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Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86

Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86

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The man who put California wine on the map

The wine world recently lost a treasured member — Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley, Calif. He was 86. His son, Bo Barrett, said in a statement, "My dad died of a life well-lived."

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the name. Many wine drinkers don’t, and from what we know of the man, Barrett liked it that way. His focus was on the beverage itself, and because of that, Americans have the wine culture we have today.

Barrett rose to industry fame in 1976 thanks to an article in TIME. Thousands of miles away in a wine shop in Paris, his 1973 chardonnay had won a blind taste test against a series of high-end, expensive white Burgundies. At that time, California was not called "Wine Country" — it was what Old World vintners considered a joke. A joke they choked on when a humble bottle from America blew their efforts out of the water.

Eventually referred to as the "Judgment of Paris" — and the centerpiece of the movie Bottle Shock — the tasting of Barrett’s wine is considered the event that put California wine on the map and helped spur decades of growth, production, and respect for the region.

So while you may not know Barrett’s name, the hardworking vintners who produce your favorite California reds and whites certainly do. Join them and us in raising a glass to his ambition and memory. Anything from Napa will do.

— Melissa Auman Greiner, The Drink Nation

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Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86
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Why Wine Gives You Headaches, and 4 Tips for Avoiding Them

There’s nothing like sipping a glass of red wine at a gathering of friends on a winter night. It’s truly a lovely feeling. But that headache you get afterward? Not lovely at all.

Why do you always seem to get a red wine headache, especially when the person next to you has no issue at all? And what can you do to keep those headaches at bay? Some answers:

What causes a “wine headache”? There’s disagreement. Some people think the headaches are due to the sulfites either naturally present in wine (yes, “organic” wines have sulfites too) or added to it by some winemakers as a preservative. But experts say sulfites, which can trigger asthma and allergic reactions, probably don’t cause wine headaches.

The real culprit? Likely histamine, which dilates blood vessels, or perhaps tyramine, which constricts and then dilates them — and both are naturally found in wine. “Red wines, in general, contain more histamine than Champagnes or sparkling wines and those usually contain more histamine than [still] white wines,” Dan L. Keiller, MD, told the Wall Street Journal, in an in-depth look at the subject.

Some people lack the enzyme that helps metabolize histamine, which may make them more prone to wine headaches, Keiller noted. Others may experience a boost in blood pressure from tyramine, which is also found in aged cheese, smoked fish and cured meat, and that rise can bring on a headache.

What can you do to prevent it? Let’s break this part down into tips:

Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86 - Recipes

Jim Held and his wife Betty Ann were two of the modern-day pioneers in the Missouri wine industry. Held passed away at the age of 86 on November 8, 2019 in Hermann, MO after a long battle with Leukemia and cancer.

The original Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, MO dates back to 1847. After the Civil War, it became the second largest winery in the country, producing over 1,000,000 gallons a year, and Stone Hill wines won eight gold medals at various world fairs and expositions between 1873 and 1904. However, during Prohibition the industry in Missouri shut down, and Stone Hill closed as a winery. Its underground wine cellars were used instead for the commercial production of mushrooms.

Early in the wine revival in Missouri in the mid-1960s, Jim and Betty Ann Held bought the Stone Hill Winery property and made a commitment to preserve the historic property, to restore the main winery building, and to clean out the eight mushroom cellars that previously housed barrels of wine. They moved their family of four children into the second floor of the former winery office building and started to plant more vineyards.

Neither one of the Helds had a background in winemaking, although they had planted a Catawba vineyard of 4½ acres on the family farm in Pershing, MO. They added acres of Norton, Catawba, Missouri Riesling and Niagara, and began to make wine. However, at that time there was a 5,000-gallon cap on the amount of wine that could be sold retail at the winery, and this soon became a limitation on the growth of Stone Hill.

With the assistance of his local representative in the Missouri legislature, Held was able to get legislation passed that raised the cap on retail sales at the winery to 75,000 gallons. That cap was increased in 1980 to 500,000 gallons. By 1981, Stone Hill had about 30 grape-bearing acres and was producing 57,000 gallons, an amount that made Stone Hill the largest winery in the state.

Held retired in 2011. His eldest son, Jonathan, graduated from the University of California at Fresno in 1980, and today, the winery is run by Jonathan and his wife Karen. According to Wines Vines Analytics, the winery now has 190 acres of vineyard and produces 110,00 cases of wine per year.

In addition to running the winery, Held served as president of the Missouri Vintners Association, the Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He also was a past chair of the Grape and Wine Advisory Board and served for five years on the Missouri Tourism Commission.

The contributions Held made to the wine industry have been recognized with numerous awards. For example, President Ronald Reagan gave Stone Hill Winery an award in 1982 as Missouri&rsquos Small Business of the Year the first Hall of Fame Award from the Missouri Division of Tourism was presented to Jim and Betty Held in 1988 and the Held family was recognized as the Wine Growing Family of the Year at the Wineries Unlimited conference in 1995.

Read about the Mondavi family

The Mondavis – a Napa family dynasty – Part One

Inside the Mondavi 50th anniversary dinner

Margrit recognised early on that wine is rarely enjoyed in isolation but alongside life’s other pleasures.

She created culinary and cultural arts programmes at the Robert Mondavi winery after joining the business in 1967. And she started the winery’s summer music festival in 1969.

She was vice president of cultural affairs at the winery at the time of her death, even though the winery is now owned by Constellation Brands.

‘The rites of the table express our humanity’

In 1977, Margrit introduced cooking classes to help wine tourists match fine wine and food.

‘Like painting and music, wine and food speak to the heart,’ she said.

