The Mark Wine Group

This project is so exciting. We would love to hear where the idea for Maverick Ranches came from?

Dave Guffy

This wine pays homage to the legacy of mavericks in the Hess family: from Donald Hess going against conventional wisdom in planting hillside vineyards on Mount Veeder, to Tim Persson expanding into Northeastern Napa with the 2019 purchase of Iron Corral.

Maverick Ranches and our move into Paso Robles furthers the explorer mindset that we do our best to embody.

The Mark Wine Group

We are really loving the forward thinking and forward moving that you are doing from the physical renovations at the winery in recent years to the layers of wines offered.

What distinguishes Maverick Ranches from other Hess Persson brands?

Dave Guffy

We’re using Maverick Ranches to expand upon the success Hess has had in putting out high quality, acclaimed Cabernets: from Mt. Veeder to our Allomi Vineyard, we’re proud of the critical and consumer recognition our wines have enjoyed.

However, as the costs of farming and procuring fruit from Napa continues to spiral upwards, we wanted to produce a high-quality Cabernet that could be the entry point into our Napa wines.

The Mark Wine Group

Oh, please tell us more!

Dave Guffy

Of course. With Maverick Ranches we are targeting a $15 by-the-glass price point which attempts to bring younger consumers into our portfolio.

We’re aging this wine using 40% new French Oak, which gives us elegance and that rich and dense flavor we were going for.

The Mark Wine Group

I totally tasted that rich and dense flavor. I was lucky to be part of the group in Aspen that were the first to taste it and it got quite a few great reviews, especially given it was a barrel sample.  We totally missed your presence there but we heard your fan club (okay, wine club members) on a cruise loved you teaching them all about the Hess Persson wines on board.

Dave Guffy

Yes, I was sorry I missed you and Mark in Aspen this year but I was finishing up a wine club cruise in the Mediterranean.

The Mark Wine Group

Stephanie Pope did a great job introducing the wine and I remember being very intrigued about the AVA within Paso Robles she talked about.

Dave Guffy

We’re sourcing this wine from the Estrella District, a nested AVA within Paso Robles, from some contacts I have in Paso Robles.

This area in Northeastern Paso is known for colder evenings, caused by ocean breezes flowing through the gaps in the Santa Lucia Mountain range, cooling off the grapes during the growing season and allowing for complexity in the finished wine.

The Mark Wine Group

The Santa Lucia Mountain range is so stunning and such a phenomenal place for growing Cabernet. We especially love that Maverick Ranches is all about the On-Premise.

Dave Guffy

Donald Hess built his winery by producing wines meant to be enjoyed with food in restaurants. We hope this product delights diners and provides a reprieve from the spiraling cost of Napa Cabernet for our restaurant and hotel partners.

The Mark Wine Group

We also love how you embrace sustainable farming and winemaking for all your products.

Dave Guffy

100% of our estate owned vineyards and winemaking facilities are certified sustainable by the CSWA (California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance).

Beyond 3rd party certifications, our vineyards and winemaking crews adopt a continuous improvement mindset when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and sustainability—something Donald Hess was doing back in the 1980s before people were talking about this more broadly.

The Mark Wine Group

Definitely a maverick in his own right.  We love how Maverick Ranches embodies his pioneering spirit.

Thank you so much Dave!

Dave Guffy

My pleasure. Thank you for all you do.

Dedicated Farming, Masterful Winemaking, & Profound Wines

BY LISA GMUR, CSW

Clinging to a necklace of 30 small mountain blocks atop the steep coastal ridge on the wild Sonoma Coast sits Fort Ross Vineyard. Developed and planted by owners Lester and Linda Schwartz and their small crew, Fort Ross Vineyard is just one mile west of the Pacific Ocean and is all about estate grown fruit.
Lester & Linda Schwartz, Owners & Founders
The vineyards sit at an altitude of 920 to 1800 feet above sea level with steep slopes, cool climate and sedimentary soil types. But Fort Ross is not just the name of the vineyard, it also headlines one California’s premiere AVA’s that was long in the making. In fact It was a 13 year process which began in 1994 and finally approved in 2012. There are 17 growers in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA including Flowers. Peter Michael, Hirsch, Failla, Pahlmeyer and Marcassin.
Overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean, floating above the coastal fog & surrounded by forests & meadows, the tasting room beckons.

