The Taste with Doug Shafer
A new podcast series from Doug Shafer about the people behind the food and wine you love.
CNaoko 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!
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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’s 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’t 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’s 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’s modern era. Her story is one of success and heartbreak and of finding the strength to start over – more than once. Today Robin’s winery Lail Vineyards produces wines of outstanding distinction and deliciousness.
Spencer Christian 64 minutes
Spencer Christian is recognized as Good Morning America’s former weatherman but is less known as a wine pioneer. He created the first national wine show in the 1990s on HGTV – and he’s 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’d 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’s 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’s 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’s pursued ever since. Enjoy!
Beth and Lindy Novak65 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.
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’d developed an interest in the world of wine. She applied for an entry level job at her father’s winery, Pahlmeyer, where she took on more and more responsibilities, and today is Pahlmeyer’s 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’s 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’s 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’s CEO, earning five Superbowl rings.
Today Policy’s winery, Casa Piena, is a neighbor of Shafer’s 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’d 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, “The day you pick the grapes, you make the wine.”
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: lasirenawine.com or barrettwines.com.
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: journeymanwine.com
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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’s been a long, crazy journey to the success he enjoys today. For more on John Truchard visit https://www.jamcellars.com/About-Us
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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 https://www.charleskrug.com/estate/people
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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 lesliesbrocco.com
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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: langandreed.com
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: cindypawlcyn.com
Complete Wine Podcast Transcript
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