from California and planted the first post-Prohibition Vitis vinifera including Pinot
Noir in Oregon in 1961.
The lure of the Santa Cruz Mountains won out. He bought 40 acres there in 1961, coinciding with the start of
his dermatology practice in Los Gatos. He cleared the land and planted 25 acres of vines by hand including
Pinot Noir in 1962. A winery was built on the site, which was bonded in 1964.
The first commercial release of David Bruce Winery Pinot Noir came in 1966. Dr. Bruce bought another
vineyard in the Vine Hill subregion of the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1968 that was formerly owned by the
Pesenti-Locatelli family. He pulled out the Zinfandel planted there and replanted the vineyard to the Wente
clone of Pinot Noir on its own roots. Ken Burnap, a restaurateur from Southern California was impressed with
the Pinot Noir produced from Bruce’s vineyard, and bought Bruce’s 26-acre vineyard in 1974, renaming it
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard.
Dr. Bruce was an innovator who traveled frequently to Burgundy and became one of the first California
winemakers to use whole berry fermentation and whole clusters for Pinot Noir, and to advocate foot crushing of
the cap, the use of rotary presses, extensive skin contact, and small barrel French oak fermentation. Bruce’s
early Pinot Noir wines were uneven and he was to say, “Pinot Noir is the Dune of winemaking,” referencing the
science fiction novel. He had well-chronicled challenging problems with cork taint ( his cork disaster in 1987
cost him $2 million in lost business according to George Tabor writing in To Cork or Not to Cork) and
Brettanomyces, but his Pinot Noir wines eventually achieved widespread acclaim by the 1980s. By then, he
easily sold out the 30,000 cases of wine he produced. He was one of the first California winemakers to
produce a Blanc de Noir, a white Zinfandel, and late harvest wines, and became known for Petite Sirah as well.
Early on, he was most known for Chardonnay, and his 1973 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay was one of
twelve California entries to participate in the famous 1976 “Judgment of Paris.”
One of Dr. Bruce’s legacies will be the “David Bruce Clone” of Pinot Noir that was discussed previously in detail
in the PinotFile: www.princeofpinot.com/article/1223/. Cuttings from David Bruce’s vineyards have been
distributed throughout California.
For 25 years, Dr. Bruce practiced dermatology while making wine at night and on the weekends, eventually
deciding to devote himself completely to winemaking in 1985. Because of his medical background, Dr. Bruce
was also one of the first to extoll the health virtues of drinking wine years before the 1991 appearance of the 60
Minutes television program on the French Paradox. He published a booklet titled, Ten Little Known Medical
Facts About Wine That You Should Know.” He was one of the first doctors to publicize that resveratrol in red
wine increases good cholesterol and reduces bad cholesterol. He recommended that hospitals have wine on
the patient menus, and encouraged a glass of wine for the elderly to improve their appetite and raise their self esteem.
He also defused the hysteria about sulfite allergies to wine and elevated lead levels in wine.
Today, the 16-acre Estate Vineyard, located at 2,200 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains, has 9 acres planted to
Pinot Noir and the rest to Chardonnay in addition to a recently planted block of Riesling. The original plantings
were destroyed by Pierce’s disease by 1992, and the Estate Pinot Noir program was resumed in 1996 when
new plantings reached maturity. The new plantings came from budwood from the nearby Noble Hill Vineyard
that had been planted in the 1980s with cuttings from the original Estate Vineyard plus several other clones.
The winery sources grapes from over thirty growers throughout California representing ten different
appellations. The Estate Pinot Noir is the signature wine in the David Bruce lineup, but of the 60,000+ case
annual production, most of the Pinot Noir over the last decade has been pretty ordinary appellation-designated
Pinot Noir. Some limited production vineyard-designated wines are offered in the tasting room on Bear Creek
Road which is open daily. The website at www.davidbrucewinery.com is woefully outdated with the Pinot Noir
releases listed from the 2000 vintage.
For more historical information on David Bruce, consult The David Bruce Winery: Experimentation, Dedication
and Success, from the Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley at
www.archive.org/details/davidbrucewinery00brucrich. Some of the information I have included here should be
credited to this source. A reliable history of the winery is also detailed in John Haeger’s North American Pinot
2009 David Bruce Appellation Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $40.
color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, black currants, cola and bark. Very ripe and sweet flavors
of dark fruits with a hint of cola. Dense and plush with balanced tannins and acidity, leaving a touch of heat
behind on the finish. Decent.
2010 David Bruce Appellation Series Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $40.
Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. Raisin-toned fruit aromas with notes of dark chocolate and oak. Very ripe black
cherry and black raspberry flavor with svelte tannins and a good cut of acidity on the finish. A mainstream
Pinot that became less attractive over time in the glass. Decent.
2002 David Bruce Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $55.
Estate vineyard. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately dark reddish-purple with
slight bricking of the rim in the glass. Lovely bouquet of an aged wine including
old book, vitamin, tobacco and old wood. Satisfying flavors of black cherries and
sassafras backed by firm, grainy tannins. The fruit is still alive and vivid. Drink
up. Very good.
2007 David Bruce Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $55. Estate vineyard. Unfined and
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherries, berries and oak.
Mid weight red fruit core with good intensity. Soft in the mouth and firmly structured with muscular dry tannins,
finishing powerfully but with a little heat. The tannins tend to overpower the fruit. Good.
John Compagno, M.D., MBA: Árdiri Winery & Vineyards
Medical School: St. Louis University School of Medicine 1971
Residency: Washington University St. Louis
Board Certification: Separately boarded in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology and Hemato-pathology
Advanced Training: Associate at Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and trained in Laboratory Medicine as a
Naval officer at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Oakland, California. He received his MBA from
the University of San Francisco in 1997.
Dr. Compagno is the owner and Medical Director of West Coast Pathological Laboratories in Hercules,
California, a company first established in 1985. He has been practicing medicine since 1971 and pathology
since 1974, and has authored several peer reviewed publications on pathology.
While living in Napa, Dr. Campagno wanted some insight into the wine industry and began taking evening
classes on viticulture and enology at Napa Valley College while working his day job as a pathologist. While
taking classes, he contacted a young realtor to assist him in finding property. The realtor suggested he take at
look at the 5-acre Carneros Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir belonging to Gary Andrus who owned Gypsy Dancer
Estates at the time. He considered the vineyard workable if he did the farming and bought it in 2006. One of
the conditions of sale was that Gary Andrus would take him on as an apprentice for three years but it was a
tumultuous time for Andrus and the apprenticeship never developed. Gary Andrus passed away in 2008.
The vineyard had been neglected and served as a challenge. The realtor’s young husband was a vineyard
manager at Saintsbury Vineyard, about 100 yards from the property, and he offered to be his vineyard
consultant. He ended up being a great resource. To this day, Dr. Compagno is involved in the vineyards
directly and hands on from harvest to barreling when possible. He farms the Carneros vineyard, usually on
weekends, with occasional help from a crew from Pine Ridge Winery, another former property owned by Gary
Andrus. An employee and contracted crew take care of the vineyard in the Willamette Valley.
Dr. Compagno is also the winemaker and Gail, his business partner, helps with winemaking and blending
decisions. Once Gary Andrus and others gave him the principles of winemaking, it has been a matter of “on
the job” production and learning.
Dr. Compagno also bought Gypsy Dancer Estates in the Chehalem Mountains from Gary and Christine Andrus
in 2008 and renamed it Árdiri Winery & Vineyards. Árdiri means “taking a risk” in Sicilian. The property
consists of 13.5 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. A tasting room was added to the property that
is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Wednesday and Thursday by appointment.
Dr. Compagno produces Pinot Noir from both Carneros and Oregon, as well as a blend of grapes from the two
regions labeled “Due Stati.” The website is www.ardiriwine.com.
When asked why physicians are attracted to the wine business, he told me the following. “I suspect that there
is a certain aura about wine, the history, the international character, the global business, as well as the
perception that it is an easy entry with an inherent charm. A touch of arrogance doesn’t hurt. In my case, I
have a background in chemistry and microbiology, perfect for understanding the procedures and principles.
Many of my associates over the years have assumed that it is just a hobby with me. However, it is not. It is
both an avocation and a business, and I receive great satisfaction when someone enjoys my wines so there is
creativity at work here as well.”
2011 Árdiri Pink Tractor Willamette Valley Rosé
12.7% alc., 75 cases, $N/A. Estate grown. 50% whole
cluster, fermented at cool temperatures.
Delicate pink-orange color in the glass. Very nice aromas of
tangerine and golden apple. Bright and crisp, with flavors of strawberries, blood oranges and tangerines. Very
easy to cozy up to and about as pleasurable as rosé gets. Very good.
2009 Árdiri Vineyard Select Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
15.5% alc., $29.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Not particular expressive nose with delicate aromas of very ripe black fruits
and oak. Unusual heft and ripeness for Oregon although 2009 was a warm vintage. Flavors of black plum
reduction sauce, blackberry jam and black tea with muscular tannins in the background. Too ripe for my taste.
2009 Árdiri California Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., 640 cases, $29.
Sourced from the estate Carneros vineyard and includes clones 828,
777, 667, 115 and heirloom selections. Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. Fragrant with
Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of dark cherries,
strawberries and sandalwood. Very enjoyable with refreshing flavors
of dark red cherries and berries brown baking spices, supported by
modest fine-grain tannins. Very smooth and easy to like. Very good.
2009 Árdiri Due Stati Oregon/California Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $N/A. “Two states.” Produced from seven
clones, aged 18 months in French oak and barrel selected.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy
aromas of slightly roasted black fruits, brewed tea and oak. Flavors of dark berries and plum that veer to the
ripe side with a hint of carmelized oak. Good mid palate intensity and follow through on the finish with
balanced tannins. Chehalem Mountains fruit dominates the flavor and stylistic profile. Good.
Frank Cutruzzola, M.D.: Cutruzzola Vineyards
Medical School: Yale University Medical School 1988
Board Certification: Diagnostic Radiology
Dr. Cutruzzola (“koo-troot-ZOL-a”) is a practicing radiologist in Santa Rosa, California, at Sutter Medical Center
and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. He became interested in wine in medical school and still fondly recalls a
bottle of Vosne-Romanée he enjoyed on his shoestring budget at the time. He noted, “It took half the bottle to
realize how great the wine was, and the second half was gone before I knew it.” Unfortunately, he has no idea
of the producer or vintage, but that bottle left him with a thirst for Pinot Noir.
Several years later, he moved to California with a notion to buy land and grow Pinot Noir. In 2000, he found a
suitable property for sale seven miles east of the town of Cambria on California’s Central Coast that he
considered an ideal cool climate site for Pinot Noir. He planted the first five acres of Pinot Noir there in 2001.
Unfortunately, he unexpectedly ran out of water, and four of the five acres died. He replanted the Pinot Noir in
2006 and 2007 (clones 667, 828, 115, 23 and Pommard 5), adding two acres of Riesling, with the assistance of
vineyard manager Bill Kesselring.
Kesselring advised him to drop all the fruit in 2007 and let the vines strengthen. Cutruzzola took a small crop
in 2008 consisting of 5 tons of Pinot Noir and 1 ton of Riesling, and made the wines at home. 2009 yielded
enough quality grapes to launch the Cutruzzola Vineyards label. Kesselring introduced Cutruzzola to Steve
Dooley of Stephen Ross Winery who assisted him in making the wines.
Cutruzzola believes many physicians are drawn to the wine business because “medicine, viticulture and
winemaking are all complex subjects with numerous variables, and these fields attract curious people who love
Cutruzzola Vineyards offers both a Riesling (Riven Rock Vineyard) and Pinot Noir (Gloria) that are sold through
a mailing list and the winery’s website store at www.cutruzzolavineyards.com.
2010 Cutruzzola Vineyards Gloria San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $34 (by the
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Strutting aromas of red cherries, fruit
leather, sandalwood and rose petals. Delicious flavors of boysenberry and black cherry cola
complimented by cardamom spice. The cherry really sings in this wine on the relatively long finish.
Nicely balanced and ready for prime time now. Very good.
Thomas Fogarty, M.D.: Thomas Fogarty Vineyards
Undergraduate: Xavier University, Biology 1956
Medical School: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine 1960
Residency: University of Oregon Medical School 1965
Board Certification: Thoracic Surgery
Dr. Fogarty was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, into a poor, Iris Catholic family. He was naturally inquisitive as a
youngster and was good at building and repairing things. His original career choice was to be a boxer, but his
early work experience which began as a fourteen-year-old at Good Samaritan Hostpital was to spark his
interest in becoming a doctor. His boxing career was put aside when he broke his nose in a match at the age
of seventeen at a time he had become increasingly inspired by his work as a surgical scrub technician.
Dr. Fogarty was fortunate to have a mentor in Dr. Jack Cranley, one of the most prominent vascular surgeons
in the United States. He had assisted Dr. Cranley at Good Samaritan Hospital and Dr. Cranley encouraged
him to go to college. Dr. Cranley was also to provide financial assistance for Fogarty to attend college.
While at Good Samaritan Hospital, Dr. Fogarty observed that many patients died from complications of blood
clot surgeries. The arteries had to be surgically opened to remove the clots, a lengthy and risky procedure that
resulted in fifty percent of the patients dying from complications. He devised a catheter that could remove clots
with minimal intervention in 1961 while an intern at the University of Oregon Medical School in Portland,
Oregon. For years he could not find a company to manufacture the device so he began making the embolic
catheter system himself and published a scientific article on it in 1963 while serving his surgical residency in
Portland. In 1969, Dr. Fogarty patented the device and Edwards Life Sciences in Irvine, California, began
manufacturing the Fogarty balloon embolectomy catheter. Today, it is the still the standard for blood clot
Dr. Fogarty has more than 100 other surgical patents. He left Stanford Medical School after fourteen years as
a professor and practicing cardiovascular surgeon, and in 2007 founded the Thomas Fogarty Institute for
Innovation on the campus of El Camino Hospital. The educational, non-profit organization mentors medical
He has been the founder or co-founder and chairman of the board of more than 33 business and research
companies based on devices designed and developed by Fogarty Engineering Inc. located near Stanford
University in Portola Valley. In 2001, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Dr. Fogarty was training in Oregon when he discovered the pleasures of a wine and in particular, a dry
Gewürztraminer. In 1969, when he began teaching cardiovascular surgery at Stanford University Medical
Center, he was introduced to the wine industry while helping out a colleague with his small vineyard and
winery. He soon began making wine at the facility himself. With the profit gained from the sales of his
embolectomy catheter, in the early 1970s he bought 325 acres of land at 2,000 feet elevation on Skyline Drive
in the Santa Cruz Mountains town of Woodside. His initial 3-acre plantings in 1978 were the first in the region’s
Dr. Fogarty met winemaker Michael Martella in 1980 when Martella was working at a large winemaking facility
in the Central Valley of California. The two quickly became friends, Martella was hired, and he has been the
winemaker ever since the first wines were released from the 1981 vintage. Martella assisted Dr. Fogarty in
planning a winery and developing estate vineyards. Two vineyards were planted in 1981 with heritage selection
cuttings from David Bruce and Martini. The higher 2-acre vineyard at 2,000 feet was named Langley Hill, while
the larger, less elevated vineyard of four acres became Rapley Trail. The first vintage from the estate
vineyards was in 1986.
The estate vineyards now total 40 acres, 10 of which are planted to Pinot Noir (Windy Hill which was pulled out
and replanted after the 2011 vintage, Razorback and Rapley Trail, and Langley Hill which is now all
Chardonnay, and Chardonnay vineyards that include Damiana, Portola Springs and Albutom). All estate
vineyards are low yielding (1 to 3 tons per acre).
The Thomas Fogarty Pinot Noirs are now among the finest produced from the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA and
include a Santa Cruz Mountains bottling (from estate and sourced fruit), and vineyard designates from Windy
Hill and Rapley Trail vineyards, and in some vintages, two block designates from Rapley Trail, “B” Block and
“M’ Block. Dijon clones sourced from other Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards have been blended into the estate
Since 2004, University of California at Fresno graduate Nathan Kindler has shared the winemaking duties,
brought a new prospective to the wines, and has become the winemaking and marketing face of the winery.
The Pinot Noirs, which originally were full-bodied, intensely flavored and highly tannic, are now produced with
less extraction, more restrained tannins and better balance. All Pinot Noirs are fermented in small lots with
25% to 50% whole cluster and ambient yeast fermentations. The wines are aged in 3-year air-dried, tight-grain
French oak barrels.