Fort Ross Sea View

The History of Fort Ross Vineyards

The story of the Fort Ross Vineyard goes back to the 1960’s in Cape Town, South Africa where Lester and Linda met as college students. He was studying geology and she was studying music.

The two married and nine years later moved to San Francisco, California. Missing the country life he experienced in South Africa, he was drawn to the old Russian settlement of Fort Ross overlooking the Pacific Ocean and built an Africa inspired home there. The vineyard project began in 1991.

They tested 16 different grape varieties, three trellis systems, assorted clines and rootstocks until they discovered that the ideal grapes were Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Jeff Pisoni, Winemaker

Jeff Pisoni is the winemaker at Fort Ross and he approaches winemaking with a very specific goal; each vine and each barrel is dealt with individually.
Jeff Pisoni, Fort Ross Vineyards, Winemaker

The wines are made with simplicity to let the estate grown fruit and terroir speak. The limited wines produced in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA reflect the very unique terroir with elegance, fine structure, seamless balance and vibrant fruit. The tempering influence of fog, the cool climate challenges the grapes in this region so they develop slowly and evenly to perfection.

THE STORY BEHIND THE WINES

BY LISA GMUR, CSW

Nestled in the quaint Napa Valley town of St. Helena, is one of the busiest restaurants in the United States.  In fact, more than ¼ million people dine there every year. That restaurant is called Farmstead and its offspring is a winery owned by the same family, the Hall family, of Long Meadow Ranch fame.

Chris Hall, the offspring of Long Meadow Ranch founders Ted and Letty Hall, was driving through St. Helena one day about twelve, thirteen years ago on his way to their home up in the Mayacamas mountains when he noticed a “For Lease” sign on a local plant nursery. Chris pulled in and talked with the owner. It turned out that the owner was a little overwhelmed with the cost of operations and feeling the economic downturn in a big way. He was hoping to lease or sell a house on the property.

Chris jumped at the idea and proposed turning it into a tasting room for Long Meadow Ranch wines. His folks were on board too. A few years later, Long Meadow Ranch purchased the rest of the property and built the Farmstead restaurant.

(L) Ted, Laddie, & Chris Hall
FULL CIRCLE FARMING AT LONG MEADOW RANCH

Farmstead Restaurant employs a very unique concept called Full Circle Farming that is tied to the farm at Long Meadow Ranch. The first quality of fruits and vegetables grown on the farm are served at Farmstead. The second quality of their organic produce is used for soups and garnishes at the restaurant. The third layer is never for human consumption.

Full Circle Farming is an organic, sustainable, integrated farming system that relies on each part of the ranch to contribute to the health of the whole.
It is only used for the chickens and goats who eat the organic fruits and vegetables and then produce the organic eggs and dairy which are all served in the restaurant. The waste from the chickens and manure from the cattle goes into the compost program which produces 250 tons of compost a year which then gets sprinkled back into the land. You can also find everything edible from their farm (including Letty) at the local Farmer’s Market.

Today Farmstead is in the top 100 grossing single standing restaurants. And it is this popularity that helped spawn Farmstead wines. They also do a lot of weddings and events, which was another catalyst for the Farmstead Wines. They wanted a wine that they could sell they really represented what the restaurant was all about.

That brings us to Farmstead wines “which are really just an extension of Long Meadow Ranch,” says Chief Sales Officer Bradley Groper. “And we are also really proud of the fact that we have always had a female winemaker on board,” adds Groper. (Previous women winemakers at Long Meadow Ranch have included famed Napa winemakers Cathy Corison and Ashley Heisey)

Lisanne Leask, Director of Winemaking

These days, Lisanne Leask is Director of Winemaking for the company as well as the winemaker for the three Farmstead wines we’ve recently added to The MWG portfolio.

The Farmstead Chardonnay is sourced from like-minded growers in Carneros and has the racy acidity the folks at Long Meadow Ranch love. The Pinot Noir comes from well-heeled growers in Anderson Valley and is very Burgundian in style. The Cabernet Sauvignon hails from grower friends in Napa and is very similar in style to the Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet but at a really great BTG price.

If you haven’t tasted them yet, we can’t wait for you to try them!

