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I am a winegrower and winemaker in the Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County, California. I have been managing Clos Pepe Vineyards full time for 11 years, and have been making wines for about 15 years, and 11 years professionally. My expertise in the wine business covers many areas. I consult and write about backyard vineyards, know lots about vineyard planning and development, and have formal and experienced-based viticultural training. I can answer questions about vineyards both foreign and domestic and technical questions about grape growing, grape varieties, and give the farmer's perspective on where wine is made. I have also been a professional wine judge for ten years at the L.A. County Fair Wine Competition (now the Los Angeles Wine Competition), Long Beach Grand Cru, Riverside International and Temecula Valley Wine Competition, and have served as panel chair at most of these competitions. I am also a winemaker, with 10 professional crushes under my belt and eight vintages of our own wine label: Clos Pepe Estate. These wines have scored superior/highly recommended scores in all major US Wine Publications. Wine and food are a passion for me, and I try to taste at least a few interesting wines every day of my life. I also try to constantly test my palate with unusual flavor combinations to try to understand how flavors talk to each other. I believe the true heroes of wine are those intrepid winemakers who make balanced, ageworthy 'jazz' wines in the era of kingmaker critics who like heavy metal: concentrated, top heavy, highly alcoholic monsters that have no utility at table or in the cellar.
11 years, Vineyard Manager: Clos Pepe Vineyards, a 'Vineyard You Can Trust' --Pinot Report, and also grew the highest rated CA Pinot Noir 2 years in a row.
Winner Central Coast Winegrowers Grower of the Yaer 2001-2002.
Written two petitions to establish American Viticultural Areas, one approved (Sta. Rita Hills), the other pending.
Grown and vinted wines scoring 90 points in every major American wine publication.
10 years professional wine judge: LA County Fair, Long Beach Grand Cru, Riverside International, Temeclua Valley Wine Comp.
Central Coast Vineyard Team Sta Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance (Board Member)
Active columnist: WineMaker Magazine, written in every issue for over 5 years.
BA English: Creative Writing, University of Redlands, 1992. Extension Program: UC Davis. Strong focus on winegrape production and small scale wine production.
Awards and Honors
Ojai Vineyard, Brewer Clifton, Hitching Post, Ken Brown, Copain Wines, L'aventure, Testarossa, Loring Wine Company, AP Vin, Roessler Cellars, Siduri Wines.