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Listen Up: The WineMakers

by Mark Kaufman

The WineMakers Podcast Weekly Sonoma Wine Shows

Since early 2017, four guys, each well-immersed in the Sonoma wine community, have been recording live weekly podcasts focused on wine. Listen to any of their archived podcasts and you may hear an extended interview with one of Sonoma’s independent wine makers or a local restaurateur, a discussion on important Sonoma events, or just the four of them talking about, tasting and enjoying wine. With over 11,000 downloads of their 32 archived shows, the typically 45-minute episodes have found a following among food and wine lovers.

The idea of creating weekly, wine-infused podcasts was conceived of John Myers. John has been hosting wine shows on Sonoma’s KSVY-FM for the last six years and, at one time or another, had each of the podcast members on his show.

Over time, The Host, an enthusiastic wine lover, developed friendships with the three other partners, including:

The Sommelier, Brian Casey; previously Wine Director of the girl & the fig and currently Sommelier at Santé at Fairmont's Sonoma Mission Inn.

The Winemaker, Bart Hansen; 30 years making wine and, for the last 10 years, Cellar Master at Lasseter Family Vineyards and owner/winemaker at his own label, Dane Cellars

The Wine Hound, Sam Coturri; part owner of Winery Sixteen 600, born and raised in the family vineyard on the southern slope of Sonoma’s Moon Mountain

Sitting down with a glass of wine and listening to the podcasts, one gets an appreciation of the abundant wine knowledge and camaraderie that has development between these four friends. Whereas each podcast does have a theme, everyone brings in episode ideas. John then sets the schedule, sends info, articles, and tags items of interest to the team. As if on a quest, they all trade articles, hit the Google universe to research supportive information, and think about the upcoming episode in preparation to the live show. Listening in, you can tell right away that these guys really enjoy their crafts, un-apologetically love wine, have an insatiable curiosity and communicate as if we listeners have joined them in their living room, sharing food and learning something new about wine.

The goal of the average episode is to de-mystify wine by talking about how wine is best grown, made, and consumed, while at the same time humanizing the industry. Messages such as red, white or rose wine can be enjoyed at any time or, that bubbly isn’t just for the holidays, infuses their shows. They typically open a couple of bottles of wine and talk about what the wine is, where it’s from, its sense of place, what food may pair well with it, and share their infectious enjoyment of it. You know that they are passionate and serious about wine, but they don’t take themselves seriously.

When asked about the movement of Sonoma vineyards towards Rhône varieties, they described Sonoma’s supportive climate which shares many similarities with France’s Rhône Valley. Not surprisingly, there is an ongoing dialog among Sonoma vintners with Rhône District winemakers, sharing passion, knowledge and the love of Rhône varietals. On the subject of continual improvement of California’s Rhône varietal wines, they've described a number of factors, including more experience making the wines, growing Rhone grapes in the right places, the availability of more mature vines, expert vineyard management, better wine making decisions, and Sondra Bernstein’s influence over the last 20 years. Her exclusive focus on Rhône varieties in her restaurants, events, and now her new Rhône Room tasting bar, has helped lead the Rhône-Alone wine movement .

Each of the team members hope to make connections with their listeners through feedback and suggestions for future podcasts.

You can find past episodes and comment at: https://radiomisfits.com/category/twm/ or search for the Wine-Makers on Itunes Podcasts.

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