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Making Wine & Giving Back

By Lisa Gmur, CSW

When Joe Dobbes launched his winery, Dobbes Family Estate, back in 2002. He had a vision; a Pinot Noir led, traditionally crafted Burgundian style portfolio from traditional and emerging AVAs primarily within the Willamette and Rogue Valleys. Before this, Joe had worked for 17 years in the business for others internationally and in Oregon. But his dream pushed him to pursue his own business, against all odds.

Joe started this company with what he says was “… a small amount of money in my back pocket, a lot of experience and passion, and sufficient ignorance of what I was up against.”  Twenty years later, Dobbes Family Estate is going strong. Their multi-faceted wine company is in their second-generation as they continue what Joe started 20 years ago.

In 2018, they launched “Wine by Joe,” their line-up of “really good Oregon wines at really good prices.” Most recently they added “Joe to Go,” a trio of canned wines. Wine by Joe and Joe to Go are the younger siblings of the original Dobbes wines and offer a collection of very approachable wines in 750 ml’s, 375 ml’s and cans, one of the fastest growing wine categories.

Dobbes Family Estate is one of Oregon’s largest producers vinifying over 200,000 cases annually. Their wines are sourced from their 214-acre estate vineyard, Seabreeze, as well as other great locations throughout Oregon’s wine growing regions.

This includes a collection of vineyards spanning from the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, Eola-Amity and McMinnville appellations in both the Willamette and Rogue Valleys.

Dobbes Family Estate; Dundee, Oregon

Dobbes Family Estate is also about more than wine. They are firmly committed to “Giving Back,” and for helping the planet to survive. The Dobbes Family Estate is a proud member of “1% For The Planet,” an organization that supports thousands of environmental and social justice focused non-profits.

In fact, they donate 1% of their gross sales each year to a variety of “1% For The Planet” approved partners. They are equally engaged and committed to Portland based Partners in Diversity; a non-profit aimed at attracting, developing, and maintaining diversity influencers and professionals of color.

AHIVOY, another Dobbes Family Estate philanthropy is a non-profit organization creating opportunities and empowering Latinx and Hispanic vineyard workers of the Willamette Valley to overcome socioeconomic challenges.

Since 2004, the Dobbes Family Estate charitable giving program has given their individual employees the opportunity to select a cause that has special meaning to them, to which they donate 10% of sales of a select wine during that quarter.

In 2021, the Center for Diversity & the Environment was selected. They are a group who harnesses the power of racial and ethnic diversity to transform the US environmental movement by developing leaders, catalyzing change within institutions, and building alliances.

The Chicks have hatched
a new career in wine.

By Lisa Gmur, CSW

The Chicks, (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) recently launched an emotional new album titled Gaslighter. It’s the first album in over a decade for this 13-time Grammy winning band. Well, the album has legs, as in the legs in wine lexicon.

Gaslighter is also a new wine portfolio.
Lead singer Natlie Maines, and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer have been pretty outspoken. They dropped the “Dixie” part of their name because of its association with the Confederate South. Today, they share their new name “The Chicks,” with a New Zealand group of the same name.

So, when they teamed up with Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma, there was a lot of chat about names as in wine names, and Gaslighter came about naturally.

A California Rosé that’s lively, fresh & fierce.

Make Your Rules

For those who think and drink for themselves.

The relationship between The Chicks and Gundlach Bunschu was also organic. Mutual friends brought them together and after many, many wine samples and bottle designs, four Gaslighter wines were born including an absolutely delicious Pinot Noir Rosé.

The Gaslighter wines are sourced from the Bundschu family’s estate vineyards along with a few selected grower partners across Sonoma and Napa Valley. The wines are all produced and bottled at Bundschu’s winery.

Kate Bundschu, a 6th generation vintner, and Chief Marketing Officer at the winery was super excited to work with The Chicks. “Their clear vision for the brand, along with their creativity, equality standards and intentional approach to winemaking closely mirrors our own values,” says Bundschu.

Don’t let them fool you.

Speak your truth.

Apparently, The Chicks are huge wine aficiando’s. “Natalie, Emily and I have always loved great wine and through close relationships with some Sonoma California friends, we were offered the chance to do a partnership with the Gundlach Bundschu family,” says Martie Maguire about this collaboration.

The label is everything The Chicks are all about these days; edgy, bold and a definite conversation starter. The black matte and geometric design had us at first sight.