‘By honoring the world of the senses, of memory and emotions, the rites of the table express our humanity.’

Wineries outside of California paid tribute to Margrit, including Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeeaux.

Great and grateful memories of Margrit Mondavi who just left us after such a brilliant life.

&mdash Smith Haut Lafitte (@ChateauSHL) September 5, 2016

Margrit also released cookery book alongside her daughter, Annie Roberts, in 2003.

And, two years earlier, Margrit and Robert helped to found the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine & Food Science.

They were founding patrons of Copia: the American Center fo Wine Food and the Arts, based in Napa. They also created the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in 2002.

Ralph Hexter, acting chancellor of UC Davis, said, ‘Throughout my tenure at UC Davis, Mrs Mondavi offered kindness and warmth.

‘She was a remarkable friend to this institution. We will miss her spirit and passion.’

Margrit married Robert Mondavi in 1980 and the pair remained together until Robert’s death in 2008.

She leaves behind three children, Philip Biever, Annie Roberts, and Phoebe Holbrook, and six grandchildren.

Old-Fashioned Muscadine Wine

Muscadine grapes are native to the United States, but if you've never heard of them, it's because muscadine grapes aren't commercially farmed like other grapes, and their wine isn't as sought after as wine from other varieties. But these grapes are still cultivated in the South, mainly because they do well in warm, humid climates and because that's where they were originally found. The grapes range in color from green and bronze to deep purple, are larger than other grapes used for making wine, and have tougher skins and seeds. They mature in late summer and early fall and have worked their way into the culinary repertoire of the South in the form of jams, jellies, fruit butter, pies, juice, and especially wine.

Muscadine grapes yield both white and red wines, and they're famous as sweet wines because, in the past, a lot of sugar was added to resemble the flavors of other types of grapes. Now that processes are changing, the production of muscadine wine is shifting and giving birth to wonderful bottles of refreshing and medium-bodied wines that, although typically sweeter than other wines, are wonderful accompaniments for dessert or great as post-dinner caps. Muscadine wine has an average alcohol content of 10 percent ABV.

Our recipe for muscadine wine makes a sweet, old-fashioned wine. Since this recipe will strain the liquids from the solids, it's not necessary to remove the skin and seeds from the grapes before mashing them. The recipe calls for 1 quart of mashed grapes you'll need about 4 pounds of grapes to produce that amount. This kind of process can also be done with regular grapes or blackberries.

Josh Jensen

In the world of fine wine, Josh Jensen is a legend. An innovator and a pioneer, Josh has been named the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Winemaker of the Year,” honored as a “Rockstar of Wine” at World of Pinot Noir, and has graced the cover of Wine Spectator. More than just being universally respected by his peers, Josh played a pivotal role in establishing Pinot Noir as one of North America’s great varietal wines. In doing so, he also built Calera into one of the world’s most revered wineries. Beloved by connoisseurs, Calera has been honored by Wine & Spirits as one of the “Top 100 Wineries in the World” four times, with Robert Parker calling Calera “California’s Romanée-Conti.”

For those who know Josh’s story, there is a particular aptness in the compassion to Romanée-Conti, In the early 1970s, after studying at Yale and Oxford, Josh was exploring Europe, when a desire to try his hand at vineyard work led him to Romanée-Conti, where he worked harvest. Inspired by his experience at the famed Pinot Noir estate, the following year he deepened his understanding of great Pinot Noir at Domaine Dujac.

Returning to the United States, he began a quest to create a style of Pinot Noir that had not previously been realized in the United States. To achieve this goal, he spent the next two years searching for land rich in limestone, like the vineyards he most admired in Burgundy. In 1974, he found what he was looking for on the steep slopes of Mount Harlan, a 3,278-foot peak in the Gavilan Mountains that divide Monterey and San Benito counties. The following year, while living in a trailer on the remote property with his wife and small child, Josh founded Calera, the Spanish world for “limekiln.” There, with no paved road, electricity or phone, he began planting his first three estate vineyards: Jensen, Reed and Selleck.

In 1978, these vineyards yielded their first small crop, resulting in Calera’s debut trio of vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs. For wine enthusiasts, Josh’s early Pinot Noirs were a revelation, offering a new level of structure and sophistication in New World Pinot Noir. In the years that followed, Josh established his own Calera Pinot Noir clone, and planted three more small vineyards on Mt. Harlan: Mills, de Villiers and Ryan, as well as small blocks of Chardonnay, Viognier and Aligoté. Josh also began working with some of the top vineyards on California’s majestic Central Coast to make Calera’s Central Coast wines, which include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier and a Vin Gris of Pinot Noir. Believing in the uniqueness of Mt. Harlan, Josh also worked to establish a Mt. Harlan American Viticultural Area (AVA), which he achieved in 1990. As a result, like Domaine Romanée-Conti, Calera is one of the only wineries in the world, and one of only two in North America, with its own AVA.

Throughout it all, Josh has followed his own uncompromising vision, never chasing trends, and always striving for the extraordinary. Because of this, Calera’s wines are venerated by collectors for their purity and elegance, each one a liquid study in terroir. Through his innovation and leadership, he helped to redraw the map of California wine, earning the Central Coast accolades as one of the world’s great cool-climate wine regions. While doing so, he also catapulted America Pinot Noir into conversations about the North America’s greatest wines, and by doing so helped to lay the foundation for the modern Pinot Noir boom.

William Rice, former Tribune food and wine journalist, dies at 77

William Rice was a food and wine journalist whose urbane writing for various publications, including the Chicago Tribune for 17 years, combined expert knowledge with an unassuming approachability that appealed to home cooks and some of the world's top chefs. He died Sunday at 77.

