• Featured Article

    Brawn & Brains: Paso Robles' Rhone Blends

    If ever there was a winegrowing region that felt like a frontier, it’s Paso Robles. Situated along the Pacific Coast in Central California, the landscape is straight out of Easy Rider: rugged, tawny hills are littered with chaparral and oak trees as they roll on for miles. Harley Davidsons cruise along narrow, twisting roads under the blazing sun. It’s been dubbed the wild west of the wine industry, for more than just its many cattle ranches. The town’s roots go back to real cowboys: it was cofounded by Jesse James’s uncle, and the outlaw himself spent time in Paso while healing from gunshot wounds from a bank hold up. But history aside, there’s an ethos here among winemakers that matches the pioneer spirit. Paso’s winemakers are pathfinders, eschewing standard practice and forging ahead with whatever their hearts—and tastebuds—dictate.

  • Featured Article

    Oregon Soil...It's what's for dinner.

    Jay Somers is a man of many passions—his dogs, his guitar, and—where this matters to his devotees, who are legion—his soils.
    As proprietor of J. Christopher Winery, Somers hand crafts wines that are so deeply zeroed in on place that he eschews the term “Oregon wines” as too broad. What he makes are Willamette Valley wines, and good ones: Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc that show a Burgundy and Sancerre influence while showcasing the nuances of the AVAs in Willamette Valley.

  • Featured Article

    3,000-Mile Region Commands Attention

    Last May (2013) Vine Connections launched “The New Chile.” Many of you may remember being visited by Chilean winemakers. Well this May (2014) the cover story of Wine Spectator was “The New Chile.” It appears that Chile’s 250+ wineries are commanding attention on the world stage. And there’s good reason to look now to the 3,000-mile region west of the Andes: with a dedicated organic ethos, completely ungrafted rootstocks, and enthusiastic international investment from top winemakers, Chile’s winemaking is more exciting than ever before. And, after a long focus on affordable varietal wines with hit-or-miss quality, the buzz word is now, finally, terroir.

  • Featured Article

    Call Me Ishmael - Visit to Melville in Sta. Rita Hills

    When Ron Melville moved to Santa Barbara from Sonoma in 1989 to set up shop, little did he know that he’d be laying the groundwork for something of an empire. When the Melville family arrived, winegrowing in Santa Barbara County was just on the verge of a boom—10,000+ acres of grapes were planted within the next decade. Twenty-five years later, the region has earned a major reputation for cool-climate varietals, and Melville and his team are at the center of the buzz.

  • Featured Article

    Mondeuse Master

    Jean-Yves Peron has amassed a cult following by devoting himself to making radically natural wines from the Mondeuse grape, a rare native to Savoie. Peron takes natural to the max—organic farming, wild yeasts, minimal interventions, no fining, filtering, or sulfur. He vinifies the whole cluster, and uses no temperature control. His vines are as old as 130 years, and his cellar is the basement of his family farmhouse.This is back-to-roots winemaking that is deeply connected to Savoie, and the result is a wine with a personality you won’t find anywhere else.