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Full Circle Farming in
Napa’s Mayacamas Mountains

By Lisa Gmur, CSW

In 1872, a gentleman and Civil War Veteran by the name of E.J. Church was given an opportunity to move from the east to the west. President Ulysses S. Grant himself signed the land patent granting 640-acres in the Mayacamas Mountains to Church. And for fifty years Church farmed the property with, grapes for wine, olives for olive oil, apple orchards, cattle, and goats.

In 1920 with the start of prohibition, he sold the property to a San Francisco couple who used it as a weekend retreat. Over the years the estate became swallowed by the encroaching forest.

All that changed when the Hall family bought the property in 1989 and breathed life back into the land, nurturing it back to its former glory, and then some. The Hall family cut back abandoned olive trees, replanted the vineyards and orchards and established Long Meadow Ranch.

Their intention was to organically farm the property which was something fairly new to the region. But they didn’t relent. With a few other Napa families and farmers they led the charge in organic farming and their first organically farmed grapes came on line with their 1994 vintage.

Today there are bees for honey, egg laying flocks of chickens including the famed Rhode Island Reds. There is an organic fruit and vegetable garden with over 250 different varieties.

Long Meadow Ranch practices what they call Full Circle Farming where basically nothing goes to waste, and everything goes back into the circle. How this works is fairly simple; each part of the farm contributes to the other. For instance, the first quality of fruits and vegetables is served at their Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena.

"The Mountain Estate (also known as our Mayacamas Estate) is nestled in the mountains high above the Rutherford Bench and is home to vineyards, olive groves, horses, and the edible garden Chris and Timmy planted as children on the ranch."

"The Rutherford Estate sits on a mineral-rich benchland that was once a riverbed on the floor of the Napa Valley and is now home to vineyards, fruits and vegetables, beehives, and our flock of egg-laying chickens."

"The Anderson Valley Estate, in Mendocino County, stretches over a diverse mix of elevations with the Navarro River forming the southern boundary and cool sea breezes from the Pacific bringing the marine layer through our vines."

The second quality of their organic produce is used for soups and garnishes at the restaurant. The third layer is never for human consumption. It is only used for the chickens and goats who eat the organic fruits and vegetables and then produce the organic eggs and dairy which are all served in the restaurant. The waste from the chickens and manure from the cattle goes into the compost program which produces 250 tons of compost a year which then gets sprinkled back into the land.

The last 30 plus years under the Hall family have also seen physical expansion. They purchased a property in Rutherford, widely known and loved for Cabernet Sauvignon, and then in another in Anderson Valley where they farm Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a small plot of Pinot Grigio.

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Born from Goodness

By Lisa Gmur, CSW

Hogwash was born at a charity event in Atlanta back in 2008. As the story goes, the chef of the event had loose ties to Napa Valley and put out the call for a quality wine that would match the cuisine.

A young winemaking team from California accepted the challenge and sent shiners of Grenache Rosé. The folks running the event were looking for a wine the guests could drink with the hogs being roasted, and one guest shouted, “We can really wash the hog down with this Rosé,” and they did.

The wine was a huge success, and the name Hogwash was born.

Hogwash Rosé lives on through the team at Amulet Estate. It has grown organically from that first batch and now includes Hogwash Rosé in all shapes and sizes as well as a sparking rosé. “We’ve got kegs, cans, 750’s, 1.5’s, even Frosé,” says Charlie Plummer, Director of National Sales for Hogwash and Amulet Estate wines.

THE SIMPLE SATISFACTION OF THAT VERY FIRST SIP.

“The kegs started 8 years ago because of R & D Kitchen in Yountville,” he adds, “and that business has really grown.” As for cans, well, the can movement had everything to do with launching Hogwash in those mini metal containers. “We actually started with 375ml’s but we switched to 250 ml’s.” That happened for a few reasons; I can attest to the fact the 375 ml cans can be kinda deceiving. Two cans and you’ve drunk a bottle of wine that has gone down way to easily. And the second is pricing. “The 250ml size is way better for On-Premise single servings,” says Plummer, “and the two pack pricing is much easier to stomach.”

The original Rosè was a Grenache based wine, but grenache is not readily accessible or available in large quantities so winemaker, Shawn Johnson, started adding in Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and even a little of the white grape varietal, Verdelho all grown in the Clarksburg AVA in Northern California. The exact percentages will vary from vintage to vintage, but there will always be some of that original Grenache. “We are shooting for a house style like Champagne,” adds Plummer, to the evolution of this easy going, lifestyle brand.