"Bill was a consummate professional, an inquisitive and inventive reporter and writer who helped pioneer food and wine journalism at the Chicago Tribune. Bill was one of the pillars of our Good Eating section, which reinvented the genre at the Tribune," former Tribune Editor Gerould W. Kern said in a statement. "His deep personal experience in cooking and tasting gave us great credibility and connection with our readers. His work anticipated and helped accelerate the widespread interest in fine cuisine in Chicago. In many ways, he prepared the way."

"Even more, he was a wonderful colleague, and it was a pleasure to share his company," added Kern, a one-time deputy managing editor for features who worked with Rice. "He will be greatly missed."

A private memorial service will take place in early June, his widow, Jill Van Cleave, a food industry consultant and cookbook author, wrote in an email Wednesday.

Rice brought a "measured, thoughtful all-encompassing approach to food," said chef Bruce Sherman, of Chicago's North Pond restaurant. "He's just so smart and wise and considerate of the field and of the people and of life."

"Bill was certainly very confident about his own judgment on things," said Elin McCoy, the Kent, Conn.-based wine and spirits columnist for Bloomberg News, who worked for Rice when he was editor of Food & Wine magazine in the early 1980s. "He wasn't someone who jumped on bandwagons because everybody else did. He was not afraid to say something was important before anyone else."

"He was a faultlessly decent person and colleague with a nifty and sly sense of humor," wrote James Warren, a former Tribune managing editor for features, in an email. "Professionally, he was a path-breaking food and wine writer with an uncommon mix of refined and populist sensibilities. Here was a guy on a first-name basis with many of the world's great chefs who could also crank out pieces for me on the best cheap wine to have with takeout Chinese food."

Rice started at the Chicago Tribune on June 30, 1986, after high-profile stints at Food & Wine magazine and, in the 1970s, as food editor of The Washington Post.

Phil Vettel, the Tribune's longtime restaurant reviewer, said Rice's hire was viewed as a "major get" for the Tribune. Those in the city's food circles agreed.

"It was seen as a feather in our cap that this man would come to Chicago and see the potential of what we wanted to do," said Ina Pinkney, the veteran restaurateur and Tribune dining columnist. "I think he saw what was coming. He knew we were made of better stuff and wanted to be a part of it."

Judith Dunbar Hines, formerly the city's director of culinary arts and events, said Rice was a known entity in Chicago because of his prior career. He brought with him a "broader viewpoint," she said, and "a sense of sophistication and professionalism. … An awful lot of what was being written here was home ec-y. He brought a more sophisticated sound."

Warren, who is now chief media writer for Poynter, said Rice's hire by the Tribune "was reflective of a desire to raise the paper's game, but coincidently it came on the verge of a dramatic maturation of the whole food scene in Chicago."

"It was just unusual for a guy to make a move from the mecca of fine dining to Chicago," said Warren, referring to the shift from New York. Chicago "simply wasn't that sophisticated" at the time, he said.

The biographical listing in Marquis Who's Who notes William Edward Rice was born in Albany, N.Y., on July 26, 1938, the son of Harry E. and Elizabeth (Lally) Rice. He grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., but fell in love with the Virginia countryside on a visit to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello at age 11, his wife said. He graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in history. A stint in the Navy followed. He earned a master's degree in 1963 from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

Rice was hired by The Washington Post and worked there until 1969, according to biographical materials compiled by Rice in the 1980s. He wrote editorials, reported, edited and, the records note, "undertook a two-year assignment as the newspaper's first restaurant critic."

In 1969, Rice moved to France. Craig Claiborne, the enormously influential food editor of The New York Times, had encouraged him to enroll in the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, Rice later wrote. Claiborne himself checked in on Rice and shared what he found with Times readers.

"If you see a young man swinging a knapsack full of pots and pans and cutlery along the banks of the Seine, it may well be an American named William Rice en route to a cooking session in the house of a friend or friends," Claiborne wrote in a story that ran on April 23, 1970, complete with two photographs of the young Rice and three recipes. "Mr. Rice is doing his thing in Paris (and Europe) this year — a thing that scores of his countrymen would doubtless like to do, but very few have the courage to do."

What Rice did was clean out his savings account, Claiborne wrote, and move to Paris to "learn about la bonne vie — the cooking, wines and restaurants in France." He took classes in French and cooking — earning a certificate from Le Cordon Bleu, worked with an Alsatian-born baker and spent "considerable time in the vineyards."

Rice's decision to write about food and go to France and study cooking was an unorthodox move for a male journalist of that era, McCoy said.

"He loved food and he loved wine. That was his total passion," she said. "What made him unusual in the food and wine world at the time was he started as a reporter, and as a reporter he had a different view because everything he saw in the food and wine world was as a reporter."

Rice returned to the Washington area. His Who's Who entry for 1971 and 1972 lists him as director of a cooking school in Bethesda, Md., and as freelance writer and restaurant critic for Washingtonian magazine.

He returned to The Washington Post as food editor in 1972 and remained until 1980. He initiated wine coverage in The Post's Sunday Magazine with a column called "Rice on Wine."

McCoy said America's food scene was shifting just as Rice was honing his reportorial skills on the topic. He brought a nose for news and what was important, she noted. He also had a reporter's sense of skepticism and wasn't one to gush. Rice, she said, would also defer to others if he thought you knew what you were doing.

"On the other hand, if there was something he felt strongly about he'd say, 'Let's do it.' He had really good ideas about what was au courant," she said.