The Thomas Fogarty Winery tasting room is open Monday 11:00 to 4:00 and Wednesday through Sunday from
11:00 to 5:30. The setting has breathtaking views of the entire Silicon Valley below. The site is popular for
weddings and corporate events and a separate facility has been set aside for these activities. The wines are
sold on the website at www.fogartywinery.com. Among the several varietals offered, a Gewürztraminer, the
wine that sparked Dr. Fogarty’s interest in wine, is offered made from grapes grown in Monterey County.
2007 Thomas Fogarty Rapley Trail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 125 cases, $48.
Moderate reddish-purple color in
the glass. Great nose! Vibrant aromas of dark cherries, dark red berries
and spice. Delicious core of black cherry, black currant, cola and anise
flavors with an earthy and mineral-driven iron bent. Admirable balance
and easy drinkability with considerable length on the fruit-packed finish.
2007 Thomas Fogarty Rapley Trail Vineyard Block B Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
alc., <50 cases, $68.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose unfolds beautifully
over time in the glass to reveal aromas of chocolate cherry cake, leather hide, and cardamom spice.
Vibrant flavors of dark cherries and dark red berries with complimentary hints of black licorice and
Harissa. There is definitely a minerality component to this wine as it tastes of the soil. Good richness
and well balanced supporting tannins. A complete wine of uncommon breeding.
2010 Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.8, TA 0.57, 1,514
cases, $35. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple color in the
glass. Brightly perfumed with aromas of cherries, spice, briar and tea. Tasty array of redder fruit
flavors including ripe strawberry, black cherry and raspberry with a hint of curry spice. Refreshing
with lively acidity and complimentary oak with mild dry tannins and a soft texture. A solid drinker.
2010 Thomas Fogarty Rapley Trail Estate Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
pH 3.80, TA 0.61, 261 cases, $55. No block bottlings in 2010 so all the best fruit from the “B” and “M”
block are included. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak and bottled unfiltered.
color in the glass. Great nose! Vibrant aromas of dark cherries, dark red berries and spice.
Delicious core of black cherry, black currant, cola and anise flavors with an earthy and mineral-driven
iron bent. Admirable balance and easy drinkability with considerable length on the fruit-packed finish.
2010 Thomas Fogarty Windy Hills Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $N/A
( sold out).A hilltop vineyard in the skyline sub-region at 2,000 feet that is cool and rocky. Soils are
fractured sandstone. A challenging site for ripeness. Yields less than 1 ton per acre. Last bottling from
original plantings which are Martini and Bruce selections. New plantings have closer spacing with a
different orientation to reduce exposure to the brutal winds. 100% whole cluster, ambient yeast
fermentation, aged in once-used French oak barrels. No sulfur added after malolactic fermentation. 50
Aromas of fresh purple grapes, cherries, sandalwood, spice and petrichor. Vibrant on the
palate with dark berry, spice and grape flavors, clothed in fine-grain tannins with well-integrated acidity. Built
for the long haul. Exceptional.
Edward Gomez, M.D. and Ellen Mack, M.D.: Russian Hill Estate Winery
Edward Gomez, M.D.
Undergraduate: Johns Hopkins University 1960
Medical School: University of Miami 1965
Board Certification: American Board of Dermatology
Advanced Training: Ph.D. University of Miami 1971
Ellen Mack, M.D.
Undergraduate: University of California at Irvine
Medical School: University of California at Davis School of Medicine 1986
Board Certification: American Board of Neurology
Advanced Training: Neurology at Cornell Medical Center and Neuro-Oncology at University of California San
Dr. Gomez retired in 1991 from a distinguished career in academic medicine, seeking to combine his
experience in the fields of engineering, electronics, business and government with his love of wine. He was the
Chair in the Department of Dermatology and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Professor Emeritus at
University of California Davis School of Medicine. He enjoys the mechanical aspects of a winery, and is
frequently involved in installing plumbing, rewiring, reassembling, fixing something, or just tinkering. Much of
the Russian Hill Estate winery was designed by Dr. Gomez.
Mack was formerly a neurologist and neuro-oncologist with the University of California at San Francisco. She
is now responsible for the day-to-day operations of the winery as President, and no longer is a practicing
physician in academic medicine. She is active in both the wine and medical communities and has served as an
officer of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and as a member of Women for Winesense and the Society of
Medical Friends of Wine. She also serves on the Research and Education Committee of the Wine Institute and
is interviewed frequently by national media, including CNN, ABC News, and Discovery Health Channel, and
has written commentary for DrinkWine.com as a source for scientific perspectives on wine and health.
Ellen feels that medicine and winemaking are of the same philosophy in that each is both a science and an art
form. She says, “They both require a balance between two different types of thinking. I find wine a gratifying
culmination of science, art and passion.” Ed chimes in, “Ellen was intuitively an excellent physician and that is
also true with her foray into viticulture.” Ellen’s primary current interests are vineyard development, including
site selection and variety and clonal selection.
Dr. Mack and Dr. Gomez, and their nephew, winemaker Patrick Melley, conceived and founded Russian Hill
Estate Winery in 1997 after a two year search for an appropriate property. A majestic southern-style white
building anchors the property with the adjacent former dog kennel serving as a tasting room. The tasting room,
which opened in 2003, is particularly striking, opening onto a large patio with an expansive 180 degree vista of
the Russian River Valley.
The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Syrah, and released its first vintage in 1999. A total of 30 acres of
estate vineyards are farmed. The estate Tara Vineyard, named after the stately residence adjacent the winery,
was planted to clone 115 by the Dutton family in 1998 and the first wine from this vineyard in 2001 won a Gold
Medal and Best of Class at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Top Block Vineyard at the top of the property hill
adjacent the winery consists of 3 acres planted in 1998 to Syrah. Ellen’s Block, close to Top Block, was also
planted in 1998 to Syrah. Sunny View Vineyard is six miles south of the winery and was planted in 1999. This
vineyard includes Pinot Noir clones 667, 777 and Pommard. It supplies the basis of the estate Pinot Noir in
additional to Viognier grapes which are sold to several wineries. Grapes have also been sourced from Leras
Vineyard and Meredith Vineyard for vineyard-designates.
Russian Hill wines are sold through the online web store at www.russianhillestate.com. The tasting room is
open daily from 10:00 to 4:00 at 4525 Slusser Road in Windsor.
2010 Russian Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.58, 2,033 cases, $35. Select
fruit from several small growers to represent the appellation as a whole. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak,
pneumatic punch downs, aged 11 months in 20% new French oak.
edium reddish-purple color in the glass.
Nicely perfumed with aromas of Bing cherries and Asian 5-spice. Very smooth and plush on the palate with a
deep cherry liquor flavor. Veers to the ripe side with some showy oak at play. Good (+).
2009 Russian Hill Estate Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.61, 1,262
cases, $40. The winemaker’s favorite lots from the estate. A majority of the fruit for this wine is from Sunny
View Vineyard, located to the southeast of the winery in the Santa Rosa Plain. Planted in 1999 to clones 667,
777 and Pommard with one additional acre later budded over to 828. A small portion is sourced from Tara
Vineyard, clone 115. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels.
Medium reddish-purple color in the
glass. Aromas of cherry pie glaze, very ripe black raspberries, spice and oak. Supple and plush on the palate,
with flavors of black cherries, cola and subtle herbal oak. The fruit flavors veer to the ripe side. Very Russian
River Valley in character with good intensity, mild fine-grain tannins, and a satisfying cut of acidity on the finish.
Tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine retained its appealing softness, its
most appealing feature, but there is a bit too much oak at play. Good.
2009 Russian Hill Tara Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
345 cases, $54. This vineyard is adjacent the winery on an easterly facing slope
of the hill and was planted in 1998, later field budded to clone 115. Yields 1.9
tons per acre.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of
dried cherries and oak. Middleweight sensual flavors of black cherries and spice
backed by supple tannins, and offering a soft, smooth and satisfying drinking
experience. Nicely balanced, with well-integrated oak, the flavors trumping the
aromas on this occasion. Still shy on the nose the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good (+).
Elias S. Hanna, M.D., FACS: Hanna Winery & Vineyards
Undergraduate: University of Texas Austin
Medical School: Tulane University
Residency: Baylor University School of Medicine
Board Certification: Thoracic Surgery
Elias Hanna emigrated to the United States from Syria at age 17 to study at the University of Texas. During his
residency, he was mentored by Michael DeBakey, M.D. and Denton Cooley, M.D.. He was drafted by the Army
in 1969 and served as the only active cardiac surgeon in Saigon, Vietnam. While he was there, he treated
many Vietnamese children with congential heart disease. He became a world renowned cardiac surgeon
based in San Francisco, where he was Chief of Thoracic Surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital. Pictured right below.
Dr. Hanna spent part of his career serving patients with heart conditions all over the world. Now retired, he
took 48 medical trips to 28 countries and in each country was the first cardiac surgeon to ever perform bypass
surgery there. Upon his retirement, he had performed more than 24,000 open-heart operations. He now
devotes much of his time to the winery but continues to serve as founder and president of Elias S. Hanna, M.D.
Cardiovascular Foundation, a charitable organization that assists countries that lack resources necessary to
perform open-heart surgery.
Hanna’s family grew crops including grapevines in Syria. When he moved to San Francisco, he missed the
pace of farm life. Beginning with 12 acres of vines and a ramshackle farmhouse in the Russian River Valley
purchased in the 1970s, he and his children started making Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon at home. In
mid 1985, he hired Merry Edwards as winemaker, expanded vineyard holdings, and established Hanna Winery
on Occidental Road in the Russian River Valley. Today, the Hanna family owns 600 acres, 250 of which are
planted, split between four different vineyards. The Home Ranch at the winery facility is the flagship vineyard,
with 25 acres planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Home Ranch Block 3 was planted to three clonal
selections from Torres, Cambria and Mondavi in 1992. In 2008, an additional 12 acres was planted using
budwood from the original Block 3, along with some clone 667.
Dr. Hanna’s eldest daughter, Christine, is the winery’s President and has been running the winery for over 20
years. Currently, the winery produces 50,000 cases of multiple varietals including Pinot Noir, about half of
which is Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The winemaker is University of California at Davis graduate
There are two Sonoma County tasting rooms: the Alexander Valley Hospitality Center is located at 9280
Highway 128 in Healdsburg and is open daily. This venue is home to the winery’s flagship Cabernet
Sauvignon and Merlot. The Russian River Estate and Hospitality Center is located at 5363 Occidental Road in
Santa Rosa and is also open daily. This intimate tasting room is surrounded by Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
vines. Various special wine tastings are available by appointment. The wines are sold online on the winery’s
website at www.hannawinery.com. Listen to Christine talk about Hanna Winery & Vineyards on Grape Radio,
Show 321, April 8, 2013.
2012 Hanna Estate Grown Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc
alc., pH 3.20, 26,000 cases, $19. 63% of the blend came from the estate Slusser
Ranch Vineyard. Average harvest Brix 22.3º. Fermented and aged in stainless
steel on the lees.
Straw yellow color with a slight tinge of green and clear in the
glass. Aromas of limes, yellow grapefruit and cut grass. The grassy theme
carries over on the palate in a New Zealand style with added flavors of lime zest,
green apple, and a hint of green pepper. The hi-tone acidity leaves a refreshing
impression on the crisp finish. Good.
Larry Londer, M.D.: Londer Vineyards
Graduate: Master’s Degree in Health Administration
Medical School: University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
Board Certification: Ophthalmology
Dr. Londer worked in a liquor store across the street from the medical school he was attending in the 1960s in
Denver. He stocked the shelves and did deliveries, but when the store was quiet, he would go in the back and
study. While he had no interest in hard liquor, and did not like beer, wine fascinated him and he knew a little
about it. Over time, he learned as much as he could about wine, particularly wines from France and Italy, and
began to drink and enjoy wines that he could afford. He can remember drinking Gallo Hearty Burgundy, but
could not afford to buy most French wines, which were less than twenty dollars a bottle during his medical
Once he began practicing ophthalmology in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he began collecting wine, joined wine
clubs, and started a gourmet and wine group which met monthly. When the New Mexico Symphony got into
financial trouble, someone suggested a wine auction to raise money. Dr. Londer’s spouse, Shirlee, became
their general chairperson and he was in charge of sourcing wine donations for the auction. Together they
visited and met with the principals of dozens of wineries. The more they visited California, the more they
wanted to “retire” and start a winery in Northern California. They would say, “This is heaven and maybe we
should retire here.” Along with begging for wine donations, they started looking for land and wineries for sale.
In 1999, the couple left New Mexico after Dr. Londer’s 27 years in practice, settling in the Anderson Valley just
outside of Philo on a 53-acre rural estate to start Londer Vineyards. Londers’ family and friends saw the move
as “bold, brave, gutsy and just plain nuts.” They did not know a soul when they arrived but the Anderson Valley
is made up of many people who came from somewhere else, so they quickly assimilated. A small, 16-acre
estate vineyard was planted (15 acres of Pinot Noir and 1 acre of Gewürztraminer), and they set about
sourcing grapes to produce additional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Winemaker Greg La Follette got them
started with their first releases in 2001, and Dr. Londer learned most of the winegrowing and winemaking
aspects of a winery during his 4-year apprenticeship with La Follette. Richard Davis, who worked with La
Follette for many years, eventually took over the winemaking duties. Veteran winemaker Eric Stern became
the consulting winemaker in the spring of 2012.
Londer Vineyards wines have received many accolades and the winery helped lead a revolution in Anderson
Valley Pinot Noir over the past 15 years. Their Pinot Noir lineup varied, but usually included an Anderson
Valley, Ferrington Vineyard, Estate Grown and Paraboll (a reserve) bottling. Total production reached 6,500
cases. A modern tasting room was opened in downtown Boonville that brought many visitors to the Anderson
Dr. Londer told me, “The winery is like Chemistry 101 and relatively understandable to physicians with a
chemistry background. That coupled with an acquired taste for wine leads physicians to think they can
successfully run a winery. Physicians are often naive because they usually have little or no background in
viticulture, sales and marketing. If those can be learned, then the project has a chance of succeeding.”
In 2011, the Londers sold their home and estate vineyard in Anderson Valley to a neighbor and initially
managed the winery from their home in their native Colorado. The rigors of travel selling their wines, the
operation of a full time tasting room, and the demands required in the management and marketing side of the
winery had taken its toll. In May 2013, they left the business completely to devote more time to their children
and grandchildren in Colorado. The winery is selling off its remaining inventory.
2009 Londer Vineyards Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $45.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of fresh dark berries and black
grapes with spice in the background. The flavors echo the nose with added hints of cola, sassafras,
oak and chalky earth. Very tasty with a graceful and polished demeanor, and impeccable balance. The
very long finish is flush with fruit and citrus-driven acidity. A superb wine from a cherished vineyard.
2010 Londer Vineyards Paraboll Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
alc., $24.99 (SR $54 but discounted at retail stores due to closing of
winery - this price is at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa). A Reserve bottling
sourced from Ferrington and Valley Foothill vineyards.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy aromatics revealing delicate
scents of dark red cherries and berries. Beguiling core of perfectly ripe
black cherry and black raspberry fruit with balanced tannins and
tempered oak. Soft and smooth on the palate, finishing with grace and intensity.
The powerful and lengthy finish is the most impressive feature of this wine. Still
could use more time in bottle, or decant if you must drink now. A steal at this
Kerith Overstreet, M.D.: Bruliam Wines
Undergraduate: Cornell University, English Literature, 1994
Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, 1998
Residency: University of California at San Diego Medical Center, 2000-2003
Board Certification: Pathology
Dr. Overstreet is the only female physician winemaker I am aware of other than Laura Catena, M.D.. After
completing her training in Pathology, she practiced briefly at Kaiser San Diego, leaving after the birth of her
son. Two years later, twin girls arrived. A cool fact is that an abnormally high percentage of female pathologists
who also completed Dr. Kurt Benirschke’s placenta pathology fellowship went on to have twins. Although she
was recruited to return to medicine, the germ of Bruliam Wines was born and she never returned to the
practice of medicine.
Interestingly, during the one year hiatus between her surgical internship and pathology residency, she did a
stint at the now defunct College of Food in San Diego, intent on eventually transferring to the California
Culinary Academy. She had aspirations to be a chef, and it was great fun, but never pursued this seriously.