ALSO AVAILABLE IN 250ML CANS

Hogwash’s origins at that charity event in Atlanta still play a huge role in its footprint. “In 2022 we are putting a lot more money behind events,” says Plummer, something they have been doing all along, but now they plan to really kick it up a notch. “We have been participating in many charity events like ‘Hogs for a Cause’ in New Orleans which raises money for Pediatric Cancer Research. We have also been a big supporter of the Nantucket Food & Wine Festival held each May. Our goal is to do more festivals and charity events, really homing in, on local markets.”

If you haven’t had a chance to try Hogwash Rosè or their new Hogwash Sparkling Rosè in cans, definitely reach out to us. There is one slight change you may notice on the Sparkling Rosè can if you have already tried them. “We just went through a new canning of the Sparkling wine,” says Plummer, of the change, “the new cans have a slick label because the matted ones looked wet and frosted when they were iced down.” Same delicious bubbly nectar inside.

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"The Great Courtship"

Interview By Lisa Gmur, CSW

Last year, French “affordable luxury” bubbles sensation, Le Grand Courtâge, formed a national partnership with our national partner in wine, Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits. “Le Grand Courtâge”, which loosely translates to “The Great Courtship” in English, certainly feels that way for us ~ we welcomed the brand into our portfolio with open arms, we have been enjoying phenomenal success with the Blanc de Blancs and Rosé and want to share more of their story.

We sat down for an exclusive interview with founder Tawnya Falkner on our recent trip to L.A. to learn more.

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Proprietor at Le Grand Courtâge

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

We are dying to know how it all began for Tawnya Falkner?

Tawnya Falkner

Okay, here goes. I grew up in upstate New York, in a 3 street farming village at 12 Main Street across from the general store and I fondly remember back yard BBQs and Sunday dinners.

My parents still live in that house and both they, and that experience, definitely helped inform my view that it’s the simple pleasures that bring the greatest joy.

That small town also inspired my wanderlust and evoked a passion for traveling the world and I’ve subsequently lived in Asia and Europe.

The Mark Wine Group

How fabulous. Is that how you were introduced to wine?

Tawnya Falkner

Absolutely. In visiting different parts of the world, it enhanced my interest in food & wine and it also showed me that they are the great common denominator in all countries.

The Mark Wine Group

I love that! Of course, I am utterly curious about how you got from being an architect and real estate developer to making wine in France?

Tawnya Falkner

While on the surface the two careers in development and wine may seem vastly differently, the truth is that with physical spaces, you are trying to evoke a feeling whereby it leaves people with an impression and appeals to various senses (like with wine).

A development is very multi-faceted and is years in the making, much like winemaking. In reality, with both you are thinking about the end product and what your goal and objective is on day one.  To me the common thread of each is bringing people together and ultimately it is about human connection.

The Mark Wine Group

I couldn’t agree more. Such a beautiful way to look at it. And that immediately makes me think of the phrase, “In vino veritas.” In wine there is truth. Did you ever have an “aha” wine moment?

Tawnya Falkner

It was more of an awakening.  Friends and I participated in a champagne tasting at Arlequin in San Francisco and even with all the expensive champagnes, most of us liked the lighter, less doughy styles.

Also, monthly at home we did tastings of a particular varietal with friends that love wine, and when we did sparkling, the one which ‘won’ out over the champagnes was a light styled French sparkling that was very affordable.

These two events piqued my interest and started me down the path.

The Mark Wine Group

Please tell us more about this. About how you got from rural New York to San Francisco to France.

Tawnya Falkner

Having grown up in a rural area, people worked in farming, factories or the service industry. My father worked hard as a machinist and my mom was in the insurance industry. I’m actually the first person in my family to graduate from college.

Growing up I wanted to be an architect and pursued that path and ultimately became a real estate developer. That led me to San Francisco.

The Mark Wine Group

And the next leg?

Tawnya Falkner

As a female consumer I was surprised by the lack of innovation and level of traditionalism in most French wines, and I saw a gap in the category. I also saw the huge growth in the category both domestically and globally.