Rice's sojourn as editor-in-chief of Food & Wine was relatively short. A June 12, 1985, story on Rice published by the Daily News of McKeesport, Pa., just two weeks after his departure, said Rice and the magazine's owners "could not agree on the editorial direction the magazine should take." The decision to part was a mutual one, according to both McCoy and Van Cleave.

A year later, in 1986, Rice was in Chicago. Why the move? Van Cleave said that Rice was having trouble adjusting to the freelance life in New York after leaving Food & Wine.

Van Cleave was a Chicagoan who had moved to New York to be with Rice. The pair had first met in 1978 at an Oregon cooking school where she was an assistant teacher. Rice was then the Post food editor and married to his first wife, she said.

"He had the kindest, sweetest face I have ever seen,'' Van Cleave recalled. "There was a warmth in his eyes and he was so without pretense. He didn't think what he was doing was a big deal as food editor of The Washington Post. To us, at the cooking school, he was a big deal. He was a nice guy. He knew a lot about food and wine. We talked about Oregon wine and he asked me what I thought."

"You know how it is, you get talking," Van Cleave added. "I liked him. I just liked him. … A couple of years later, I found out he was separated and I got in contact with him."

The couple married on Aug. 20, 1983.

Three years later, Van Cleave wanted to move back to Chicago from New York. Rice was agreeable. Van Cleave said her husband called a good friend at The New York Times, R.W. Apple Jr., to inquire if there might be a job opening, preferably in food, at the Chicago Tribune. Apple, she recalled, told him not to worry — he'd take care of it. And Apple did, she said.

Apple's widow, Betsey, corroborates Van Cleave's account about her husband's involvement.

"He said he made a couple of calls for Bill. He was wonderful about finding openings for people," she recalled by telephone from her Georgetown home in Washington, D.C.

Paul Camp, the Tribune's features editor at the time, recalls that then-editor Jim Squires "wanted someone of Bill's quality and knowledge as part of the food writing team, and Bill was interested in a change. It came together quickly, and suddenly there was Bill."

Camp described Rice as "a great addition" to the Tribune staff, a reporter who could move beyond the food in question to the story behind the food, a story that made the food even more interesting.

"Never in my time did he deliver a piece to the editors that wasn't meticulously researched, brilliantly told as a story and virtually perfect writing," Camp said.

Rice's work at the Tribune helped wake Chicago up to all of its possibilities, Van Cleave said.

"Everybody in Chicago knew about Le Francais, everybody knew about Le Perroquet but that was about it,'' she said, referring to two famed restaurants that helped change dining expectations of that era. "Bill liked to uncover the things people were overlooking. He liked finding the gems people were not really seeing. He'd find some good ones. He really did put Charlie Trotter on the map."

"Someone like Bill knew everybody in the industry. He could pick up the telephone and talk to anyone," Camp said, noting that Rice's national stature meant that whatever he wrote about Trotter and other innovative Chicago chefs was taken very seriously.

Rice, his wife recalled, would find the "really meaningful things about the people, the food and the place." He knew, she said, "how to go for the essence of something."

Warren agreed, writing in his email that Rice "discovered talent and new cuisines from around the country long before food and chefs became glamorized on TV. It's hard to imagine today, but it wasn't that long ago that intrepid souls like Bill started telling the world about the glories of California wines or simply grilled fish."

Rice, who was not the Tribune's restaurant critic and thus not bound by a need for anonymity, was able to work, to collaborate, face-to-face with famous chefs like Trotter, Jean Joho, Gabino Sotelino and others, Vettel said.

"We worked on a story about steakhouses. They knew who he was, but they didn't know me," Vettel remembered. "It was quite extraordinary to watch the respect and deference they showed Bill."

Pinkney vividly remembers when Rice visited her then-new restaurant and told readers about it being one of the best new breakfast spots in a century. It wasn't a review, but that didn't matter to her.

"For me, I felt I had arrived because Bill Rice understood what I was doing, complimented me on what I was doing and wrote about me," Pinkney said. "He knew his stuff. You never doubted he knew his stuff. I was blown away by his kindness."

Rice "opened doors" to Chicagoans, Sherman said, broadening the dining experience beyond the usual meat and potatoes. He brought to Chicago a "knowledge and sophistication about what food is and how diverse, how international, it could be," the chef said.

Sherman says he would have been "nowhere" without Rice. He was in Paris in 1997, wondering what to do next and where. He says Patricia Wells, the Milwaukee-born and Paris-based cooking teacher, cookbook author and restaurant critic, pointed him to Chicago — and to Rice.

"She had worked with him and had the utmost respect for him," recalled Sherman, who said Rice was one of the first people he contacted upon arriving in Chicago. "He understood the position I was looking for. He had a wisdom you just don't find today."

And Rice's wisdom extended from food to wine.

Camp said Rice's wine writing was accessible and provided "a light touch" to a subject that had been "hit or miss" in the Tribune. "You came away from one of Bill's articles thinking, 'I'd like to try that.' He wrote so vividly about it and so passionately and he often related it to food," Camp noted.

"He was so well-respected for his wine knowledge," agreed Carol Mighton Haddix, a former Tribune food editor. "I remember he'd come up on the weekend to taste wine, fill the counters in the test kitchen with bottles and just go through them. I don't know how he could taste that much, but he did."

Rice retired from the Tribune in December 2003. He was author of "Feasts of Wine and Food," (1986) and "Steak Lover's Cookbook" (1997). He was co-editor of three editions of "Where to Eat in America," first published in 1977.