Dr. Overstreet started getting serious about wine while in medical school. Each fall, a fellow student and she
would split a case of Beaujolais Nouveau. This was a significant upgrade from the “Gato Negro” she drank in
college. By the end of residency, she became part of a full-fledged wine tasting group. Never mind that the
thematic content included “Box Wines and White Trash Food,” a tasting at which she made a Dorito casserole
and wore an orange house dress.
Dr. Overstreet made her first barrel of Pinot Noir in 2008 at Crushpad in San Francisco. She had planned for
50 cases, but had to dump the Anderson Valley barrel due to smoke taint. She said, “It was love at first crush.
The ineffable mix of science and art was intoxicating.” She increased production and stayed at Crushpad for
through the 2009 vintage. Concurrently, she completed the enology certificate program at University of
California at Davis. She finally shook the Crushpad “training wheels” in 2010 when she crushed a small lot of
Rockpile Zinfandel at Mauritson Winery in Healdsburg where she now continues to craft her wines.
The name, Bruliam stands for the amalgamation of her children’s names, Bruno, Lily and Amelia. Since her
passion for wine and family imbues everything she does, it is “elemental to her life,” and the winery’s tagline is
“Wine is Elemental.” She therefore settled on a logo that riffs on The Periodic Table of Elements. She says,
“Since cadmium, boron and polonium were already taken, we had to settle for our own imaginary element.
One part nerdiness plus two equivalents love and passion makes for great wine.”
The Overstreets fell in love with Healdsburg on their honeymoon and finally moved permanently to Healdsburg
in 2011. She began to make more contacts for fruit sources, seeking out the best growers and purchasing top
shelf fruit. She was both naive and fearless about cold calling famed growers and asking for 1 to 2 tons of fruit.
Some of them laughed out loud at her request, but all of them ended up agreeing to work with her after she
bribed them with homemade cakes, pies and galettes, a tradition that continues to keep her in their good
After five years of production, Dr. Overstreet finally understands what she wants to do with her wines and
knows how to accomplish those goals. Recently, the Overstreets bought a small Pinot Noir vineyard (formerly
Two Sisters, now named Torrey Hill) of old plantings of Martini clone in the Russian River Valley, but will
continue to work with their grower partners in the Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast and Santa Lucia Highlands.
Bruliam was envisioned as a not-for-profit venture from the beginning. Fortunately, her spouse, Brian, can
support the family through his business. Dr. Overstreet believes in karma, service and contribution. Bruliam is
an expression of her desire to give back not only dollar value philanthropy, but also because her life is so
blessed. She can pursue a passion on her own terms, and she is humbled with gratitude. Her philanthropic
choices include the arts, arts education and programs for veterans.
For Dr. Overstreet, her medical training has made her comfortable with biology and chemistry and the science
of winemaking comes easy. She notes, “Yeasts are the same, whether they are infecting a patient, proofing
bread, or making wine. The art part is more ephemeral.” Today, when asked to speak at industry events, she
leads off with a picture of her performing an autopsy during her first year of residency (see photo above) and
follows that with a picture of her harvesting grapes on a beautiful fall morning. It vanquishes any questions
about why she chose to do what she does.
Bruliam Pinot Noirs, Rosé of Pinot Noir and Rocky Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel are sold through a mailing list,
with all proceeds donated to the Overstreet Family Foundation. The wines are also available online on the
winery website at www.bruliamwines.com. Dr. Overstreet is quite an accomplished writer with a good sense of
humor and can be followed on her Bruliam Wine Blog.
2012 Bruliam Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir
$20. A saignée of Pinot Noir after 24 hours of skin contact. Fruit is
from the Russian River Valley (estate Torrey Hill Vineyard) and
Sonoma Coast (Gap’s Crown Vineyard). Fermented and aged in
stainless steel kegs after inoculation. No MLF. LIghtly fined for
Light pink-coral color and clear in the glass. Fresh aromas of
strawberries, watermelon, cherry glaze and dried herbs. The flavors
echo the nose with some welcome spice. A subtle riff of dried herbs adds an
appealing savory accent. The wine is dry and refreshing and not in the tutti fruity
genre of rosés. I would drink it with sushi. Very good.
2011 Bruliam Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.462, $55.
Picking began a day before September rains. Clone 115. 100% de-stemmed. Saignée for a rosé was
followed by minor acid and water additions to replace the volume lost. Aged 10 months in 20% new French
Radoux oak barrels and 80% Radoux seasoned oak barrels. Aged 9 months in bottle before release.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is enchanting, starting out with aromas of black
cherries and evolving to more complexity with scents of sassafras, bark, cola and cinnamon. Elegant and
tasty, with mid weight flavors of black cherries and black raspberries and undertones of oak and anise. The fruit
is well-framed by good acidity and gentle tannins. The finish is fruit-driven and charming. Very good.
Craig Senders, M.D., FACS: Senders Wines
Undergraduate: Oregon State University, General Biology, 1975
Medical School: University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, 1979
Residency: Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinic, 1980-1984
Board Certified: Otolaryngology
Dr. Senders is a Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology at University of California at Davis where he specializes
in facial birth defects like cleft lip and cleft palate. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, and practiced in the
Midwest before coming to Davis in 1984. He has served as the director of the Cleft and Craniofacial Program
at the University of California at Davis for over 25 years, and was the director of the residency program in
Otolaryngology there for 15 years. He is an expert in cleft lip and cleft palate, endoscopic sinus surgery, and
surgery for sleep apnea.
When Dr. Senders moved to Davis, he had only a passing interest in wine. He then began to assist his
neighbor who made wine at home, became attracted to winemaking, and began making wine at home. He
soon had success and won many awards for his home-crafted wines. Eventually Senders Wines was
launched and released its first wine from the 2005 vintage. The small winery specializes in small lots of
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and
Carneros. Dr. Senders makes his wines at Bin to Bottle, a custom-crush facility in south Napa, only 45 minutes
from Senders’ home, and his spouse Karen markets and sells the wines.
100% of the profits since the inception of the winery in 2005 are used to support medical outreaches for
children and adults with cleft lip and cleft palate. The winery’s byline is “Wines with a Cause.” Dr. Senders has
participated in over 30 pro bono outreaches through the Face to Face organization, performing cleft lip and
cleft palate surgeries for children and adults who cannot afford his operations. In this manner, he is able to
blend his passion for practicing medicine, handcrafting fine wines, and supporting medical outreaches
throughout the world. He has won several humanitarian awards for service to the less fortunate in the world.
Senders Wines donates $100 to medical outreaches for every new Wine Club membership. The wines are
sold online at www.senderswines.com.
2009 Senders Reserve Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.61, $45. Sourced from Old
Adobe Road Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap, clones 667 (70%) and 777 (30%). Aged 11 months in 50% mew
Billon French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, dark chocolate,
black olive and mushroom. Tasty, middleweight flavors of cherries with hints of chocolate and sassafras and
oak in the background. Soft in the mouth with some finishing presence. Good.
2010 Senders Las Brisas Carneros Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 170 cases, $38.
Sourced from Las Brisas Vineyard, clones 667, 777 and Swan. Aged 18 months
in French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose
offers appealing aromas of fresh cherries, forest floor and herb garden. Vivid
black cherry and dark red berry fruits are featured with a finishing touch of spice.
The tannins are nicely balanced, the texture is silky, and the black cherry really
sings on the well-endowed ending. Very good (+).
F. Wells Shoemaker, M.D.: Salamandre Wine Cellars
Undergraduate: Stanford University
Medical School: Stanford University 1972
Residency: Stanford University Hospital and UCLA Harbor Medical Center
Board Certification: Pediatrics
Dr. Shoemaker spent six months studying in Florence when he was nineteen and it was there that he met with
wine as a matter-of-fact, pleasant, and unpretentious part of the evening meal. Wine wasn’t a “score” that he
had to make with a fake ID in a liquor store. It wasn’t a sexual thrill and it wasn’t a macho overture. It was just
supper. The Tuscan families introduced him to the customs of winemaking, to an understanding of history in
the soil, to a sense of respect among generations, and to the practice of sharing with strangers.
He returned to Stanford University, and based on his exposure to the humanities in Italy, he switched his major
from metallurgical engineering to medicine. He became involved with a farm worker organization in the San
Joaquin Valley and helped establish a free clinic for migrant workers known as the Livingston Community
Medical school and pediatric residency followed, and Shoemaker realized that there was a world of wine that
he could not afford. A friend introduced him to Ridge Zinfandels of the 1960s, and those became his standard
After settling into practice in the Monterey Bay area, he founded the first intensive care nursery in the region,
and launched one of the first hospital-based lactation centers in Northern California.
Dr. Shoemaker learned how to taste and understand wine by visiting wineries, and finally decided he wanted to
do it himself. As he said, “I guess I’d rather be a wine player than a wine Spectator.” He started as a home
winemaker and took many courses from the University of California at Davis Extension. His wines did well in
competitions, and in 1985, he opened Salamandre Wine Cellars as a commercial, bonded winery, with partner
Dave South, M.D., a dermatologist.
In the early 1980s, Shoemaker began collecting medical information about wine, wrote about wine and health
for several trade journals, and served as Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Board to the Wine Institute of
California. California wineries were uneasy with his role as science advisor because it is illegal for a
winemaker to state anywhere on a container or in any winery sales information anything that even remotely
implies a health benefit to any alcoholic beverage. The gray area of concern was whether a physician could
write something scientifically valid about health effects, whether positive or negative, in a printed article other
than a sales article if that physician was also a licensed winemaker. Shoemaker had to be very cautious about
that gray border.
Along with Lewis Purdue and Keith Ian Marton, M.D., Shoemaker wrote the book, The French Paradox and
Beyond (1992). He appeared on the cover of the AMA News in the mid 1990s that contained an article on why
doctors get into wine. A reader from one of the slave states wrote in a letter to the editor that Shoemaker was
a traitor to the Hippocratic Oath by saying anything good about killer alcohol!
When he lectured to medical and winemaking groups on wine and health, the winemakers would often remark,
“Here is another dilettante doctor tax-dodger getting into the wine business.” Other doctors would say politely,
“Well, how can be objective since you’re making all that money in the wine business.” For the doctors, he had
to remind them that he did not choose pediatrics for its investment potential and small winery economics
(Salamandre produces about 2,000 cases a year) are financial foolhardiness. It took seven years of dedicated
labor for Salamandre to break even.
Shoemaker has now been making wine for 29 years and is proud of the quality of his work, but it is a distant
second among his professional priorities, and it does not come up much these days in his medical interactions.
He crafts a number of different varietals, but Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir has been one of his most
Since 2000, Shoemaker has relinquished his participation in the public interface and spends all his energies on
population-based delivery system reform as the Medical Director of the California Association of Physician
Groups. He is also a member of the Governor’s task force, writing a ten-year plan for California, and a
spearhead for an exciting new primary care institute.
Shoemaker told me that was once asked by the wife of a minister how he could dedicate his life to helping
children, then turn around and make “alcohol.” Shoemaker reminded her that Jesus performed his first miracle
by transforming seven stone cisterns of water into wine. His mother urged him to do it, since there was no
wine to properly celebrate the wedding in Cana. Shoemaker pointed out that the medical and clerical paths
have been intertwined with wine throughout the history of human civilization.
On the relationship of doctors and wine, Shoemaker says the following. “Beyond the intrigue of the unfolding
awareness of the relationship of moderate drinking and a variety of health measures, medical training is really
useful in other ways in the cellar. To make wine successfully, one must maintain constant suspicion that Nature
is not being kind or generous. The same attentiveness to subtle signs of distress that I have used for decades
in the nursery, serves well to intercept problems in the barrels. The pleasure in seeing a fine wine safely
through to bottling will never parallel the joy of seeing healthy babies go home with loving mothers, but the
hours are more humane, and wine smells better. It is also hard to carry babies to the beach, the mountains,
and the desert without lugging a lot of extra stuff. Been there, done that, and now we just pack the corkscrew.”
Salamandre wines are sold through a mailing list and on the website. The wines are reasonable priced. As
Shoemaker says, “Don’t pay ridiculous dollars for Ego Noir that’s still trying to draft on ‘Sideways’.” The winery
is not open to the public but periodic open houses and invitational tastings are held at the winery which is
carved into the hillside next to Shoemaker’s home located in a shaded redwood canyon two miles inland from
the beaches of Aptos. The Salamandre Wine Cellars website is www.salamandrewine.com.
2009 Salamandre Meadowridge Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $34.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Gracefully perfumed with aromas of black cherry, raspberry and new oak.
The flavors echo the nose with added notes of plum and spice. Complimentary tannins and bright acidity
combined with a pleasing and generous finish make for wonderful drinking. Very good.
2010 Salamandre Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Moderately deep purple color in the glass. Lovely
perfume of dark berries, fresh picked plums and spice. The
aromas are captivating. My notes say WOW on entry. Really
delicious, moderately intense flavors of dark berries, black
cherries and plum with a hint of spice. The fruit reaches every
nook and cranny in the mouth, expanding to finish with
unbelievable length and aromatic focus. A complete, harmonious wine of
exceptional quality and sure to be one of my All Americans for 2013. (Not listed
on website so call or email to order)
Robert M. Sinskey, M.D.: Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Medical School: Duke University School of Medicine 1948
Residency: Duke University School of Medicine
Board Certification: Ophthalmology
From 1951 to 1953, Dr. Sinskey was assigned to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, Japa, where he studied the eyes of bombing victims. Dr. Sinskey was the first full time staff
ophthalmologist at UCLA in 1955 and opened its eye clinic. He also founded the Southern California Lion’s
A pioneer in cataract surgery techniques and surgical instrument innovation, he developed the use of
intraocular lenses following cataract surgery and was the first American surgeon to perform the procedure on
infants and children. His patented J-loop intraocular lens was widely used as were several of the surgical
instruments he invented. He taught small incision cataract and intraocular lens implant surgery to more than
3,000 ophthalmologists at the Sinskey Eye Institute in Santa Monica (including myself) which he founded in
1960. From 1999 to 2000, he served as president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
(ASCRS). Dr. Sinskey has been the driving force behind construction and equipping of the ASCRS
Foundation’s Robert M. Sinskey Eye Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Sinskey Eye Institute treated over
13,000 patients in 2012 with a full time staff of twelve including two ophthalmologists. He retired from the
practice of ophthalmology in 2000.
Dr. Sinskey authored a book on his career including a medical history of phacoemulsification and his role in
ushering in modern cataract surgery: A Life in Focus (2010).
Dr. Sinskey was an investor in Acacia Winery in Carneros in 1980, began planting grapes in Napa in 1982, and
established his own eponymous winery now located in the Napa Valley in 1987. From a humble beginning of
15 acres of vineyard land, Robert Sinskey Vineyards now has just under 200 acres of prime vineyards
including five Napa Carneros sites and a small 4.8-acre estate vineyard adjacent the winery which is in the
Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley.
His son, Rob Sinskey, eventually took over winery operations and winegrowing duties, and the winemaker
since 1991 has been Jeff Virnig. Pinot Noir is the focus of the winery and has been produced since 1986. The
winery has a reputation for organic and biodynamic farming. Stylistically, the Pinot Noirs are relatively low in
alcohol, elegant, with minimal oak encumbrance. The winery’s Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Rosé, produced since
1991, is outstanding. The Pinot Noir lineup includes: Los Carneros Pinot Noir, Three Amigos Vineyard Los
Carneros Pinot Noir, Vandal Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir, Capa Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir and a
Reserve labeled Four Vineyards Los Carneros Pinot Noir.
The tasting room is located at 6320 Silverado Trail in Napa and is open daily. The wines are also sold online at
www.robertsinskey.com. Visit the informative website’s Vineyard Kitchen which includes seasonal menus and
recipes from Maria Helm Sinskey.
2012 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
13.1% alc, $28 (allocated).
Whole cluster pressed.
Light orange color and clear in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, oranges
and melon. Many flavors emerge over time in the glass including strawberry, cherry, blood orange,
peach, and herbal tea. A highly pleasurable rosé that has its own unique vibe and plenty of pizzazz.
2009 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 6,900 cases, $38. Made from organic grapes.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Well perfumed with aromas of fresh black
cherries and black raspberries. Earth-kissed flavors of black cherries, dark
raspberries and spice with balanced tannins and good supporting acidity.
Finishes with reasonable cherry-driven aromatic intensity. This wine has some
artisan qualities that one doesn’t expect from such a large production. Good.