As most French wine is traditionally branded, packaged and styled, I saw an opportunity to create an affordable French sparkling wine that appeals to the consumer: a memorable name, an elegant bottle, and a balanced, fruit forward wine that delights the palate.

As champagne is expensive, I wanted to create an affordable luxury to celebrate and elevate the “every” day.

continued...

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

And that it does.  Where did you go from there? Once you saw the opportunity?

Tawnya Falkner

I did my homework. I put together a business plan, took the leap, and convinced a Frenchman named Marcel to work with me on developing my vision.

With 40+ years of sparkling experience, he was able to help me craft my vision and stylistic flavor profile and handles the technical aspects of the wine making.

The Mark Wine Group

How can you go wrong with a French guy named Marcel. And the name? How did you come up with Le Grand Courtâge?

Tawnya Falkner

In French, Le Grand Courtâge means ‘the great courtship’ and it is a little my story as an American working with the French, blending grapes from different terroir, and the old and new world coming together.

For me, Le Grand Courtâge it is about reminding people to take a few moments to re-charge and find the joy in life’s simple pleasures, like a meal shared with friends, a relaxing bubble bath or a picnic in the park…. all while enjoying a glass of bubbles of course.

The Mark Wine Group

Of course. We especially love that your company is female owned and run.

Tawnya Falkner

The reality is that females control 85% of all consumer purchases since they do the majority of the household shopping. And they also purchase a similar percentage of bubbles annually.

Early on I felt there was an opportunity to offer a fresh female perspective to brand building and the category. I felt that we could win with a female team since we are the consumer base.

I believe our palate and overall approach to marketing and positioning, along with our what and why, helps the brand and story to resonate in the hearts and minds.

We innately understand what women think and I believe our positive and aspirational messaging is a point of differentiation.

The Mark Wine Group

What has it been like in this male dominated industry?

Tawnya Falkner

Building a business and a brand is hard, but the issues of raising capital and trying to break into a massive industry dominated by men and big brands, has been challenging to say the least.

The Mark Wine Group

So breaking barriers is kind of your thing then. We love that!

Tawnya Falkner

We broke convention with our blend too, yes. It’s a veritable Tour de France which showcases unique varietals from across France.

This vin mousseux is truly a French appelated wine given the unique varietals from various regions. Americans talk dry but drink sweet, and therefore I wanted to offer the traditional attributes of dryness, yeast and acidity, but with hints of fruit on the finish to soften the profile.

We produce in Nuits St Georges in Burgundy but source from a few regions. Our Blanc de Blancs is Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Chenin Blanc. The Brut Rose is Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc and Gamay.

continued...

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

The packaging is pretty fabulous too.

Tawnya Falkner

I saw a gap which centered around price, palate and packaging. I set out to re-envision the bottle design, soften the profile and make an affordable everyday luxury which is approachable and versatile.

The Mark Wine Group

Tres cool. Now, let’s talk food and wine. Do you have a favorite cuisine?

Tawnya Falkner

Country French cuisine and Japanese are my two favorite styles.

The Mark Wine Group

Do you have a favorite food & wine pairing?

Tawnya Falkner

Fried Chicken and bubbles are my favorite! Popcorn, potato chips, spicy Asian, sushi, BBQ… really anything rich, savory, fatty, fried or spicy are terrific pairings. Sparkling truly is the ‘scrubbing bubbles’ for the palate and the effervescence and acidity make for a very versatile wine for cuisines and cocktails.

The Mark Wine Group

Ooh yeah. White Truffle Potato Chips with Le Grand Courtâge are pretty fabulous. And finally…what’s the one thing you want everyone to take away from this interview and your brand?

Tawnya Falkner

On the back of every bottle is says “Embrace life. Dream Big. Accept all invitations.” Our overarching philosophy is about living joyously.

This is just the beginning of the journey, we’ve already hit 50,000 cases with 70% on-premise placements, so our raison d’être and reason for being seems to be working.

Our also philosophy seems to strike a chord with consumers and trade.

The Mark Wine Group

It’s definitely struck a chord with us. Thank you so much. And thank you so much for being our partner!

continued...

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"In Vino Veritas"

Interview By Lisa Gmur, CSW

What happens when you bring two great wineries from two very different wine regions together to make a wine in a brand new AVA? Well, it’s pretty amazing.