His ability and achievements were recognized over the years. Rice's biographical records note that he was made a chevalier of the Ordre du Merite Agricole by the French government in 1983. He was inducted into "Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America" in 1984, the inaugural year for a program now managed by the James Beard Foundation. He would later serve as chairman of the Who's Who committee from 2005 to 2008. He was also named in 1993 to the foundation's restaurant awards committee and served as chairman from 1994 to 2003, according to a Beard Foundation spokeswoman.

Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86 - Recipes

A podcast series
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about the people
behind the food
and wine you love.

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Listener Questions with Spencer Christian 67 minutes

In this episode the guest is you! We invited listeners to send in questions about wine collecting, winemaking, or all things Shafer – and you came through. Doug Shafer invited veteran broadcaster and wine enthusiast Spencer Christian to help navigate our way through all the queries and to add some of his own colorful thoughts and observations and we had a blast. Enjoy!

Charles Woodson 59 minutes

Later in 2021, Charles Woodson will accept a Pro Football Hall of Fame award in Canton, Ohio, just 100 miles from where he grew up in the small town of Fremont. From his start in high school football through college and an outstanding NFL career, Woodson was unstoppable, winning countless awards while at the same time becoming a philanthropist and successful vintner with his Intercept Wines brand. We cover the whole field in this episode. Enjoy!

Tor Kenward 48 minutes

Early in college Tor Kenward was drafted and sent to Vietnam. Coming home he realized that life is short and he only wanted to do things that brought him joy. That pursuit brought him to Beringer Vineyards in the 1970s where he became “Vice President of all the Fun Stuff.” In the early 2000s he and his wife Susan launched TOR Wines, a small winery that has consistently produced vintage after vintage of beautiful, outstanding wines. Enjoy!

Naoko and Maya Dalla Valle 45 minutes

Dalla Valle, long known for elegant and outstanding wines, is opening an exciting new chapter. Originally founded by Gustav and Naoko Dalla Valle in 1986, today the winery is run by the incredible mother and daughter team of Naoko and Maya Dalla Valle. Their story covers a lot of territory – from Northern Italy, to Kobe, Japan to Bordeaux, to the red soils of their vineyards off Silverado Trail. Enjoy!

Cyril Chappellet 65 minutes

In 1967 the Chappellet family built the second post-Prohibition winery in Napa Valley. Cyril was in elementary school then and mostly what he recalls is all the fun of living in the wilds of Pritchard Hill with his four brothers and sisters. The next 50-plus years have been a great adventure for the Chappellet family, who’ve made some beautiful wines along the way. Enjoy!

Tom Matthews 63 minutes

By the age of 35 Thomas Matthews had lived in several U.S. states and abroad in Belgium, France, and Spain. He didn’t see himself staying anywhere for long. Then he took a job in London to write for a magazine called Wine Spectator.

And something happened. He fell in love with the world of wine. This year Tom retires after more than 30 years with Wine Spectator, 21 of those as Executive Editor. It’s been quite a ride - enjoy!

Jaime Araujo 67 minutes

By the time her parents started Araujo Estate in 1990, Jaime Araujo was in college. She went on to earn four degrees, was a theater actress in London, and launched her own marketing agency in France – all before returning to Napa Valley. That life experience has been a boon in partnering with her parents on their winery, Accendo Cellars, as well as launching her own label, Trois Noix. Enjoy!

Oscar Renteria 49 minutes

Oscar Renteria grew up in Napa and wanted to escape the wine industry so he went to college and earned a business degree. After graduation his father called and asked Oscar to come work for his new vineyard management company. Oscar accepted and together as they turned their business into one of Napa Valley’s leading vineyard companies. Today Oscar also has a wine brand, Tres Perlas, producing ultra-limited beautiful wines. Enjoy!

Tom Rinaldi 57 minutes

Tom Rinaldi grew up in San Francisco, enjoyed the Summer of Love, and tasted wine in Napa Valley on his motorcycle. Later he signed up for the Navy before entering UC Davis where he studied winemaking -- and the rest is history. He’s been winemaker for Round Hill, Duckhorn, Provenance, Pellet Estate, and others. His sense of adventure intact, Tom looks forward to many more vintages to come. Enjoy!

Andy Erickson 69 minutes

In his 20s Andy Erickson thought he’d work in the diplomatic corps but an extended trek through South America’s wine country and a chance encounter with Paul Hobbs changed all that. Erickson came back and started a Napa Valley winemaking career producing outstanding wines for Dalla Valle, Screaming Eagle, Bond, Staglin, Mayacamas, as well as the wine brand, Favia, he launched with his wife, vineyardist Annie Favia.

Robert Kamen 41 minutes

Robert Kamen has written the screenplays for blockbusters including Taps, the original Karate Kid films, Fifth Element, Gladiator, Lethal Weapon 3, the Transporter Films, A Walk In the Clouds, the Taken films, and on and on. In the middle of an active screenwriting career, he's been producing some real blockbusters as one of Sonoma's top vintners with a stunning vineyard at Kamen Estate Wines.

Kim McPherson 84 minutes

Though Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars grew up surrounded by wine history-in-the-making, it wasn’t obvious that vineyards and cellars were in his future. Kim’s dad, “Doc” McPherson, is credited as the father of the modern Texas wine industry but Kim got a degree in food science. Doc persuaded him to study winemaking at U.C. Davis and come back to Texas to redefine winemaking in the Lone Star State. Enjoy!