Eric Sterling, M.D.: Esterlina Vineyards & Winery
Undergraduate: University of California at Irvine, Biology and Biological Chemistry
Medical School: California College of Medicine & Surgery 1988
Board Certification: American Board of Emergency Medicine
Years before ‘Sideways,’ Dr. Sterling, along with Santa Rosa radiologist Frank Cutruzzola, M.D. (profiled earlier
in this article) became intrigued by the grape and wine business. Dr. Sterling ended up founding Esterlina
Vineyards & Winery in the Anderson Valley along with other family members, and Dr. Cutruzzola bought a Pinot
Noir vineyard on the Central Coast.
Dr. Sterling first became interested in wine mainly as a consumer. He had no real interest in making wine until
he bought his first vineyard and made wine from the second crop after noticing how many grapes were left over
after harvest. He made his first wines in his barn and they were surprisingly good. He says his background in
biochemistry served him well and he found that the science of winemaking was not difficult. He took a few
classes in winemaking, read many books, and talked with several winemakers and started to focus on the style
of wine he preferred. He then bought the Esterlina property that would allow him to grow grapes in that style.
Sterling told me, “People are generally happy in the wine business in contrast to medicine where long hours,
stress and the difficult work environment takes its toil. Wine tasters are out to enjoy themselves, and wine is
something that people drink when they are relaxing or celebrating. I felt that growing grapes and making wine
added balance to my life. That balance is crucial for without it, I would not be as effective in my job and in my
He also said, “I think physicians are attracted to winemaking for many of the same reasons they pursued
medicine. Both are an art and science. Winemaking allows for development of both halves of our brains.
Plus, it’s fun and satisfying to create something from start to finish. I have a full time winemaker now, but still
enjoy the winegrowing and blending process. I will go back to full time winemaking when my medical career
Esterlina Vineyards & Winery is a family operation under the direction of father Murio and his sons Eric, Craig
and Steve, specializing in Pinot Noir from the estate vineyard high above the Anderson Valley floor. The site
was the former Pepperwood Springs Winery, purchased by the Sterling family in 2000, and rechristened
Esterlina which is Spanish for sterling. The Esterlina Pinot Noirs are all from estate fruit and include an
Esterlina Vineyard, a Riserva, and a Cole Ranch bottling.
The Sterlings also own the 253-acre Cole Ranch AVA in Mendocino County, the smallest AVA in America where
the sole vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Riesling. They also own Alexander
Valley Ranch (Everett Ridge Vineyards & Winery) which produces Cabernet Sauvignon and vineyards in the
Russian River Valley (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Tasting at Esterlina Vineyards & Winery is by appointment and is well worth the circuitous 2.5-mile drive up a
dirt road to the winery at 1200 Homes Ranch Road in Philo (707-895-2920).
2009 Esterlina Esterlina Estate Vineyard Reserva Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $65.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the
glass. Ripe fruit profile featuring blackberry and boysenberry aromas
with a hint of oak. Opens beautifully over time in the glass, building
gradually in intensity and interest. Flavors of dark red cherries and
berries and plum with accents of black tea and cola. Despite its
concentration of fruit, the wine retains a refreshing character and is light
on its feet. Mild fine-grain tannins add to the appeal. Decant if you open now,
but patience will be rewarded.
2010 Esterlina Esterlina Estate Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $N/A.
color in the glass. Aromas of oak-kissed red fruits including strawberries with hints of cedar. Moderately
light on the palate, yet noticeable staying power on the long finish. Delicious over time in the glass offering
flavors of red and blue berries, baking spice, and subtle oak. Easy to like and very giving. Very good.
2010 Esterlina Cole Ranch Reserva Cole Ranch Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $N/A.
color in the glass. Fresh aromas of brown sugar dusted ripe strawberries and an array of other red
fruits. Moderately light in concentration, but plenty of charm and elegance. Juicy, with supple tannins
and a persistent, fruit-filled, electric finish. Cause for celebration.
Anthony Truchard, M.D.: Truchard Vineyards
Undergraduate: University of Texas in Austin, Chemical engineering
Medical School: Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas
Residency: Fort Sam Houston Brooke Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Board Certification: Internal Medicine
Dr. Truchard was born and raised on a farm in Sealy, Texas where his grandfather, Jean-Marie Truchard, an
emigrant from France in 1885, had planted a vineyard and built a winery in the late 1800s. The vineyard did
not survive the hot, humid weather in Sealy, which was close to Houston, so he turned the winery into a barn
and raised cattle like all of his neighbors, adding vegetable gardens and pecan, orange and pear orchards. Dr.
Truchard learned about agriculture growing up on that farm, but he decided he wanted to become a physician.
Dr. Truchard met and married Jo Ann, who was from La Grange. A graduate of the University of Texas, she
taught school while he attended medical school. He entered the army his senior year of medical school and
after interning at Walter Reed Medical Center and completing his internal medicine residency at Fort Sam
Houston Brooke Medical Center, he was sent to Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California (60 miles north of
Reno, Nevada) from 1972 to 1974 to repay his military stipend he used to finish his schooling. Initially, Dr.
Truchard was to be sent to Korea, but a month before he was to leave, his pregnant spouse, only days before
her scheduled delivery, slipped on a grape exiting a supermarket (true story) and broke her knee. Dr. Truchard
told the military he could not leave his wife, and four days later, their son John was born. Instead of being sent
to Korea, the family was sent to Herlong, the site of a secret nuclear arsenal. The Truchards lived next door to
the commander of the Depot, and were invited to many army functions where they had their first experiences
with good wine.
In 1972, only a month after they moved to Herlong, Dr. Truchard had to report to the San Francisco Presidio.
Afterwards, he and Jo Ann took a drive through the Napa Valley before heading home and the idea of farming
wine grapes clicked. Shortly thereafter, impressed by the vineyards he saw and driven by the desire to return to
his farming roots, he decided to return and look for property where he could plant a vineyard. He was shocked
at the price of property in the Napa Valley compared to the price of land in Texas, and frustrated as he was still
on a military salary.
A realtor directed the Truchards to Carneros where real estate was less expensive. He found them a 21-acre
hillside prune orchard for sale for at $1,589 per acre on Old Sonoma Road, but it lacked water and the soils
were very shallow. People told the Truchards they couldn’t grow grapes in this area of deserted orchards. In
the early 1970s, the primary method of watering was to dig a well and use overhead sprinklers but the property
had no ground water. The realtor arranged for them to meet with a local vineyard manager from the Krug
ranch who suggested they dig a reservoir, collect winter rains, and then use drip irrigation. This method had
been developed in Israel to water in the desert and was relatively new to viticulture in California. Without drip
irrigation, it would have been impossible to successfully establish and grow wine grapes in Carneros. They
decided to follow that advice, and bought the property in 1973 while Dr. Truchard was on active duty, with the
intention of tending to the property on weekend visits.
At the time, there was only about 300 acres of wine grapes in the Carneros - the Krug ranch, BV, Martini’s
Stanley Lane Vineyard, Rene di Rosa’s Winery Lake Vineyard, and Francis Mahoney’s Carneros Creek nearby.
Francis Mahoney helped the Truchards select budwood and rootstocks, plant the vineyard, and agreed to buy
the grapes. Beginning in 1974, they planted Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and
Chardonnay. The Truchards soon began selling fruit to various Napa wineries who welcomed their grapes.
Miraculously, over the next 40 years they were able to gradually add adjacent parcels until today they own 400
contiguous acres of which 285 acres are planted to ten varieties of wine grapes. What cost $1,589 per acre in
1973, had escalated to $17,000 per acre in the 1990s and today would be over $100,000 per acre.
Early on, Dr. Truchard not only found he could make more money selling grapes than practicing medicine, he
enjoyed farming more. Dr. Truchard left the Army in 1974, and continued to practice internal medicine in Reno,
Nevada, traveling on weekends with the family (they ultimately had six children), living in a travel trailer while
they worked on the vineyard.
An old barn on the property was converted into a winery in 1989, it was bonded in 1990, and the Truchards
began making wine for themselves using estate grown fruit. The barn is very similar to the original Texas
winery that Dr. Truchard’s father had built in 1895. It has become the symbol for Truchard Vineyards and
adorns the wine label. A 10,500-square-foot wine cave was added later (see entrance above). Today they have
six reservoirs on the property to collect rain.
Dr. Truchard loves cats and when I visited, the feral black cat pictured above showed considerable love for him,
much like a dog and highly uncharacteristic of a feral cat. When asked how many cats he had, Dr. Truchard
simply smiled and said, “Too many to count.”
Dr. Truchard retired from medicine to tend his vast vineyard and devote all his time to viticulture. His
background in chemical engineering has come in handy both in the vineyard and in the winery.
The winemaker at Truchard Vineyards since 1998 has been University of California at Davis graduate Sal De
Ianni. Today, fifteen different varietals are produced, amounting to 15,000 cases per year. 70 percent of the
grapes produced are still sold to about twenty-six Napa wineries. Wineries sourcing Truchard grapes have
included David Bruce, Picchetti, Jessup, Saintsbury, Acacia, Bouchaine, Carneros Creek and Artesa.
The second generation, including Anthony Truchard II, has taken over management of the winery. Jo Ann told
me that after Dr. Truchard retired from medicine, he spends all his time outdoors and refuses to sit behind a
desk. After a marriage lasting 49 years so far, she tries to help him by handling the desk work for him. She
was kind enough to supply much of the information reported here and give us a tour of the Truchard property.
She said that they are often asked what draws physicians to wine and she is not really sure of the answer.
“Maybe it is the appreciation of the finer things of life.”
Tours and tastings are available by appointment Monday through Saturday (707-253-7153) at 3234 Old
Sonoma Road in Napa. The website is www.truchardvineyards.com.
2011 Truchard Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $35. Recent
release with revamped, modernized label. Seven clonal selections in the blend.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose unfolds slowly in the glass
revealing compelling aromas of darker berries, mushrooms and clove-scented
oak. Dark red and black fruits are featured with a pleasing earthiness and
complimentary oak. Nicely balanced and easy to drink, with a silky mouth feel
and commendable finishing intensity. Should benefit from another 6 to 12
months in bottle. Very good.
Scott Tweten, M.D.: Volamus Vineyards
Medical School: Tulane University Medical School 1988
Internship: University of Minnesota
Residency: Stanford University Hospital
Board Certification: Anesthesiology
Dr. Tweten is a practicing anesthesiologist who has a Pinot Noir vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap region
of the Sonoma Coast and sells grapes to a number of wineries. He told me the following about the joys of
vineyard ownership. The photo below was taken the day he bottled his first personal effort at winemaking and
he notes, “wine grape growing and winemaking really is a family affair.”
“The vineyard has an annual cycle that is on a scale similar to the gestation of a child. Each season has its
chores and routines. After six harvests, I am finally ahead of the curve and not merely trying to keep up,
although the vineyard managers have made sure things happened when they needed to. Although there is a
rhythm to the season in the vineyard, no two seasons have yet been the same. Spring has been early or late,
with frost or not. Summer has been hot, cool and even non existent. Fall has had rain, Indian summer or too
little head to bring the fruit into balance. Winter has been wet, dry, or brought snow on a nearby mountain.”
“I am beginning to understand what each year has meant to the wine of that vintage, especially now that I have
tried my hand at making my own barrel each year. And, as if the season of the vineyard isn’t long enough, add
an additional year for the rhythm of the wine. Maybe the gestation of an elephant is a better example.”
“Most of my physician colleagues drive nice cars. A few Porsches, many BMWs and one even owns a
DeLorean. For me, I look forward to pulling my Kubota out of the shed and spending a few hours amongst the
vines where the cares of the world don’t reach me.”
You can follow Dr. Tweten’s seasons in his vineyard at www.volamusvineyards.com/blog, “Adventures of a
Gentleman Grape Grower,” a limited work in progress.
2011 Bravium Volamus Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.61, 96 cases, $34. 4,500 vines on 3.5
acres. Clones 115, 667 and Pommard farmed sustainably. Hand
pressed, 25% whole cluster, racked once after MLF, aged in 50%
new 4-year air-dried Francois Frères oak barrels. Unfined and
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. A more
serious, complex wine that will benefit from more time in the bottle.
The aromas open slowly in the glass to reveal hi-tone notes of dark berries,
spice, forest floor and a hint of vanilla. Dark berries are the featured fruit with
undertones of dark chocolate, clove and allspice, all wrapped in dry, chalky
tannins, finishing with razor sharp acidity. A little more body, nuance and class than the Sonoma Coast
bottling. Very good (+).
Still more “Pinot Noir Doctors.”
Walter Byck, M.D.: Paradise Ridge Byck Family Winery
Dr. Byck is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvannia Medical School who did his radiology residency at
Cornell Medical Center in New York City. After serving in the military, he moved to Santa Rosa in 1965 with his
spouse Marijke Hoenselaars. In 1994, the couple opened Paradise Ridge Winery and a year after opening the
winery, they launched the first sculpture exhibit in their new Paradise Woods Sculpture Grove. After retiring
from medicine in 1997, Dr. Byck turned all his attention to the growing sculpture project. The second
generation, including Rene Byck and Sonia Byck-Barwick, are co-owners and managing partners in the winery.
Dan Barwick is the winemaker. There are several estate vineyards but none planted to Pinot Noir. The winery’s
Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a consistently reliable offering produced from sourced fruit. The winery
website is www.prwinery.com.
2010 Paradise Ridge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
167 cases, $28.99.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely
aromas of fresh black cherries, cola, sassafras and baking spices.
Mid weight flavors of black cherries, vivid, crisp and juicy in character,
smoothly textured, and finishing with deep cherry aplomb.
Quintessential Russian River Valley in character. Very good (+).
Warren Frankel, M.D.: Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden
Dr. Frankel, a family doctor, moved to a 90-acre ranch in Paso Robles from the San Fernando Valley in 1979
with his spouse Kathy and their three children. The Frankel family first planted 20 acres of pistachios on the
ranch, followed by 20 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. He expanded the vineyard operation in 1997 with the
addition of more Cabernet Sauvignon and several other red and white warm climate varieties. The winery and
multi million dollar sculpture garden was opened in 2007. In 2002, Dr. Frankel joined with other doctors to
found “His Healing Hands,” a medical missionary foundation that sends medical missionary teams all over the
world on all five continents. They also respond to catastrophic disasters. He has written about the missionary
work in a book, His Healing Hands.” Along with several varietals, a Paso Robles Pinot Noir is produced. The
website is www.sculpterra.com.
Ray Merlo, M.D.: R. Merlo Estate Vineyards
This winery is located in the Hyampom Valley amongst the inter-coastal mountains of Southern Trinity County
in a rugged region of Northern California. Dr. Merlo and his spouse Robin, a physician assistant, started a
family practice in Redding, California. Their interest in wine had been piqued upon a visit to family in Northern
Italy in the mid 1980s. They visited an old family vineyard planted by Dr. Merlo’s great-grandfather and they
thought it might be worthwhile to continue the family tradition back home. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that the
Merlos entered into a formal partnership with Randall Meredith of Meredith Vineyards, an established, bonded
winery located in Hyampom Valley. They bought Hyampom Valley Ranch and planted a second vineyard in
2000. The first bottling under the Meredith/Merlo label came in 2001. A winery was built in 2002 and a second
winery in 2004, when the first bottling under the R. Merlo label appeared. Merlo, Italian for blackbird, offers
several varietals including Pinot Noir from Southern Trinity County. The estate vineyards are over 45 acres and
include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot. The consulting winemaker is David Georges and
the head winemaker and viticulturist is Steven Canter. The winery website is www.rmerlo.com.
Chris Thorpe, M.D.: Adastra Wines
Dr. Thorpe and Naomi Thorpe moved to Northern California in 1980 and bought the 33-acre Carneros ranch
that was to become Adastra in 1984. Initially, Dr. Thorpe raised Angus cattle, but in 1989 established Adastra
Vineyards, returning the Carneros property to vines for the first time since Prohibition. The vineyard has 7
acres each of Chardonnay and Merlot and six acres of Pinot Noir. Wine production began in 1995 with a small
amount of Merlot. All the Pinot Noir was sold to Etude beginning in 1997 until 2002, when some was withheld
to produce this varietal under the Adastra label. At present, Adastra sells slightly less than half its grapes to
other producers. The vineyards, managed by Dr. Thorpe and his son-in-law Edwin Richards, are CCOF
certified organic. The winemaker is Pam Starr. Dr. Thorpe is a retired Vallejo surgeon. The winery website is
Tadeusz Wellisz, M.D.: Malvolio Pinot Noir
A Los Angeles area Plastic Surgeon and developer of medical devices (Biomedics, Inc.) whose wife, Nadia,
and her father, Selim Zikha, bought Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in 2001. Dr. Wellisz produced Pinot Noir under
the Malvolio label with fruit sourced from Laetitia Vineyard in the early 2000s.