Mark Albrecht, Owner, Operator, Janitor & CEO, Roots Run Deep Winery

When Napa Valley’s Roots Run Deep and Columbia Valley’s Goose Ridge decided to join forces to make a Cabernet Sauvignon in the Goose Gap AVA, it definitely got our attention.

They are both supplier partners of ours and we’ve recently featured Roots Run Deep Winery as well as Goose Ridge’s winemaker in The Mark Wine News.

Truth be Told Cabernet Sauvignon is made by Roots Run Deep winemaker Macario Montoya in Washington State from hillside portions of Goose Ridge Estate vineyards at the foothills of Red Mountain.  It really is a fabulous collaboration.

Goose Gap is America’s newest AVA and has gained global attention for its quality Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec, all grapes featured in Truth be Told.

The inaugural 2018 vintage sold out in record time and the 2019 vintage is ready to go.

We talked with Mark Neville, Senior Vice President of Roots Run Deep, about how this alliance came about.

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

So, tell us, what’s the story? How did this collaboration happen?

Mark Neville

Having worked with Cabernet vineyards throughout California, from our home base in Napa Valley down to Paso Robles, and up north into Lake County, we were excited to broaden our horizons a bit for Truth Be Told and see what kind of fruit was available in Washington state.

The Mark Wine Group

That makes sense. What happened next?

Mark Neville

Our winemaker Macario Montoya, started as we all do when looking into a new wine area: crack a few bottles and see what is out there!

Who is doing what? What producers are standing out?

It was clear very early on that the vineyards around Goose Gap, Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills offered very high quality, structured, ripe cabernet and that the wines being made from those sites were incredibly consistent.

The Mark Wine Group

Why did you decide on the Monson Family?

Mark Neville

It was a matter of connecting the dots, and the Monson Family was a natural fit.

Their Goose Gap terroir for Cabernet is incredible, nestled right there between Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills. They've been farming that corner of the world for decades.

Plus, our VP Sean Salene and I had worked with them on a past project, so we had a relationship. The fact that they are a family operation like ours was a great bonus.

The Mark Wine Group

When did this whole process for Truth be Told begin?

Mark Neville

We developed the concept over the past three years, with 2018 being our first vintage. We then sold out in 60 days!

Thankfully we had planned for a quick turnaround and the 2019 Truth Be Told is available now.

The Mark Wine Group

Was it dependent on the new Goose Gap AVA?

Mark Neville

Not necessarily. The news of the Goose Gap AVA being authorized and promoted came after we began talking with the Monson’s. The recognition of the terroir as special and unique is wonderful, but they've been farming cabernet there for 30 years. We knew it was special.

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GOOSE GAP AVA

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

How has the collaboration worked as far as who does what?

Mark Neville

We are based in Napa Valley, so they of course manage the vineyard. We defer to their knowledge of their land, and Macario was able to taste back vintages from specific blocks and rows within the vineyard. From there we began seeing how these blocks would work for Truth Be Told, what each might bring to the wine. Macario dictates the blends of the various lots based on his palate and experience, but also works hand in hand with their winemakers Andrew Wilson and Peter Devison to discuss the lots they helped to harvest, and the wine is made and barreled at their facility.

The Mark Wine Group

What was it like for Macario to work in Washington versus Napa? Did he have any other wine region experience outside of California?

Mark Neville

I will yield to Macario on this one. 

The Mark Wine Group

Thanks for joining us Macario!

Macario Montoya

Hello Lisa thanks for having me!

As a winemaker, I like to challenge myself by working with different varieties and different regions. Heading to Washington State was a completely new challenge, as all of my winemaking has been in California.

Working in Washington has been an awesome learning experience. The brightness of fruit and structure of the wines make it one of my favorite Cabernet regions. While similar to Napa in rainfall, dry temperatures and well drained soils, it’s also vastly different.

Washington doesn’t benefit as much as Napa does with its costal influence and as such the resulting wines are different.

Each region has its own unique characteristics and it’s fun to put my touch on each one.

winemaker macario montoya
Roots Run Deep & Truth Be Told winemaker, Macario Montoya

 

The Mark Wine Group

Are there any plans for a reverse collaboration? (i.e. Andrew makes wine in a new CA AVA)

Mark Neville

Not at this time, but you never know!

The Mark Wine Group

I am sure there are some great stories about the project and the name.  Would love you to share some.