Mark Beringer 48 minutes

In spite of his last name, Mark Beringer’s future in wine was not a foregone conclusion. His family had sold Beringer in 1971. When he graduated from high school he thought he’d pursue music but changed course and began to study viticulture and winemaking. His career includes stints at Benzinger, Duckhorn, and Artesa before becoming winemaker at Beringer, the winery founded by his family 150 years ago. Enjoy!

Cristie Kerr 48 minutes

Cristie Kerr discovered golf at the age of eight growing up in Florida. She played on her high school&rsquos boys team and by her late teens went pro, becoming one of the most successful players in LPGA history. Bringing the same drive she has in golf, Kerr has started two wine brands: the first one, Curvature, which raised funds for breast cancer research, and her latest with winemaker Helen Keplinger is Kerr Cellars. Enjoy!

Laura Catena 67 minutes

From an early age Laura Catena wanted to pursue her interest in science. She earned an M.D. and became an emergency room physician in the Bay Area. Then in mid-career, while raising three children with her husband, who’s also an ER doc, she decided to join her family’s wine business in Argentina. Today she divides her time between San Francisco and Mendoza as managing director of her family’s wine empire.

David Graves 68 minutes

As a kid David Graves loved science and he earned a degree in evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. Soon though, in a grad program, he realized he wasn&rsquot enjoying life and what sounded like a lot more fun? Wine. He and a friend, Dick Ward, founded Saintsbury Winery in 1981. Today Saintsbury is known for beautifully crafted Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, based in the Carneros District. Enjoy!

Gerald Casale 64 minutes

Gerald Casale is best known as co-founder and bass player of the ‘80s band Devo – a group with a style all their own with hits like “Whip It.” As the band became successful and toured the world, Gerald fell in love with great food and wine. Recently this composer and performer became a Napa Valley vintner. His Fifty By Fifty is one of Napa’s newest wineries. Enjoy!

Robin Lail 80 minutes

This episode with Robin Lail covers nearly all of Napa Valley&rsquos winemaking history – from her great-grand-uncle, Gustave Niebaum establishing Inglenook in 1879, through the rebuilding years after Prohibition, to the birth and boom of Napa&rsquos modern era. Her story is one of success and heartbreak and of finding the strength to start over – more than once. Today Robin&rsquos winery Lail Vineyards produces wines of outstanding distinction and deliciousness.

Spencer Christian 64 minutes

Spencer Christian is recognized as Good Morning America&rsquos former weatherman but is less known as a wine pioneer. He created the first national wine show in the 1990s on HGTV – and he&rsquos still sharing his love of wine on a show called Sips with Spencer. In this episode he talks about growing up in the segregated South, his television career, gambling addiction, and tips to surviving a hurricane while on live TV. Enjoy!

Hailey and Lorenzo Trefethen 77 minutes

Brother and sister, Lorenzo and Hailey Trefethen, are the third generation of their family involved in the wine business in Napa Valley. They look back at more than a century of their historic winery and vineyard property, reflecting on the challenges of the past and present, while looking forward to carrying the winery into a successful future with heart, energy, and style!

Ray Isle 71 minutes

Ray Isle grew up in Houston, Texas, thinking he&rsquod be in a band or write novels. Along the way he fell in love with the world of wine and found a way to turn that enthusiasm and excitement into a career working as an editor in wine magazines, such as Food & Wine, where he is executive wine editor, and on television, in countless appearances on NBC&rsquos The Today Show. Enjoy!

Shari and Shannon Staglin 68 minutes

The enterprising mother/daughter team at the heart of Staglin Family Vineyard talks about Napa in the ‘60s, the challenges and joys of establishing a winery in the 1980s, Hollywood showing up in the 1990s, and how when son and brother, Brandon, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, the family responded by creating an annual music festival that has raised $400 million for brain health research. Enjoy!

Zelma Long 56 minutes

Zelma Long is known for her pioneering work at Robert Mondavi Winery in the early 1970s, at Simi Winery for 20 years, and for mentoring young winemakers including Paul Hobbs, Dave Ramey, Geneviève Janssens, and others. She entered the U.C. Davis winemaking program in the late 1960s, established Long Vineyards, and has done groundbreaking work in South African wine. Enjoy!

Randy Lewis 45 minutes

Randy Lewis grew up in Atlanta, Georgia with such a love for fast cars that the local police got to know him on a first name basis. After college he turned his need for speed into a career, first racing Formula 3 in Europe and later tearing up the oval at the Indianapolis 500. In the late-1980s when he helped a friend start a Napa Valley winery, Randy discovered a new passion – growing grapes and making wine. By the early 1990s he and his wife Debbie had launched Lewis Cellars, one of Napa’s most beloved wineries. Enjoy!

Bo Barrett 91 minutes

In 1972 Bo Barrett was a surfer in Southern California when his father bought an old winery in Napa Valley called Chateau Montelena. After finishing college Bo started working at the winery full-time and in this episode he talks about what he’s learned about winemaking, vineyards, economic cycles, parenthood, and how movies, such as Bottle Shock, are made. Today Bo oversees one of the most venerated wineries in the U.S. Enjoy!

Dave Ramey 64 minutes

In college Dave Ramey initially pursued an interest in literature before realizing his passion for wine. He earned a degree in enology in the late 1970s and sought out jobs in France and Australia. Back in the U.S. he worked at Simi, then Matanzas Creek, and later at Dominus before creating his own brand, Ramey Wine Cellars., one of California’s most respected wineries. Enjoy!

Tim Mondavi 64 minutes

Tim Mondavi spent more than 30 years working with his father at Robert Mondavi Winery until the family lost control of winery. Undaunted he started over with a new winery aptly named Continuum. Today Tim and his family are celebrating 100 years in the wine industry and he is more passionate than ever about producing world-class wine. Enjoy!