Stewart Lauterbach, M.D.: Lauterbach CellarsDr. Lauterbach is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine physician currently practicing in Santa Rosa, CA. He grew up in the Chicago area and became a volunteer firefighter and paramedic, which led to his ambition to pursue a medical degree. Dr. Lauterbach is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (1981) and did his residency in emergency medicine at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, CA. (completed in 1984). Dr. Lauterbach and his spouse Barbara, who was a nurse, acquired a ranch in the Russian River Valley and planted Pinot Noir and Syrah. Barbara eventually pursued a law degree and is Director of Legal Services for the Council on Aging in Sonoma County. Dr. Lauterbach works eleven shifts a month in Sonoma County's trauma center and balances this stressful job by farming his vineyard along with manager Lee Martinelli Jr. and crafting wine from grapes grown in his vineyard with consulting winemakers Dan Goldfield (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 Pinot Noir and 2000 Syrah), Pax Mahle (Syrah production through 2005), Ron Berglund (2001, 2005 and 2006 Pinot Noir). Stewart and Barbara now produce the estate bottled wines.
Robert Keefer, M.D.: Keefer Ranch
Marcy Keefer, a former nurse, and her husband, Robert Keefer, M.D., purchased the property near the
headwaters of Green Valley Creek in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, in 1985. The vineyard was planted in 1988
on the site of a former apple orchard. Dr. Keefer is now deceased, but Marcy carries on, actively overseeing
the farming of the vineyard, selling grapes to several of California’s most noted Pinot Noir producers, and
bottling a Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir which her son, Craig Strehlow, crafts.
William Hall, M.D.: Gypsy Canyon
Dr. Hall and his spouse Deborah, who was a nurse, bought the 290-acre Gypsy Canyon property in 1994.
After Dr. Hall passed away in 1997, she sold 160 acres and kept 130 acres with 12 acres of vineyards. She
took over winemaking duties upon his passing, and continues to produce ultra-premium Pinot Noir and Ancient
Maurice Galante, M.D.: Dr. Maurice Galante Vineyard
A San Francisco-based surgeon and Professor Emeritus at University of California San Francisco died in 2013.
He bought an apple orchard on Cherry Ridge Road near Occidental in the mid 1980s and enlisted the Dutton
family to plant the Dr. Maurice Galante Vineyard to Pommard clones 667, 777 and Pommard.
Oregon Pinot Noir Doctors
John O. Bergström, M.D.: Bergström Wines
Medical School: Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
Residency: Oregon Health & Science University Hospital
Board Certification: Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr. Bergström grew up in a small agricultural and logging village in northern Sweden and as a young teenager
immigrated to Oregon where he ultimately became a physician and surgeon. He wanted to start a business
that would become a legacy for his children and pay tribute to his Swedish agricultural upbringing. After
moving the family to Dundee from Portland where he practiced, he planted the Bergström Vineyard on a 13-acre, south facing slope. In 1999, Dr. Bergström’s son, Josh, returned to Oregon after a postgraduate program
in viticulture and enology in Burgundy and founded the Bergström label with his father.
In 2001, Kendall Bergström and her husband Paul de Lancellotti joined the business. A new winery was built at
the top of Calkins Lane in the Chehalem Mountains and the de Lancellotti Estate Vineyard was planted.
Bergström Wines now farms five estate vineyards totaling 84 acres, all of which are biodynamically farmed
(Bergstöm, de Lancellotti, Le Pré Du Col, Winery Block and Gregory Ranch). Pinot Noir is also sourced from
Shea and Temperance Hill vineyards. Production is 9,000 cases annually of Pinot Noir (nine bottlings) and
Josh Bergström is currently general manager, winemaker and vineyard manager, and his wife Caroline
manages the sales team. Visit the website at www.bergstromwines.com.
2010 Bergström Cumberland Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $42. The winery’s flagship
blend. Primarily sourced from de Lancellotti, Shea and Bergström vineyards.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, spiced dark berry jam, and mocha java. Fresh and juicy, modest
in weight, featuring a core of dark red and black cherries and berries with a noticeable topcoat of oak. About
the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Decent.
2010 Bergström Bergström Vineyard Dundee Hills AVA Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $80. Yields were
less than 0.9 tons per acre in this vintage. This 13-acre site was planted in 1999 and is certified Biodynamic®.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy fruit on the nose with primarily oak-driven aromas. Bright
cherry core wrapped in supple tannins finishing with flourish of oak. Juicy and vivid with a good cut of citrus
peel acidity in the background. The charming fruit is somewhat buried in oak at present. About the same the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good.
Joe Campbell, M.D., D.C.: Elk Cove Vineyards
Undergraduate: Harvard University (Magna Cum Laude in History of Science)
Medical School: Stanford University 1967
Dr. Campbell told me that he and his spouse Pat became interested in wine while he was at Stanford
University and on weekends they visited tasting rooms nearby and in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After medical
school, he practiced for two years on a Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 1971, they visited
Oregon. Pat had grown up on orchards in the Hood River so she was familiar with farm life. He started
working in internal medicine in Portland and emergency medicine on the Oregon Coast, earning enough to buy
property in the Willamette Valley.
He founded Elk Cove Vineyards in 1974 in Gaston (Yamhill-Carlton AVA) which today is one of Oregon’s oldest
wine producers. He planted his first ten acres of Coury selection Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (later grafted over
to Pinot Gris), began making wine in an old barn, and released his first wine in 1977. This was the first
commercial wine produced in the Yamhill-Carlton District. Single vineyard Pinot Noir has been offered since
1979. A new winery was built on the property in 1981 and vineyard properties were gradually added over the
years. Today, the winery farms over 220 acres of vineyards on four separate sites in the Willamette Valley
(Estate, Windhill, Mount Richmond and Five Mountain). Another 150 acres of vines are scheduled to be
planted over the next several years.
Dr. Campbell made wine for over twenty years while still practicing medicine. He has five offspring, with Adam
Godlee Campbell now the winemaker and his youngest daughter managing the winery photography and
website. He recalls that in the early years of the winery his two oldest sons worked in the vineyards when they
were ten years old, something that wouldn’t be allowed today. Dr. Campbell made wine with his son Adam in
1997 and 1998, and in 1999 Adam took over the winemaking duties. He still works at age 73 years as a family
practitioner in Portland (Pearl Health Center) and in emergency medicine on the Oregon Coast. He has
volunteered with Medical Teams International following disasters in New Orleans, Sri Lanka and Sol Sudan and
supports a small medical clinic in Arequipa, Peru.
When asked about his winemaking training, Dr. Campbell told me he had no mentor. He spent a harvest in
Burgundy and read everything he could get his hands on. “I attribute my success to hard physical work
growing up and a background in chemistry that made the chemistry of winemaking simple.” He was quoted in
a Stanford University publication (Bench & Bedside) as saying, “There’s a lot of science in winemaking. Of
course, there’s nothing more complex than the human body. But I do think the complexity of wine is attractive
to many physicians.”
Elk Cove Vineyards was the fifteenth largest producer in Oregon in 2011 (43,800 cases) and was the
Northwest Palate Magazine 2007 Northwest Winery of the Year. The winery focuses on Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris
and Pinot Blanc. Visit the website at www.elkcove.com.
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.55, 7,227 cases, $29.
A blend from several vineyards including Pommard and Dijon clones. Vine age 9 to 37 years, yield
1.6 tons per acre.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of fresh, dark red cherries,
raspberries and strawberries leap from the glass. The rich flavors echo the nose, with a well-balanced
backbone of acidity and tannin, and a strong, firm finish. A showy wine with surprising
richness for this vintage and the low alcohol level. One of Oregon’s consistently solid value-priced
Pinot Noirs. Produced in quantity and widely available. Good (+).
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Mount Richmond Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $48. Vineyard was planted in 1996 with cuttings from
Roosevelt Vineyard. Willakenzie soils.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. Great nose! Lovely aromas of black cherry fill the
glass like fresh cherries just off the tree. Aromas of spice and candied
cinnamon apple add interest. A cherry bombast on the palate that is flat
out delicious. A sensational wine that is moderately rich but strikingly
flavorful and composed in a seamless fashion with modest fine-grain tannins
and complimentary oak in the background. Plenty of Pinot singing in this great
Mauricio Collada, Jr., M.D.: Cubanisimo Vineyards
Undergraduate: University of Miami
Medical School: University of South Florida College of Medicine 1977
Residency: University of South Carolina Medical Center, General Surgery and Medical Center Louisiana New
Orleans LSU, Neurosurgery
Board Certification: Neurosurgery
Born in Havana, Cuba in the 1950s, Dr. Collada came to the United States with his family in 1962, a few years
after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. He developed an interest in wine while attending college and began
making wine at home from mangoes and bananas. His passion for wine continued through medical school.
He moved to Salem, Oregon, in 1983 to begin his neurosurgical practice, and developed a special interest in
In 1986, Dr. Collada bought a 21-acre parcel in the Eola-Amity Hills, and five years later planted 8 acres of
Pommard Pinot Noir on a southeast facing hillside. In 2001, he planted two more acres of Pinot Noir (115 and
777) and in 2007, two acres of Pinot Gris. Initially, he sold grapes to King Estate, Evesham Wood and Erath
and through his dealings with Erath got to know the winemaker at Erath, Rob Stuart, who was a mentor. In
2003, he started holding back 50% of his production to produce his own wines under the Cubanisimo
Vineyards label. Cubanisimo means “very Cuban.” When his winery contracts expired in 2005, he began to
keep all of his production and constructed a wine tasting facility.
Cubanisimo wines are currently produced at Rob Stuart’s winery in McMinnville, with plans to move wine
production to the estate in the future. Currently Dr. Collada produces 800 cases of estate Pinot Noir and 1,000
cases of Pinot Noir that blend estate grapes with grapes sourced from other vineyards. Production also
includes 150 cases of Rosado de Pinot Noir from estate fruit and a small amount of Pinot Gris. His spouse,
Debra, is a nurse who participates in harvest, bottling, manages the tasting room and distribution, and
coordinates events. Visit the website at www.cubanisimovineyards.com.
2010 Cubanisimo Rumba Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., $21, screwcap.
Light reddish color in
the glass. Aromas of red fruits and briar lead to crisp red cherry flavor with oak-driven notes of spice and tar.
A very delicate wine with prominent tannins that dominate the demure fruit. A summer sipper that would
benefit from ice. Decent.
2011 Cubanisimo Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., $30.
Light reddish-purple color in the
glass. Aromas and flavors of cherries, raspberries, savory herbs and spice underpinned with notes of tarry
oak. Balanced tannins and lively acidity make for refreshing drinking. Good.
Michael Dragutsky, M.D. & David Sloas, M.D.: Cornerstone/Stepping Stone
Medical School: Texas A&M College of Medicine 1982
Residency: Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis TN, Internal Medicine 1985
Fellowship: University of Tennessee, Gastroenterology 1987
Board Certification: Gastroenterology
Shortly after beginning medical practice, several of Dr. Dragutsky’s medical colleagues who were active in local
wine groups invited Dr. Dragutsky to participate in some of their wine events. His first truly memorable wine
was a bottle of 1982 Dom Perignon which he tasted at a New Year’s Celebration.
Dr. Sloas was a fellow gastroenterologist who Dr. Dragutsky was sharing call with in 1991 when Dr. Sloas had
lunch with noted vintner Randy Dunn in Napa. Dunn mentioned that he was going to have 5 extra tons of
grapes that year. Dr. Sloas called Dr. Dragutsky immediately and they bought Dunn’s overage of Howell
Mountain juice. Dr. Dragutsky was just learning the basics of wine at the time, so he had to make a quick study
of both wine and the wine business. Joined by Managing Partner Craig Camp, winemaker Jeff Keene and a
group of Memphis-based partners led by Hal Lewis and John Carrier, Cornerstone/Stepping Stone Cellars was
founded. Today, the winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc from
the Napa Valley under the Stepping Stone and Cornerstone labels.
Craig Camp enlisted noted Oregon winemaker Tony Rynders to produce Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley
beginning with the 2008 vintage under the Cornerstone Cellars label and Drs. Sloas and Dragutsky and their
investor partners joined in founding the new Oregon winery. Cornerstone now produces both Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley. Dr. Dragutsky is pictured below on right with winemaker Jeff Keene.
Current production in Napa and Oregon totals over 10,000 cases. Visit the website at
Dr. Dragutsky practices gastroenterology full time in Memphis, TN and is one of the founding members of
Gastro One, currently the twelfth largest gastroenterology group in the United States. He is also owner of
Phoenix Unequaled Home Entertainment, a nationally recognized residential systems integration company. He
spends at least 15 hours a week interacting with Craig Camp and staff in Napa, managing the financials, and
promoting Cornerstone Cellars.
I asked Dr. Dragutsky why he thought physicians were attracted to wine and the wine business. He said the
following. “Medicine is a very socially interactive profession where personal interactions between the physician
are of utmost importance. Likewise, wine is the epitome of a social experience. It is this commonality which I
believe attracts physicians to wine. In addition, both fields require in depth knowledge and are intellectually
challenging. It also confirms the adage that physicians are drawn to bad investments!”
2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 498 cases, $50.
Sourced from all six Williamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority (68%) from
the Yamhill-Carlton District. Aged 15 months in 62% new French oak.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherries and dark
berry compote with a hint of smoky oak. Not as expressive as it will be with
more bottle age, yet showing enticing flavors of dark cherries and raspberries
pulled into line with fine acidity and tannin. Finishes dry with a flourish of
cherries. Nicely composed and balanced and a worthy cellar candidate. Very
2010 Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 137 cases, $30. The painting on the label is
“Color of Life” by Oregon artist Janet Ekholm. Sourced from all six Willamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority
from Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills. Aged 13 months in 35% new French oak.
color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries and toasty oak. Mid weight core of dark cherry fruit
becoming more vibrant over time in the glass. Soft in the mouth with mild tannins and some length on the
earthy, fruit-driven finish. A straightforward, accessible wine showing a tad more oak than I prefer but otherwise
solid. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012.
Kristian Ferry, M.D.: Spencer Butte Vineyard/Abbelone Vineyards
Undergraduate: General and Molecular Biology, University of California at Irvine
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin 1994
Residency: Baylor University, General Surgery and University of Miami, Surgical Oncology
Board Certification: General Surgery
Dr. Ferry is the only Society of Surgical Oncology-trained physician in Oregon outside of Portland. A surgeon
at Oregon Medical Group in Eugene, he has received considerable praise for the Pinot Noir he crafts from the
5-acre Abbelone Vineyard located on the southeastern flank of Spencer Butte in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon
(south Willamette Valley). He and his spouse Angela first established the vineyard in 2002. The vineyard is
named in memory of Dr. Ferry’s mother and is planted to Pommard, 115 and 777 clones.
Dr. Ferry is a respected viticulturist and winemaker who actively works in his vineyard throughout the season,
performing eighty percent of the work himself. Come October, he crafts his Pinot Noir at Eugene Wine Cellars,
perfecting his technique from winemaker Greg Sothras. His first vintage was a 2009 Pinot Noir. In 2011, Dr.
Ferry added more acres of Pinot Noir and may include white varieties in the future. The website is currently
Dr. Ferry’s vineyard started out as a “fun diversion,” and a relief from the long hours he spends in hospitals
and operating rooms, but he keeps expanding, now slowly equipping the basement of his villa overlooking the
vineyard for winemaking. He attributes his interest in winegrowing and winemaking to an expression for his
Robert J. Gross, M.D.: Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Medical School: Emory University 1966
Residency: University of Washington 1977
Board Certification: Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr. Gross was at the University of Washington doing his residency when he and a group of fellow residents
started an amateur winemaking group. They rented some space in Pike Place Market before it was renovated
and while it was still economically plausible, and began ‘playing’ around. After residency, some of the
members of the group went to Eastern Washington to found a now shuttered winery called French Creek.
Dr. Gross was not interested in warm climate varieties and neither was his wife Corrine who grew up in Portland. They
went south to Oregon to find a suitable location to plant Pinot Noir, and found a 100-acre horse farm in the
Chehalem Mountains for sale where Corrine had grown up riding horses. In 1978, they bought the
property and planted vineyards which would become the location for Cooper Mountain Vineyards which was
established in 1987.
When I asked Dr. Gross “Why wine?”, he answered that he already had the organic chemistry background.
“Why the emphasis on organics and biodynamics?”, he said that it was for his health.