Mark Neville

People tend to ask about the name and the label for Truth Be Told, both of which are unique. Conceptually, we honed in on the idea of "Truth" in winemaking, and with the aim of being completely transparent about our journey from vineyard to bottle. However, given the current reality concerning politics, big tech, media, COVID, and the never-ending battle over public opinion, we began thinking more about the idea of "Truth" in general. Is Truth still an objective reality for all of us?

The Mark Wine Group

And the label. How did you decide on this really cool design?

Mark Neville

We thought it would be an interesting, tongue-in-cheek response to the political landscape to include quotations from historic thinkers regarding the notion of truth: Henry David Thoreau, Confucius, Martin Luther, Buddha, etc.

The Mark Wine Group

The wine is an amazing price for the quality of what’s in bottle. You guys are so good at this. How do you do it?

Mark Neville

One thing is certain, for us anyway: we can make a great bottle of wine for the price That is our 'Truth' so to speak. We made 3,200 cases of 2018 Truth Be Told from one of the best Cabernet vineyards around, and basically anyone can afford to pour it by the glass. Our mission is to give people a chance to taste wines that other producers might price at 2-3x the cost.

The Mark Wine Group

Any final thoughts?

Mark Neville

As the world opens up, we applaud our friends and partners at restaurants all over the country. The high-wire act of the last year must have been insane for you and your staffs. We can't wait to see you and support your restaurant, and we hope to share a glass of Truth Be Told with you and your guests!

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Introducing Frida KahloThe Wine

By Lisa Gmur, CSW

Frida Kahlo is considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists to have ever lived. While it’s been 67 years since her death, Kahlo still trends as the #1 artist on Instagram, surpassing even Vincent Van Goh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol. The reason for this is pretty simple; Kahlo was an icon. An icon of female creativity; an icon for several minority groups and political movements such as feminism, the LGBTQ Community and Chicanos.

Frida Kahlo wines were inspired by her life, her passion, sophistication, elegance and attitude. Kahlo passionately embraced the adversities of life and found an opportunity to reinvent herself.

After being severely injured in a bus accident, she mostly painted self-portraits. Her political activism came later when she married fellow artist Diego Rivera. Her iconic identity and extraordinary artwork left behind a legacy that transcends and overcomes barriers of culture. Kahlo was constantly inspired to transform tradition into reinvention and became a world symbol for the modern, empowered and independent woman.

inspired by Frida’s passion, sophistication, elegance& attitude to create a new style of wine

The Frida Kahlo Estate Single Vineyard Cabernet and Day of the Dead Red Blend are both estate grown single vineyard wines. The Cabernet is grown on alluvial terraces in the Maipo Valley and aged in French oak barrels for a period of 14 months. The Day of the Dead Red Blend is a field blend from the Apalta area of the Colchagua Valley.

Known as the “Valley of Kings,” Apalta is one of Chile’s newest wine regions to produce quality red wines. It lies among Chile’s warmer scrub-coated Pacific hills and has fewer than 2,000 total acres. The Apalta Valley itself sits between the towns of Santa Cruz de Colchagua and San Fernando. They are all labeled under the Colchagua Valley denomination.

Of course the woman behind the wines was a true tour de force. Kahlo was born in 1907. Her work was exhibited in Paris and Mexico before her premature death in 1954. The feminist movement of the 1970’s led to renewed interest in her life and work. In 1990, Frida became the first Latin American artist to break the one-million-dollar threshold when “Diego and I” was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $1,430,000.

In 2001, Frida become the first Hispanic woman to be featured on a U.S. postage stamp. In 2002, the movie, Frida, starring Salma Hayek was released. The film went on to win two Academy Awards for Best Original Music Score and Best Makeup.

Frida’s artwork continues to break records for Latin American art. In 2006, “Roots” (painted in 1943) sold for $5.6 million and in 2016, “Two Lovers in a Forest” (painted in 1939) sold for $8 million. This is the highest auction price for any work by a Latin American artist.

Roots, 1943 by Frida Kahlo

The 2019 Cabernet was rated 90pts by James Suckling & Robert Parker. James Suckling also gave the 2019 Day of the Dead Red Blend 89pts. It’s a blend of Cabernet, Carmenere, Syrah and Merlot. The 2019 vintages were released in June 2021.