Tony Biagi 67 minutes

At UC Davis Tony Biagi discovered the enology program and wine became his overriding passion. He first worked for Duckhorn and went on to launch the winemaking programs at wineries including Paraduxx, Cade, Odette, and Hourglass. Today he consults with clients, including Amici and Lasseter, and has started his own brand, Patria. Enjoy!

Helen Keplinger 71 minutes

Helen Keplinger grew up envisioning a future in medical science, however, wine offered greater adventure – taking her to work with winemakers in Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, Australia, Spain, and South Africa. Today she has her own wine brand while making wine with golfer Cristie Kerr and for iconic winery Grace Family. Enjoy!

Paula Kornell 59 minutes

This episode gives you two incredible life stories in one – that of Hanns Kornell, who managed to get out of a Nazi concentration camp, make his way to America, and founded a winery near Calistoga producing sparkling wine and that of Paula Kornell growing up at her parent&rsquos winery, working with some top wineries such as Mondavi and Joseph Phelps, and now going full circle launching her own sparkling wine brand. Enjoy!

Elias Fernandez 77 minutes

Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez grew up in Napa Valley, attending school with the kids of prominent winery families. Meanwhile he got a taste of agriculture working in vineyards and orchards alongside his parents and later during summers at Louis Martini Winery. He was the first in his family to attend college, where he discovered a love of winemaking – a passion he&rsquos pursued ever since. Enjoy!

Beth and Lindy Novak 65 minutes

Beth and Lindy Novak have lots of great memories of growing up in Napa Valley including hanging out with the Shafer kids. But things got tough when their father died unexpectedly and their mother, Mary Novak, had to figure out her next steps. Fortunately Mary and her daughters created Spottswoode Estate, turning it into one of the top wineries in Napa Valley. Enjoy!

Mia Klein 67 minutes

As a teenager Mia Klein wanted to be a chef. In her first job as a cook, however, she discovered wine and a whole new path opened up for her. In 1984 she landed her first job at Chappellet. Eventually Klein became one of the busiest consulting winemakers in Napa Valley, producing wines for Spottswoode, Araujo, Viader, Dalla Valle, and others, including her own brand, Selene. Enjoy!

Richard Peterson 97 minutes

Few people can tell the story of California wine from the 1950s to today with the flair and authenticity of Richard Peterson. Hired by Gallo in 1958, later by legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff at Napa Valley’s Beaulieu Vineyard, and eventually striking out on his own, Peterson lived the highs and lows of American wine during these crucial years. He’s captured it all in his outstanding memoir The Winemaker.

THE TASTE — New York Podcast Series

New York Restaurateur
Serves up his recipes for success
in food, wine and life

Chianti Vintner
Fontodi winery owner talks the beauty of Chianti Classico

Verona Vintner
On compelling Allegrini wines she makes throughout Italy

Pursued By Bear owner on acting and Washington wines

Cleo Pahlmeyer 60 minutes

Cleo Pahlmeyer grew up in Napa then headed to the East Coast and later to London to pursue her love of art history. By 2008 though, she&rsquod developed an interest in the world of wine. She applied for an entry level job at her father&rsquos winery, Pahlmeyer, where she took on more and more responsibilities, and today is Pahlmeyer&rsquos president.

Chris Carpenter 50 minutes

At nearly 30, Chris Carpenter moved to Napa, earned a viticulture degree at UC Davis, and went on to become winemaker at Lokoya, Cardinale, Mt. Brave, and La Jota here in the Valley and Hickinbotham in Australia. In this episode, Chris talks about what it takes to make wines of beauty and distinction on two continents.

Michael Honig 55 minutes

In the 1980s Michael Honig took over the family&rsquos Napa Valley vineyard property and started Honig Winery, focusing on Sauvignon Blanc. While making Sauvignon Blanc is popular today, 20 or 30 years ago it was a steep uphill climb. He&rsquos seen it all and tells great stories about making it in the wine business. Enjoy!

Cathy Corison 43 minutes

Cathy Corison discovered her passion for wine almost by accident when she was a biology major in college. She went on to study winemaking at UC Davis and ventured into the wine business, which in the 1980s was not always eager to hire a woman. Undaunted, she pursued a personal vision for wine produced at the intersection of power and elegance – and has succeeded. Enjoy!

Paul Hobbs 69 minutes

He grew up one of 11 children on an apple farm and went on to become one of the most celebrated names in the world of wine. The epic story of Paul Hobbs includes names such as Robert Mondavi, Zelma Long, Larry Hyde, Michel Rolland, and Andy Beckstoffer and winds through Napa, Sonoma, the Finger Lakes, Argentina, France, Spain, and Armenia. You won’t want to miss this great wine adventure. Enjoy!

Jim Regusci 54 minutes

The Regusci family has lived in Napa Valley 120 years. Jim Regusci grew up on the historic property, which today is the home of Regusci Winery. Besides running the family winery, Jim owns a vineyard management company and is a partner in T-Vine and Tank Garage Winery. He and Doug also talk about how they met over a bottle of Wild Turkey. Enjoy!

Carmen Policy 54 minutes

Carmen Policy practiced law in Youngstown, Ohio, when his career took an unexpected turn -- he began doing legal work for the San Francisco 49ers in the late 1970s. He eventually became the team&rsquos CEO, earning five Superbowl rings.

Today Policy&rsquos winery, Casa Piena, is a neighbor of Shafer&rsquos and Carmen and Doug enjoy a conversation spanning wine, family, and football.