Dr. Gross still practices in Portland and continues to oversee the winery operations and production. Cooper
Mountain Vineyards has been a pioneer among Oregon wineries in practicing organic and biodynamic
viticulture. Organic certification by Oregon Tilth came in 1995 and Biodynamic® certification by Demeter®
followed in 1999. In 2002, Cooper Mountain Vineyards was the first winery in the United States to gain label
approval for a no sulfite added wine and carry the USDA Organic seal. The winery’s sulfite free Pinot Noir has
developed a cult following. In addition, there are reserve bottlings and single vineyard options. Pinot Gris,
Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay are also offered. The winemaker is Gilles De Domingo. Visit the website at
2009 Cooper Mountain Vineyard Mountain Terroir Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA
0.57, 290 cases, $45. Biodynamic® by Demeter®.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very
shy nose with delicate aromas of blackberry jam. Mid weight flavors of plum reduction sauce and blackberries
accented with tempered oak, balanced with firm tannins and finishing with notable power. Very tasty and offers
a sensual, velvety mouth feel to boot. Very good.
2010 Cooper Mountain Vineyard Mountain Terroir Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $50. Biodynamic® by Demeter®.
Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. This wine shows a heavy oak topcoat that is currently
burying the luscious and markedly intense dark red fruit core. A middleweight
wine with restrained tannins and balancing acidity, that will benefit from more
time in bottle to fully integrate the oak. That said, this wine displays a
remarkably fleshy fruit profile. Good.
2011 Cooper Mountain Vineyards “Life” Willamette Valley Organic Wine
13.0% alc., $35. No sulfite added during winemaking. Certified organic by
Oregon Tilth. Biodynamic® by Demeter®.
Moderately light reddish-purple color
in the glass. Very fruity, upfront nose offering aromas of strawberry, cherry, red
fruit punch and sandalwood. A Beaujolais styled wine, with pleasant flavors of
red fruits including red plum and a subtle hint of savory herbs. Mild, but evident
tannins, with a bright finish. Crafted for early drinking and an excellent wine for
the table. Good.
Marvin Haussman, M.D.: Quailhurst Vineyard Estate
Medical School: New York University School of Medicine 1967
Residency: General Surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital New York and Urological Surgery at U.C.L.A. Medical Center
Board Certification: Urology
Dr. Haussman, a native of New York, and his spouse Deborah, who was raised in the Northwest, established
Quailhurst Vineyard Estate in 1997 in Sherwood, Oregon. The 35-acre estate was built in the 1930s and was
renowned for its Japanese gardens and many varieties of roses. They renovated the property to grow wine
grapes and to breed and train competition dressage horses.
The first Dijon clone Pinot Noir vines were planted in 1998 and the first Pinot Noir bottled from the 2001 vintage
under the Quailhurst Vineyard Estate label. The vineyard produces about 15 tons of Pinot Noir grapes per year
from which several estate Pinot Noirs and Pinot Noir ports are released. The website is www.quailhurst.com.
Dr. Haussman has over thirty years of experience in drug development and clinical care experience at various
pharmaceutical companies including working with Bristol-Myers International, Mead-Johnson Pharmaceutical
Co., and E.R. Squibb. He was the President and CEO of OXIS International until 2008 and Chairman of the
Board of Axonyx from 1997 until its merger with Torrey Pines Therapeutics in 2006. This company has patent
rights to two main classes of therapeutic compounds designed for the treatment of age related and disease
related dementias, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Haussman cofounded Medco Research Inc., a
pharmaceutical biotechnology company. He has served in executive positions most recently for Entia
Biosciences, Inc., Genesis Biopharma, and Total Nutraceutical Solutions.
He has focused on formulating and marketing products composed primarily of organic natural mushroom
compounds that contain bioactive nutrients for potential health benefits. His special interest in mushrooms has
developed because it is believed that when metabolized with food, they provide many nutrients that are
invaluable for the human immune system and for normal cellular function.
2010 Quailhurst Vineyard Estate TJ’s Reserve Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $60.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Shy aromas of red fruit, oak and walnuts. Mid weight flavors
of red fruits including sweet cherries and cranberries with complimentary oak in
background. A feminine style with supple tannins, a good cut of acidity, and
impressive cherry fruit on the finish. This wine grows on you the more time you
spend with it. Very good.
Donald R. Olson, M.D., MBA: Torii Mor Winery
Medical School: University of Wisconsin Medical School 1961
Residency: University of Illinois 1966, Fellowship at Hospital Foch University Paris 1971
Board Certification: American Board of Neurosurgery
Dr. Olson founded Torii Mor Winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon in 1993 as a tribute to his late son, Leif.
Olson had been a lover of French Burgundy while a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the Oregon Health
Sciences University in Portland. The winery was initially a small project intended to showcase fruit from his
vineyard that was planted in 1972, one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Situated at 800 feet,
the vineyard is just under 15 acres and is planted to Pinot Noir. The winery released its first vintage in 1993.
The name Torri Mor comes from the Japanese, “Torii,” referring to the beautiful gates often seen at the
entrances of gardens, and, “Mor,” is a Scandinavian word meaning earth and chosen as a homage to Olson’s
Scandinavian heritage. By joining these two languages, an image of a gate to the earth was created.
A LEED certified solar-array gravity flow winery opened on the property in 2007. The estate has a quaint
Japanese theme and is unique among Oregon wineries. Burgundian Jacques Tardy became the winemaker in
2004. Dr. Olson continues his involvement in the winery as General Manager and CEO. He is at the winery on
a daily basis, and very involved with the day-to-day activities of the winery. Current production is 15,000 cases,
predominantly Pinot Noir, both appellation-designated and vineyard-designated. The Olson Estate Vineyard
is the cornerstone of production, but fruit is sourced from other AVAs and the Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley.
Visit the website at www.toriimorwinery.com.
Dr. Olson has been an advocate of the health benefits of wine and given many presentations on the subject. At
one time, federal regulators forced him to change the aphoristic “make glad the heart with wine” on his label
because it represented an apparent “health statement.”
In 2011, after a break from neurosurgery for ten years, Dr. Olson volunteered with Medical Teams International
to perform battlefield surgery on freedom fighters in Libya.
2009 Torii Mor Olson Estate Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 350 cases, $60. Pommard, Coury and 667 clones. Yields <2
tons per acre. Aged in 10% new, 18% 1 and 2-year-old, and the rest neutral
French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas
arrive over time in the glass, showing scents of black cherries, black plum, and a
hint of oak. Medium weight flavors of black cherries, dark red berries, black tea,
anise and oak backed by some drying tannins and lively acidity. The wine
finishes with pleasing aromatic intensity. Very good.
2010 Torii Mor Oregon Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., $24, screwcap.
Light reddish-purple color in the glass.
Delicate red fruit aromas with prominent smoky oak. Austere with flavors of tart red cherries, spice and a green
note in the background. Very mild tannins and brisk acidity. The fruit appears under ripe and oak shows up
with unwelcome dominance. Decent.
2010 Torii Mor Reserve Deux Verres Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 650 cases, $38. Deux
Verres means “Two Glasses” in French. Sourced from six vineyards in the Dundee Hills and Chehalem
Mountains. Aged 15 months in 20% new, 41% 1 and 2-year-old, and 33% neutral French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Dark red fruits are featured on the nose and palate.
Relatively modest in weight, but flavorful, featuring red cherry and cranberry tastes. Juicy, with mild tannins
and a good cut of citrusy acidity. Good.
Madaiah Revana, M.D.: Revana and Alexana Wineries
Medical School: Mysore Medical College India (first in his class)
Internship: Coney Island Hospital
Residency: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia
Fellowship: Baylor University Medical Center
Board Certification: Cardiology and Internal Medicine
Dr. Revana grew up in rural India near Bangalore where his family had been farming for generations. This
farming heritage led to his instinct for winegrowing. He was first introduced to wine by friends and became
fascinated with Bordeaux’s first growths while practicing cardiology in Houston, Texas. He traveled to the wine
regions of Europe and the United States and became determined to establish a world class vineyard estate. In
1997, on a visit to the Napa Valley, he found a small parcel of prime vineyard land in St. Helena. In 1998, he
hired vineyard manager Jim Barbour to plant and maintain the 9-acre vineyard. He started Revana Family
Vineyard, and released the first vintage in 2001. Noted winemaker Heidi Barrett was the initial winemaker and
today Thomas Brown directs the winemaking at Revana.
In time Dr. Revana developed a love for great Burgundy wines as well. After enlisting the assistance of
winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash (Rex Hill from 1988 to 2002 and now Penner-Ash Wines), he acquired 80 acres
in the Dundee Hills in 2005 and started Alexana Winery, named after his daughter, Alexandra Revana. 16 acres
of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris had already been established and an additional 39 acres of Pinot Noir, Riesling
and Chardonnay was added. Today, the vineyard, which has an unusually complex diversity of soils and
exposures, has grown to over 55 acres.
Lynn Penner-Ash became the winemaker for the new winery and is currently assisted by associate winemaker
The first two Alexana estate wines, a Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and a Pinot Noir from Shea Vineyard, were
released from the 2006 vintage. Production is now 5,000 cases annually. A tasting room in a LEED certified
Gold three-story house is located on NE Worden Hill Road in Newberg. Visit the website at
2010 Alexana Revana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., 1,654 cases, $42.
A blend of eight clones.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely nose offering aromas of
black cherries, black raspberries, and subtle oak spice, fading a bit over time in the glass. Modest but
appealing richness featuring well-spiced black cherry and dark berry fruits with a hint of dried herbs in the
background. A wine of attractive finesse with mild tannins and a fruit-filled finish. Balance is spot on.
2010 Alexana Signature Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 236 cases, $75. A barrel selection from estate fruit.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose picking up
interest and intensity over time in the glass offering alluring aromas of
dark red cherries and berries accented with nutmeg spice. Seamless
and soft in the mouth, even creamy, with a full-bodied core of deep red
cherry and berry fruits backed by well-integrated oak. Similar to the
regular bottling in flavor but more stacked and packed. Remarkable phenolic
ripeness and intensity at a relatively low alcohol percentage.
Earl VanVolkinburg, M.D.: Vitae Springs Vineyard
Medical School: Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine
Residency: David Grant USAF Medical Center
Board Certification: Internal Medicine
Dr. VanVolkinburg is a practicing internist in Salem, Oregon, who developed an interest in wine while serving in
the United States Air Force in the Mosel Valley in Germany from 1971 to 1974. He spent many
hours working in vineyards and cellars. When he finished residency in 1977, he and his spouse Pam looked
for a town that needed an internist and had suitable land for growing wine grapes. In 1977, he bought 18 acres
south of Salem and planted 1 acre of mostly Riesling since that was the only grape he knew much about. More acreage has been added over time, and as
one of the first families to plant a vineyard in the Willamette Valley, the Vitae Springs Vineyard has some of the
oldest vines in the region.
Today, Dr. VanVolkinburg’s son Joel manages the 31 acres of vineyards (25 acres Pinot Noir, 5 acres Pinot
Gris, 2.5 acres Riesling and a small amount of Grüner Veltliner) and most of the winemaking chores (Joe
Dobbes, Jr., has been a winemaking consultant). Soils are both Jory and Nekia, and clones of Pinot Noir
include 667, 777, 115 and Pommard.
Small lots of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Pinot Noir are produced under the Vitae Springs
Vineyard label and some vineyard production is sourced by premium wine producers in the Willamette Valley
such as St. Innocent. The 2011 Grüner Veltliner is the nation’s first and oldest (30 years) estate grown and
produced bottling of Grüner Veltliner. The family’s two car garage doubles as a tasting room. Fewer than
1,000 cases of wine are produced each year. Visit the website at www.vitaesprings.com.
Dr. VanVolkinburg likes to quote Paul who wrote to Timothy in Timothy 5:23, “Stop drinking just water, but have
a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your infirmities.”
Mark Wahle, M.D.: Wahle Vineyards & Cellars
Medical School: University of California at Davis 1993
Residency: Louisiana State School of Medicine
Board Certification: Emergency Medicine
Dr. Wahle and his parents established a 10-acre vineyard in Yamhill, Oregon, in 1974. This is now considered
a “parent” vineyard along with Elk Cove Estate of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. This became his school agricultural
project and required considerable after school and weekend work to establish and maintain the vineyard. Most
of the planting material was from the nursery of Charles Coury and included a large planting of the Coury
“clone.” When Dr. Wahle attended viticulture meetings with local grape growers, there was no viticulture and
enology program available in Oregon for university level study. Dr. Wahle considered programs at Cornell,
Geisenheim and Stellenboch, but ultimately found the University of California at Davis program the best fit. He
attended the Viticulture and Enology program (Fermentation Science) as a Regents Scholar.
At Davis, the professors suggested caution in Oregon winegrowing attempts, yet they provided an education
that prepared him for winemaking in any region of the world. Dr. Wahle gained practical winemaking
experience at Chateau St. Jean in California, Chateau Benoit in Oregon and in an exchange program in the
Rheinhessen region of Germany. Upon returning to Oregon he discovered that his family transition plan had
stalled and this was a life-changing event for him. Unsure of what to do next, he took a break and backpacked
with a friend throughout Central America. Experiences on this trip supported an interest in medicine. Growing
up in a small farm town in Oregon, he did not have exposure to a medical career path. While attending Davis,
many classmates were “pre-med,” and they had encouraged him to take this path. He had essentially
completed the “pre-med” curriculum with his earlier fermentation studies and needed only to add a zoology
Dr. Wahle chose to return to Davis for the medicine program. His Fermentation Science advisor was dismayed
that he gave up winemaking, but he reassured her that he ultimately planned to be involved in both careers.
He is now a practicing emergency medicine physician in Portland part of the week, and works at his vineyards
and winery for the rest of the week. A second vineyard has been established in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA known
as Holmes Hill Vineyard.
Current production at Wahle Vineyards is 1000+ cases of estate Pinot Noir at Carlton Winemakers Studio while
a new winery is completed at the Holmes Hill Vineyard site. This includes production for James Moises, M.D.,
an emergency medicine colleague in New Orleans. Dr. Moises makes several visits a year to Oregon wine
country to participate in grape growing and winemaking. Dr. Wahle also produces wine for Drs. Nicholas and
Haydee Bazab, neuroscientists who also live in New Orleans. He has collaborated with them on studies
related to the antioxidant properties of Pinot Noir.
Dr. Wahle told me the following. “While many see these two career paths as an unusual pairing, I simply
remind them of the amazing content overlap that exists. Furthermore, I see the two fields as complimentary in
practice. After a stretch of chaotic emergency medicine shifts, it is a relief to shift gears and return to outdoor
work in the vineyard. Even with all the scientific advances in enology, there is still room for artistic expression
during the winemaking process. After an exhausting harvest season, it also seems ‘balancing’ to return to the
hospital to resume work in the fascinating and ever-changing field of medicine.”
Wahle Vineyards & Cellars website is www.wvcellars.com.
2007 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $42.
Sourced from the original estate vineyard planting of 1974, one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black fruit, pipe tobacco, bark,
dark rose petals and a pharmaceutical note. Juicy and smooth on the palate with mid weight flavors of
blackberries and black currant backed by sinewy tannins and bright acidity. Good.
2008 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Holmes Hill Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $33. Vineyard is named
after H.N.V. Holmes who set out from Missouri in search of his land
claim in 1848.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
Tight initially, opening gradually to reveal aromas of dark berry fruit
and subtle oak. Discreetly concentrated flavors of dark berries and
plum with hints of graham, chocolate and savory oak. Svelte tannins
and balanced acidity. A thoroughly pleasing wine that is nicely balanced.
2009 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $30. Composed of grapes from
the older Wahle Estate Yamhill Vineyard and the younger Holmes Hill Vineyard.
Light reddish-purple color in
the glass. Aromas of dark red cherries and mocha. A solid wine with pleasing flavors of ripe cherries, spice
and herbs, offering very supple tannins, and a juicy, fruity finish. Good.
2009 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $45.
Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex array of scents including black cherry, blackberry, smoky oak
and cut grass. Deep, dark cherry and raspberry flavor with impressive intensity and lingering finishing power.
The oak is well integrated, the tannins are nicely balanced, and although a big wine, it carries its weight
beautifully. Very good.
2009 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Holmes Hill Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $36.
Light in color with a reddish tone in the glass. The nose offers a sophisticated array
of aromas including dark red and black berries, dried herbs including sage, and old book. Very soft
in the mouth with vivid flavors of dark red cherries and savory herbs, finishing with some persistence.
A nicely balanced wine that aims to please with its easy, approachable charm. Very good.
John Zelko, M.D., FACS: Z’IVO Wines
Medical School: University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI 1978
Residency: University of Colorado, Denver, CO 1983
Board Certification: General Surgery
Dr. Zelko comes from a family of doctors. His father was an ophthalmologist and his brother still is. He told me
he could remember sitting at the kitchen table with a microscope putting Tennant Mark VIII intraocular lenses in
pig’s eyes. His father was always disappointed that he didn’t follow his career path, but at least his brother did.
Dr. Zelko moved to Oregon from Denver after he finished training in 1983. What drew him there was Ken
Kasey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, perhaps the greatest Oregon book ever written. He quickly met Rachel
Starr who owned Great Wine Buys and became enamored of the local wines. He participated in wine tasting
courses and brewed beer because at the time there were no microbrews, no one sold quality grapes to
amateurs, and F.H. Steinbart Co. Homebrew Supply Shop was close by in Portland. When Rachel and friends
started Starr Winery, he and his wife became night time and weekend cellar rats. Eventually they bought a ton
or two of Pinot Noir from lesser known vineyards and made their first wine in Linton. This went on from 1992 to
1999 when Starr Winery moved to Newberg.
The Zelkos bought 40 acres in the Eola-Amity Hills from a radiologist who thought he could use his 401K
money to plant a vineyard. When he was unsuccessful, they took the property in 1995 and started planting it in
1996. The Zelkos preferred the wines from what is now the Eola-Amity Hills AVA because they liked “the gutsy,
earthy backbone and black fruit flavors.” The site is situated at 150 to 400 feet with soils ranging from Yamhill
Dr. Zelko was intrigued with the Dijon clones and thought that a blend of multiple clones would yield a more
complex and age worthy wine distinctly different from the wines based solelyon Pommard and Wädenswil
clones so prevalent in Oregon. He thought that a mixture of earlier ripening clones in a slightly warmer site
would favor more years with adequate ripeness and that is what happened. The Z’IVO wines are big and bold,
the use of native yeast fermentation has resulted in the complexity he preferred and the wines are maturing
Dr. Zelko has also made white varietals with purchased grapes and recently planted the “Gouges” clone of
Pinot Blanc that Gary Andrus brought to Archery Summit when he made Viriton. 2011 was the first vintage.
The winery was initially named Zelko but had to be changed to Z’IVO Wines when Zelko Vodka presented him
with a trademark challenge. A month of googling and research came up with a play on Dr. Zelko’s name. His
wife, Kathy the lawyer, suggested he put an apostrophe in there to make it fanciful and get it through trademark
clearance. In Slovak, ‘zivo’ means vibrant or to be alive as well as Ivo’s. So Z’IVO can be interpreted as Ivo’s
wines or wines that are vibrant and alive. Dr. Zelko likes to say Kathy is a wine “fan” and he is more of a
When asked why physicians like to get into grapes and wine Dr. Zelko told me the following. “We have a
strong biochemistry background, some disposable income, and the desire to marry art, craft and science in a
manner different from the practice of medicine. Grape growers, winemakers and all the farmers, chefs and
people passionate about wine and the immediacy of a good life are great people to spend our free time with.
Who knows better than us life’s tragedies and sorrows and the need to share what is good.”
Z’IVO Pinot Noir is produced entirely from the estate vineyard. Several aromatic white wines are also offered.
The wines are handcrafted at Walnut City Wine Works in McMinnville, a small consortium of winemakers who
grow their own grapes. The first vintage was 2000. Visit the website at www.zivowines.com.
2007 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 1,800 cases, $36. Estate vineyard
fruit, clones 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. 12 day cold soak, cultured yeasts, 20% whole cluster. Aged in
33% new French oak.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Marked sulfur related reduction upon
opening which had largely blown off by the following day from an opened bottle. The core of black cherry fruit
is juicy and fresh, complimented by a note of wood spice, caressed by supple tannins, and backed by good
2008 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 1,000 cases, $40. All five estate
vineyard clones. Ambient yeast fermentation after 1 week cold soak. 20% whole cluster. Aged in 33% new
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Appealing aromatic profile featuring scents of dark
red cherries and berries including ripe strawberries, and spice. Middleweight, slightly confected black cherry
core with a hint of brown spices and a subtle riff of salty minerality and oak in the background. Nicely balanced
with bright acidity. Good (+).
2008 Z’IVO Whole Cluster Project Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 160 cases, $40. From all five
estate vineyard clones. Large harvest of 3 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster, barefoot punch downs, ambient
yeast fermentation. Aged in 33% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
Appealing aromas of dark stone and berry fruits, nicely spiced and offering a hint of rose petals. Mid weight,
sweet plum and blackberry flavors with firm tannins and a long, long finish. The fruit is striking in intensity and
brilliance. Drinkable now, but will benefit from more time in bottle, and should readily age in the cellar.
2009 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $N/A.
Light reddish-purple color in
the glass. Reduction upon opening which resolves over time. Curiously light in weight for this warm vintage,
but not overripe as wines from this vintage in Oregon are prone to be. Flavors of red cherries with
complimentary oak in the background, mild tannins, and finishing with a good cut of citrus-driven acidity and
notable persistence. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good.
2009 Z’IVO Whole Cluster Project Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 138 cases, $40. Clones are 115, Pommard, 114, 667 and 777. 100% whole cluster. Punch downs with bare feet twice a day for seven days. Wild yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 25% new, 35% once filled and the remainder neutral French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. This is a
wine that attracts your full attention the minute the cork is pulled and all
that wonderful Pinot goodness jumps from the glass. I could not get
enough of this nose redolent of black cherries, spice and rose petals.
On the palate, there is a delicious essence of dark cherries with a spicy
touch that really pops. Very silky and charming, with a healthy
backbone of fine-grain tannins. A complete and harmonious wine.
When whole cluster is right, it produces the most ethereal expression of Pinot
Noir in the world. Should get even better with cellaring.
2011 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc
12.0% alc., 220
cases, $N/A. Inaugural vintage for this wine. The fruit is a rare spontaneous
mutation of Pinot Noir known as the Gouges clone. Vinified in 50% neutral oak
and 50% stainless steel.
Very light straw color and clear in the glass. Intriguing
aromas of applesauce, apple core, sap and a subtle floral note. Light in weight
with bracing lemon-lime acidity, offering flavors of green apples and honey in a
crisp, dry French style. Needs food, and I would chill the wine and serve with
shellfish, particularly oysters. Good.
Still more “Pinot Noir Doctors.”
Douglas Ackerman, M.D.: Armstrong Vineyard
Dr. Ackerman graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1988, did his residency in urology at
the Oregon Health and Science University and now practices in Clackamas, Oregon. Along with spouse
Michelle, he bought and planted in 2007 16 acres of vineyard on the site of a former horse farm in the Ribbon
Ridge AVA of the Willamette Valley. The vineyard is just below Ayres and Brick House on Lewis Rogers Lane.
Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, 114, 115, 667 and 777. Grapes were sold beginning with the inaugural 2010
vintage to Ayres, Seven of Hearts Winery and Vincent Wine Company.
2010 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5%alc., 98 cases, $35. Released
March 15, 2012. Vineyard farmed by owners Dough and Michelle
Ackerman. 50% Pommard and 50% 666 with 67% whole cluster
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Very
bright and enticing aromas of fresh berries and rose petals. Big-boned
core of purple and black berries and black plum with a subtle oak underpinning.
The fruit is overshadowed by the prodigious tannins now, but there is enough
fruit presence to grab your attention. More body and fruit than the Lia’s. Needs
more time in the cellar, but very promising. Very good (+).
Jack Bagdade, M.D.: Domaine Meriwether
Dr. Bagdade is a graduate of Cornell University Medical School and board certified in internal medicine,
endocrinology and metabolism. He formed Pike & Western Wine Merchants at Pike Place Market in Seattle in
1975. He soon wanted to produce world class sparkling wines and by the 1990s had founded Domaine
Meriwether. Dr. Bagdade recruited French winemaker Jean-Louis Denois who
hailed from Cumieres, just north of Epernay in Champagne. Their first harvest together was 1998. In 2005, Dr.
Bagdade returned to his medical calling and Ed Buzz Kawders step in to guide the winery and he enlisted
winemaker Raymond Welsh to continue the vision of the winery. Today, the winery produces sparkling wines
and still wines including Pinot Noir. The winery is located in Veneta, Oregon, outside of Eugene. The website is
Edward Koo, M.D.: Temperance Hill Vineyard,
Dr. Koo is a graduate of the medical school at Duke University, a pathologist and neurologist, who is currently a professor at University of California at San Diego School of Medicine who conducts research in the cellular and molecular biology of Alzheimer's Disease and neurodegeneration. He is a popular teacher and renowned researcher with over 125 publications to his credit. Edward and Lin Shen Koo established Temperance Hill Vineyard in 1980 and 1981. It is 100 acres made up of about 20 different blocks on a 200-acre site in the west Eola Hills, just west of Salem, Oregon. 80% of the vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir with lesser amounts of Chardonnay, Gewüztraminer and Pinot Gris. Dai Crisp has managed the vineyard since 1999 in accordance with Oregon Tilth Organic Certification standards. Grapes are sold to twenty clients, including such notable wineries as Adelsheim, Bergström, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Evesham Wood, Lange, Panther Creek and St. Innocent.
Henry Pollack, M.D.: Noble Pig Winery
Noble Pig Winery was founded in 2008 by winemaker Cathy Pollack and her physician spouse, Henry Pollack,
M.D.. The couple spent most of their life in Southern California where Henry had a successful obstetrics and
gynecoloogy practice until health problems cut his career short. They moved to Davis, California, where Cathy
enrolled in the school’s Viticulture and Enology Program. During her schooling, Dr. Pollack was diagnosed with
Parkinson’s Disease. The Pollacks found a home in the McMinnville AVA where they bought 88 acres and
planted their first 4 acres of Pinot Noir in 2010 (Pommard, 777 and 115). They plan to source grapes initially
and gradually increase production to 5,000 cases. The website is www.noblepigwinery.com.
Annual Passport to Pinot Weekend Sponsored by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers
(RRVW), this event will take place June 8 & 9 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. More than 30 wineries will
participate. This link provides specific information about the weekend events: www.rrrvw.org/passport-to-pinot/.
This year’s event programming will be greatly expanded in 2014 as the Pinot Classic will debut June 12 to 15,
2014, offering winemaker dinners and receptions; barrel, vertical and library tastings; private and public winery
tours; and a grand barrel auction and dinner.
West of West Wine Festival This pinotcentric event will be held August 2, 3 and 4 in Sebastopol and
will feature over 40 participating West Sonoma County wineries. Welcome dinners Friday night, August 2,
Saturday morning seminars and the first of two Grand Tastings on Saturday afternoon, August 3, and a repeat
of the Grand Tasting on Sunday afternoon, August 4, following morning vineyard tours. West of West (WOW is
sponsored by West Sonoma County Vintners (WSCV), an association of wineries who farm wine grapes on the
coastline of Sonoma County. For information and tickets, visit www.westsonomacoast.com. This will sell out!
(The event will be held in downtown Sebastopol at the new Barlow conference center. There are two hotels
within walking distance: Fairfield Inn & Suites is about 1.5 miles away and Sebastopol Inn is across the street)
9th Annual Pinot Days San Francisco Grand Festival Public Tasting A very large
gathering of Pinot Noir producers, primarily from California, on Sunday, June 30 at Festival Pavilion, Fort
Mason, San Francisco. Three seminars are offered on Saturday, June 29, including “A Sojourn Through The
Many Styles of Northern California Appellations,” “Celebrated Vineyards: Keefer Ranch, Pisoni, Bien Nacido
and Gap’s Crown,” and “Jean Charles Boisset Focus Tasting.” Tastings are also scheduled at various area
retailers the week before the Grand Festival. For tickets visit www.pinotdays.com.
Pali Wine Co. Secures Long Term Lease on Huber Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills The
Huber Vineyard was first planted by Norman and Traudl Huber in 1987-88, making it one of the oldest
vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The vineyard is planted to 8 acres of Pinot Noir clone 115 and 3 acres of
Pinot Noir clone 667. There is also 11 acres of Wente clone Chardonnay. Pali plans to produce a vineyarddesignate
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the property as well as include some fruit for the Summit Sta. Rita
Hills appellation bottling. The Huber family will continue to produce Dornfelder from the 1.5 acres planted on
C. Donatiello Winery Grand Opening Celebration C. Donatiello, the winery formerly located
on Westside Road and a producer of ultra premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, has re emerged and is
opening a new tasting room at 320 Center Street in Healdsburg. Visit www.cdonatiello.com.
Oregon’s Oldest Estate Winery Awarded Historical Status HillCrest Winery and Distillery,
the birthplace of Oregon Pinot Noir, was awarded historical status by Oregon Travel Experience and a state
marker will be place at the winery to commemorate the first planting of Pinot Noir grapes in the state in 1961.
HillCrest was established by Richard Sommer, the “Father of Oregon Wine,” and co-founder of the Oregon
Wine Board. Under his leadership, HillCrest was the first winery in America to use stainless steel tanks. The
current proprietor is Dyson DeMara who produces 1,400 cases annually from Oregon’s oldest dry farmed
hillside vineyards. For more information, visit www.hillcrestvineyard.com.
Sideways Author Rex Pickett Releases a Pinot Noir Rex Pickett has released the 2011 Ne
Plus Ultra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The wine is produced from grapes grown at Twelve Oaks Estate
Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA and crafted by the winemaking team of Drew Voit and Darcy
Pendergrass. Quigley Fine Wines helped to fund the project and offer the wine for sale. Total production was
195 cases ($45). Pickett is currently working on a third novel in the Sideways series to be set in Chile. He is
also hoping to have a film sequel based on his second novel Vertical. According to Decanter.com (May 22,
2013), Pickett is also pushing to get Sideways The Play on Broadway. After a successful run at the Ruskin
Group Theater in Santa Monica last year, the play will open at the La Jolla Playhouse near San Diego in mid-
July and is expected to run for five weeks. Tony-award winning director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) will direct at
New Winemaker at ROAR Wines Gary Franscioni has announced that with the 2013 vintage, Scott
Shapely will take the winemaking reigns from Ed Kurtzman. Kurtzman left to devote more time to his own wine
labels and successful consulting business. ROAR will now have a full time, in house winemaker. Shapely has
worked side-by-side with Ed over the past year and Adam Lee will continue to consult.
Hanzell Vineyards to Introduce New Single Vineyard Selections Sixty years after the
first grapevines were planted on the Hanzell estate, this producer introduces the first in a series of new Estate
Single Vineyard wines. These very limited, small production wines will provide a snapshot of specific blocks of
the winery’s 46 planted acres. The 2010o Hanzell Pinot Noir, Sessions Vineyard ($95) celebrates Winemaker
Emeritus Bob sessions. Only 99 cases of this wine were produced. The 4.5-acre Sessions Vineyard was
planted in 1999 and features unique rootstock and scion combinations. Two additional Estate Single Vineyard
wines will be released later this fall: 2011 Hanzell Chardonnay, de Brye Vineyard and 2011 Hanzell
Chardonnay, Ambassador’s 1953 Vineyard. In 2014, the winery will introduce wines from two other vineyards,
Ramos and Day. Tasting notes for the Sessions Vineyard Pinot Noir can be found on Hanzell Vineyards’ new
website which includes one of the most in-depth tasting note archives of Hanzell wines publicly available,
allowing a search of vintages dating back to 1967.
German Pinot Road Tour 2013 German Pinot Noirs are in a break out mode and this insider tour will
include sessions with top German Pinot Noir winemakers, cultural and historical highlights, artisan food and
regional cuisine. Taste your way through Franconia, the Rhine area, the Palatinate, Black Forest and Baden.
The German Pinot Road Tour includes 8 nights and 9 days, private visits to more than 17 top Pinot Noir estates
including Ziereisen, Salwey, Gutzler, Becker, and Thoerle Estate. A special workshop and tasting will be
conducted by David Schildknecht, German wine specialist for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. For more
information call +1 215 991 9892, visit www.treasuresofeuropetours.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The photo below is of Christoph
and Johannes Thoerle of Thoerle Estate in Rheinhessen.
Watering Back Alcohol Levels One of the worst kept secrets in winemaking is the often used
practice of adding water to reduce alcohol percentages of wines in which grapes are picked at high Brix levels.