Michael Twelftree 52 minutes

Michael Twelftree was a construction business owner with a taste for rum. In the late 1990s he fell in love with wine and by 2000 he&rsquod launched his now-celebrated Two Hands Wines, an Australian winery which has won countless accolades in the world of fine wine. Twelftree believes in the power of the vineyard saying, &ldquoThe day you pick the grapes, you make the wine.&rdquo

Heidi Barrett 68 minutes

Heidi Barrett has produced extraordinary wines for clients including Screaming Eagle, Paradigm, Dalle Valle, and many more. One of her Cabernets holds the record as the most ever paid for a single bottle of wine -- $500,000 at Auction Napa Valley. Today she has her own wine brand, La Sirena, and another with her husband, Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena, called Barrett & Barrett.

On this episode of the podcast, Heidi takes Doug through one of the most fascinating careers and life stories in the Valley. Enjoy! For more visit: or
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

Pete Seghesio 49 minutes

Pete Seghesio tells the incredible 120-year story of his family in Sonoma County from Italian immigrants with only a love of farming to leaving a lasting legacy in the world of fine wine. Today Pete has two wine brands of his own and a salumi enterprise, Journeyman Meat Co.
For more visit:
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

John Anthony Truchard 57 minutes

Before John Anthony Truchard started high-end brand, John Anthony Vineyards, or his runaway brand JaM Cellars, he was a kid growing up working in vineyards with his dad, Tony Truchard. It&rsquos been a long, crazy journey to the success he enjoys today. For more on John Truchard visit
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

Marc Mondavi 45 minutes

Marc Mondavi grew up at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena and learned the wine business from his father, Peter Mondavi. Marc tells wild stories of growing up in Napa Valley and talks of his optimism as a new generation joins the family enterprise. For more info visit
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

Leslie Sbrocco 46 minutes

Doug Shafer talks with TV host and “wine translator” Leslie Sbrocco, known to millions from her fast-paced wine segments with Kathy Lee and Hoda Kotb on The Today Show, her PBS show Check Please, Bay Area and her books including Wine For Women. For more on Leslie Sbrocco visit
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

John Skupny 64 minutes

Doug Shafer talks with vintner John Skupny, whose resume includes working with Francis Ford Coppola at Inglenook, Bernard Portet at Clos du Val, and Charlie and Chuck Wagner at Caymus before he and his wife Tracey launched their own winery, Lang & Reed, specializing in Cabernet Franc. For more on John Skupny visit:
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

Cindy Pawlcyn 40 minutes

Doug Shafer talks with chef Cindy Pawlcyn, who is credited with launching the current era of Napa Valley’s restaurant scene, when she opened Mustards in 1983. She went on to open Fog City Diner in San Francisco, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena, Calif., and win a James Beard Award for one of her cookbooks. For more on Cindy Pawlcyn visit:
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript

The Taste with Doug Shafer is also available on:

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Use your favorite app to find and subscribe to podcasts such as “The Taste with Doug Shafer.”

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Ree Drummond Gushes About Husband Ladd for His First Cover of Pioneer Woman Magazine

Ree Drummond’s love for her husband is front page news.

For the first time in Pioneer Woman Magazine history, the Food Network star is accompanied on the cover by her spouse, Ladd Drummond. Though Ree usually holds the glossy on her own, for the new fall issue (out August 27), Ladd is pictured staring lovingly at Ree, cowboy hat on and all.

𠇌over Bae. ❤️,” she wrote on an Instagram post celebrating the new release.

The reason for the change up is because the couple is approaching their 23rd wedding anniversary. And though they forgot about their special day last year, Ree plans to “make up for our oversight” this year.

“I admit it: Our anniversary, September 21, totally passed us by last year,” she writes in The Pioneer Woman Magazine. “It was our daughter Alex’s ring ceremony at Texas A&M (a big deal for seniors!), and Ladd and I had to fly there and back in one day because I was filming my Food Network show on the ranch. In a word: hectic! Fortunately, neither of us gets too caught up with celebrating things on specific dates—we’re similar in that way!”

Ree’s plan to redeem herself this time around involves a steak dinner with lemon-pepper shoestring fries, a wedge salad, and dulce de leche lava cakes, all of which she shares recipes for in the magazine.

Elsewhere in the issue, Ree raves about “so many things I love,” she says, listing off cow hide rugs, coffee and more. 𠇊nd my greatest love: Ladd. After much consideration, and weighing all the pros and cons, I have decided that I’ll keep him,” she jokes.

RELATED VIDEO: Ree Drummond and Her Husband Ladd Share How Their Marriage Has Grown

Ree first met Ladd during a girls’ night out at a smoky bar. “He was just completely different from all the boys I𠆝 been crazy about,” she told PEOPLE in 2017. “I don’t mean to make it sound like Maria and Tony in West Side Story, but I was just sort of like, ‘Oh boy!’ My knees were weak.” A year and a half later they were engaged.

They have since gone on to become parents to four children, Alex, 22, Paige, 19, Bryce, 16, and Todd, 15, as well as business partners in their restaurant, The Mercantile, and hotel, the Boarding House, both in their hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

After over 20 years together, Ree credits their lasting relationship to a shared faith.

“This isn’t the answer for everybody, but we go to church together every Sunday,” she told PEOPLE in 2017. “It’s something that we do no matter what comes up. No matter how tired we are. I’ve seen the times that we’ve slipped away from that, and disaster is lurking in the bushes.”

Watch the video: Ep 219: Winery-preneurs The Larsen Project and Camlow Cellars of Sonoma, CA (June 2022).


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