Consumers consider this practice an inferior form of winemaking. The Drinks Business (May 17, 2013)
reported that French winemaker Michel Chapoutier is concerned with rising alcohol levels caused by increasing
CO2 levels. To solve this problem he proposed several solutions but was most emphatic about adding water to
achieve lower alcohol levels without diluting the flavor. He found that in tests he conducted, wine with water
added was preferred of all the samples.
Proposal to Reduce Legal Driving Limit to 0.05% BAC The National Transportation Safety
Board (NTSB)has proposed lowering the legal limit for BAC while driving to 0.05%. Many groups have been
outspoken opponents of this proposal despite the NTSB’s assertion that a driver with a BAC of 0.05% is more
likely to be in an automobile crash than a driver who has consumed no alcohol. A driver with the current liomit
BAC of 0.08% (0.04% for commercial vehicle drivers) is 169% more likely to have an automobile accident than
a sober driver. Currently, more than 100 countries have limits at or below 0.05%. According to the California
DMV table that accompanies car registration renewals, lowering the BAC limit to 0.05% would essentially limit
drivers to one standard drink, especially if they weight less than 140 pounds for women and 100 pounds for
men and two standard drinks would put both men and women at high risk for exceeding the limit.
Jackson Family Wines Buys Zena West Vineyard K-J continues to buy up Oregon vineyard
land. The 41-acre Zena West Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA is the latest acquisition. Zena West
Vineyard is adjacent Zena East and Zena Middle estates, which the company bought in March 2013. The
three vineyards together are known as Zena Crown and consist of 80 acres of vines. K-J has also bought a
200-acre vineyard known as Gran Moraine in the Yamhill-Carlton district of Oregon. K-J plans to produce
premium Pinot Noir from these vineyards. The acquisitions are a stunning change in the Willamette Valley
where there has been little large corporate vineyard ownership.
NW Wine Co. Acquires Nearly 400 Acres NW Wine Co. bought two Willamette Valley Vineyards
for $3.87 million. The Wildewood and Domaine Loubejac vineyards near Monmouth include 385 acres of Pinot
Noir and Pinot Gris. NW Wine Co. already manages 185 acres near McMinnville and has a 45,000-square-foot
winery and 15-acre vineyard at its Dundee home. NW Wine Co. becomes number two in the state for
ownership of planted vineyards behind Duck Pond. Laurent Montalieu is NW Wine Co.’s winemaker and
managing partner. Montalieu said that the acquisition was needed to guarantee a supply of grapes needed to
supply the custom labels made for restaurants, retailers and distributors in the United States.
Valley Fever Cases Rises in Southwest Valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis is a fungus disease
that affects an estimated 150,000 people nationwide, particularly in parts of California and Arizona. There is no
vaccine or curative treatment. Current anti-fungal medication has marked side effects. The fungal spores live
in the soil and can be inhaled into the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention reports the total number of valley fever cases nationwide rose by 900 percent
from 1998 to 2011. Workers in vineyards and winemakers are at higher risk. Todd Schaefer, a winemaker in
Paso Robles, California is one of those who became sick after running a bulldozer. He has been taking antifungal
medication for years but his health is faltering as he continues to produce Pinot Noir and other wines at
Pacific Coast Vineyards. Visit www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/13/181880987/cases-of-mysterious-valleyfever-
CA Vintner Gives $25 Million plus New Wine to Univ of New Hampshire Each
member of the inaugural graduating class of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the
University of New Hampshire will receive a bottle of 2011 Peter Paul Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with their
diplomas. The wine, made by California vintner and university alumnus Peter Paul, carries the designation,
“Live Free or die,” a phrase best known as the New Hampshire State motto and first uttered by Revolutionary
War hero General John Stark. Mr. Paul gave a $25 million challenge grant to his alma mater in 2008 to build
the new business college. 500 cases of the wine are available for sale at www.peterpaulwines.com.
New Zealand Vintage 2013 a Winner Vintage 2013 is predicted to be one of the best in history for
New Zealand wine. Across the entire country, the summer of 2013 offered weeks of sunshine, warm
temperatures and a lack of rain. Central Otago experienced a late frost in November which reduced yields by
10% to 15%, but the summer provided long, warm days and kept the vineyards disease free. Tony Bish,
winemaker at Sacred Hill, said, “It’s a dream vintage. The fruit is early, ripe, clean; everything we would want.”
Talbott Vineyards Opens New Carmel Valley Tasting Room Located at the corner of Pilot
Road and Del Fino Place in Carmel Valley Village, the new 2,800-square-foot Talbott Vineyards Tasting Room
will also serve as a museum for founder Robb Talbott’s unique collection of vintage motorcycles and pedal
cars. The new location replaces Talbott’s former Carmel Valley Tasting Room, and features an expansive
tasting bar and a private Diamond T Room for special gatherings. The site also has a picturesque patio with
outdoor seating and bocce ball courts. Photographs detailing the story of winegrowing and winemaking at
Talbott Vineyards adorn the walls of the tasting room. Before founding Talbott Vineyards in 1982, Robb Talbott
raced motorcycles and had a business restoring and selling antique cars and trucks. The tasting room is open
daily from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM and standard and premium tasting experiences are offered for a nominal
charge. Talbott Vineyards also has a Tasting Room at its winery at 1380 River Road in Salinas, which is open
Thursday through Monday from 11:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Visit the website at www.talbottvineyards.com.
The Eyrie Vineyards Opens Its Library Michael Alberty of Storyteller Wine Company in Portland
is always in tune with the latest happenings in the Willamette Valley. He reported recently about the “mythical
status of the Eyrie library that is a treasure trove of history and few have ever laid eyes upon the entire
collection.” Apparently David Lett, the founder of The Eyrie Vineyards, liked to put aside in his library cases of
many wines he made, particularly those he liked. In fact, the more he liked a wine, the more of it he kept back
(without telling his spouse). For example, the library contains over three decades of South Block Reserve
Pinot Noir kept in perfect cool, dark storage and never made available for sale. When David passed away,
there were remarkably about 6,000 cases of library wines in storage. When Jason Lett decided to start
releasing wines from the library, he was intent that the wines be pristine so a inspected and re-bottled every
bottle so the purchaser is guaranteed there is no cork related issues. Alberty is offering the 1992 The Eyrie
Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris ($80), the 1993 The Eyrie Vineyards Estate Chardonnay ($130), the 1995 The
Eyrie Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay ($150), the 1993 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Meunier ($160), the 1986
The Eyrie Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir ($195), the 1999 The Eyrie Vineyards South Block Reserve Pinot Noir
($220), and the 1983 The Eyrie Vineyards South Block Reserve Pinot Noir ($400). These are spectacular
special occasion wines. Inquire at 503-206-7029 or email through the website at www.storytellerwine.com.
eMagazine for French Wine Explorers A resource to all things related to France and French wine.
This online magazine details timely travel tips and alerts, French wine reviews and articles, and wine touring
information all in bite size portions to quickly gain deep knowledge of the food, wine and culture of France.
Subscribe at www.wine-tours-france.com.
Pinot & Pizza at J Vineyards On Saturday, June 29, renowned chef and author Andrea Mugnaini will
cook an array of wood-fired pizzas, paired with J’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs and other wines and
served on J’s scenic terrace. Chef Mugnaini runs two cooking schools dedicated to wood fired cooking; one in
Healdsburg and the other in Tuscany. Buy tickets ($70 per person, $55 for wine club members) online at
Relation of Alcohol Intake to Risk of Dying from Cancer A new meta-analysis published in
the Annals of Oncology looked at more than 48,000 cancer deaths reported in 18 prospective cohort studies.
This is the first meta-analysis to explore the relationship between alcohol drinking and risk of all cancer
mortality. The analyses demonstrated a J-shaped curve for alcohol and cancer. Light drinkers showed a
statistically significant 9% lower risk, moderate drinkers showed no effect, and heavier drinkers shoed a 32%
increased risk of all cancer mortality. It is important that the only significant risk in cancer mortality among the
almost 50,000 cancer deaths was for consumers of 50 grams or more of alcohol per day (about 3.5 standard
drinks of wine). The findings do not support the often publicized statement that any amount of alcohol
increases the overall risk of dying from cancer confirming that wine in moderation is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Marcassin Will Not Release 2008 Vintage Pinot Noirs Because of smoke taint resulting from
wildfires in the Anderson Valley during the 2008 vintage, Marcassin announced in their latest letter to mailing
list members that they will not release 2008 Pinot Noirs. Although analysis of the wines shows that they are
within acceptable limits for smoke taint, they do not meet the high standards of Marcassin.
Bacchus Capital Management Buys Panther Creek The private equity firm, Bacchus Capital
Management, has bought Oregon’s Panther Creek Winery from owner Liz Chambers and her family for an
undisclosed sum and have hired noted winemaker Tony Rynders to take over the reigns according to
WineSpectator.com (May 15, 2013). Ken Wright founded Panther Creek in 1986 and sold the winery in the
early 1990s when he founded Ken Wright Cellars. The Chambers family bought it in 2005. Chambers retained
the winery in McMinnville and plans to launch a new label, Elizabeth Chambers Cellars with Michael Stevenson
as the winemaker. Bacchus Capital Management is also buying a stake in Washington-based DeLille Cellars.
The “Serve a Minor” Felony Bill AB 1128 is currently on a fast track to pass through the California
legislature. This bill amends Business & Professions Code Sec. 25658 and increases the penalty for sales to a
minor from a misdemeanor to a felony when the minor causes an injury, damage or death to others. If a winery
serves a customer in their tasting room who is younger than 21, and that person later gets into an accident or
commits a crime like assault where alcohol is a factor, the winery will end up with a felony which bars them
from the wine industry by revoking their license for at least a decade. Basically, AB 1128 is a death penalty for
individual and corporate alcoholic beverage licensees. Many youths under age 21 have good false
identification, but when they get caught driving drunk or in an accident, they ditch their fake ID and show their
real identification. It becomes their word against the word of the winery.
Winery Closures & Sales Anderson Valley Pinot Noir specialist Londer Vineyards is closing after 12
years. Larry and Shirlee Londer sold their vineyards in 2011 and relocated to Colorado to be close to their
family. They continued to make wines and support the brand, but eventually decided to exit the business at the
end of May. Gary Farrell parted ways with Alysian as of April 30 for personal reasons. He plans to take a
harvest off and travel extensively and actively buy and sell collector cars at auctions throughout the country
(something he has done as a hobby for years). Also in Anderson Valley, the Klindts have sold Claudia Springs
Winery, and Elke’s Donnelly Creek Vineyard and the Esterlina Estate vineyard and winery are for sale.
Evening Land Vineyards Property in Sta. Rita Hills Sold Sommelier Rajat Parr and
winemaker Sashi Moorman have bought an extreme site 6.5-acre vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills owned by
Evening Land Vineyards that is planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and an adjacent 6.5 acres of plantable
land. One of the vineyards is Memorious, planted to Pinot Noir from seeds and on its own rootstock. The new
project will be called Domaine de la Côte.
Normacorc Introduces First Zero Carbon Footprint Closure Normacorc has introduced
Select® Bio, a closure made with plant-based polymers from sugar cane. The wine closure is meant for
sustainable wineries and their wines. Select® Bio is 100 percent recyclable and made using renewable
materials. The closure can control oxygen ingress (several different oxygen ingress levels are offered),
reducing wine’s susceptibility to spoilage due to oxygen mismanagement and improve post-bottle aging and
New Blog for Winemaker Adam Lee Adam Lee has launched a new blog at
www.adamleesiduri.blogspot.com/ to share his thoughts about Siduri and Novy wines, wine in general, and
whatever else crosses his mind. Adam told me he wanted to be a wine writer so this gives him an outlet.
Wine Additive to Counteract Sulfites Miles and Christina Clifford of New Zealand have released
UBFree that eliminates free sulfites in wine and thereby allowing people with sulfite allergies to enjoy wine
without side effects. UBFree eliminates most free sulfites in wine and introduces a mineral to assist the body in
processing the rest. UBFree comes in a dropper bottle or a sachet. The additive does not change the flavor of
wine unlike other similar products that have been developed in the past. Available online at
Eating and Drinking Well in Sonoma County Wine Country I recently spent ten days in
Sonoma County and there are two restaurants in particular that stood out. One is Diavola in Geyserville, about
a 15 minute drive from Healdsburg. Brick walls, very casual, outstanding servers, solid wine list, and great
innovative Italian food including wood fired oven pizzas. No reservations so arrive early. The second is Glen
Ellen Star in Glen Ellen, Sonoma Valley. Tiny, but comfortable, especially the patio. Veggies are the center of
attention here and everything is meant for sharing. Outstanding wine list. Best wines I drank over the 10
days? 1997 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir (magnum), 1991 Williams Selyem Summa Vineyard
Pinot Noir (magnum) (both wines enjoyed from Burt Williams’ cellar and graciously shared by him), and 2009
Morning Dew Ranch Jan’s Cuvée Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (Burt’s last wine). In my opinion there has never
been a California Pinot Noir winemaker the equal of Burt Williams.
Voluntary Nutrient Content Statements. TTB Ruling 2004-a, issued May 28, 2013, authorizes
“truthful, accurate, and specific voluntary statements about nutrient content, including calorie and carbohydrate
content, in the labeling and advertising of wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages.” Labeling or advertising
representations that mislead the consumer about the nutritional value or health effects of alcohol beverages
are prohibited. This is an interim policy while rulemaking is completed. View the ruling at www.ttb.gov/rulings/
World’s First Smartphone Breathalyzer, BACtrack Mobile™ I believe this will become very
popular among wine drinkers who dine out frequently as it is a reliable way of measuring BAC with an iPhone.
The breathalyzer unit connects to an iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth and quickly estimates your BAC using an
accurate professional-grade alcohol sensor. The BACtrack can save results and estimate when the BAC will
return to 0.00%. It also has sharing capabilities. Price is $149.99, significantly cheaper than a DUI. Visit
Floome™ Personal Breathalyzer device works with Smartphone to Measure BAC This device plugs into your smartphone to tell you if you have had too much and how long you need to wait to get behind the wheel. This product was just launched by 2045Tech and the makers say it is the first portable personal breathalyzer to incorporate the same sensors that the policemen use. The user blowers into the device which connects to a smartphone via the headphone jack. An app then displays the blood alcohol content. It can also call a taxi. Floome is selling now via an Indiegogo Flexible Funding campaign for $65 and will be $80 when it is released to retail this fall. Visit www.2045tech.com.
Wireless Breathalyzer for Remote Alcohol Monitoring SOBERLINK, Inc., is a technology company based in Southern California that has developed a wireless breathalyzer much sought after by parents of college-aged students. Binge drinking is on the rise with more than 50% of college students affirming that they drink excessively within any given two-week time period. SOBERLINK's handheld device monitors sobriety by sending breathalyzer results to a cloud-based website for review, increasing safety among college-aged students and providing peace of mind for their parents. The SOBERLINK device has a built-in camera for user verification and cellular module for wireless transmission. Visit www.soberlink.net to learn more.
Urban Wine Xperience The 8th Annual Urban Wine Xperience, sponsored by the East Bay Vintners’
Alliance (EBVA), will be held on Saturday, July 27 at Oakland’s Jack London Pavilion. Over 15 urban wineries
from the EBVA will pour a wide variety of wines and local eateries and food purveyors will create bites to pair
with the wines. Guests can enjoy the outdoors and dance to live music. Noted Pinot Noir producers include
Aubin Cellars and Stomping Girl Wines among others. Early bird tickets until June 26 are only $35, $45 after
that date. For tickets, visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/385762.
Mueller Tasting Room Opens Mueller Winery will open the doors to its new tasting room on
Saturday, June 1, at 118 North Street across from the Raven Performing Arts Center in Healdsburg. Mueller,
founded by Robert Mueller, is a top producer of Pinot Noir. Emily’s Cuvee is the flagship wine, first produced
from the 1994 vintage.
Why I Love Oregon Pinot Noir Contest Willamette Valley Vineyards is sponsoring a contest for Pinot Noir enthusiasts to share their experience about when, where or how they fell in love with Oregon Pinot Noir. Now in its ninth year, the contest's winner will win an all-expense paid trip to Oregon Wine Country and Willamette Valley Vineyards valued at $4,000. Submissions are accepted now through July 31, 2013 and can include a short essay, photo, artwork or video. Visit www.wvv.com/contest for the official rules to enter the contest. Winners will be announced August 9 at www.wvv.com.