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Monday, January 16, 2017

01/16/2017 - A Napa Valley Retrospective with Heitz Cellars and Martha's Vineyard

Kathleen Heitz Myers
President & CEO

Years of hands-on experience in every facet of the family business inspired Kathleen Heitz Myers' deep-rooted love of winemaking. Her firsthand knowledge of every aspect of running a winery combined with a broad-based education in science, genetics and the culinary arts uniquely prepared Kathleen for her dynamic leadership role at one of Napa Valley’s most revered wineries.
The Heitz family values education, and Kathleen approached her studies with the intent of gaining an international perspective. She began her scientific studies in Switzerland, ultimately earning a Biology degree from the University of Oregon. She also attained a lifetime teaching credential from UC Davis, and continued her education in France and Thailand with the study of cuisine.
In 1978, she returned home, eager to contribute to the Heitz Wine Cellars winemaking legacy. Her career at Heitz began in sales and marketing, where she spearheaded a program to export Heitz wines to markets around the globe. Her ability to identify innovative ideas and flawlessly execute them won her the family’s vote of confidence to lead the entire operation.
Since 1998, Kathleen has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of Heitz Wine Cellars. She has charted a highly effective course for the winery by embracing frontline business practices while continuing to preserve Heitz's commitment to quality and innovation.
Kathleen’s ability to create long-term relationships has fostered valued business connections and friendships with customers, employees and community leaders alike, a vital cornerstone of Heitz Wine Cellars’ ongoing success. Her respect for community involves her service on several boards-of-directors including past Chairman of Wine Institute, past President of Napa Valley Vintners, past President of Wine Service Co-op and the Advisory Council for the Land Trust of Napa County.
“My parents believed in the American dream of building a family business,” says Kathleen. “I think they would be amazed at the far-reaching impact of our small winery today. We hear stories from people around the world who celebrate life with Heitz wines, and we promise that we will continue to polish our legacy.”
Kathleen is married to St. Helena businessman George Myers, who is also an avid wine connoisseur and fly fisherman. They synchronize their busy schedules to travel together often as Kathleen represents Heitz Wine Cellars around the world.

About Heitz Wine Cellars: Founded in 1961, Heitz Wine Cellars is a true Napa Valley legacy: a multi-generation, successful family business that has held true to its founder’s vision for decades and continues to stand proudly in the world’s spotlight. Pioneering vintner Joe Heitz and his wife Alice shared an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that helped usher in Napa’s modern era with his iconic, globally-celebrated wines—including Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, the legendary Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard—and the vision that Napa Valley wines could achieve international recognition. Today, the Heitz family is steadfastly upholding the principles and unwavering commitment to quality that built a wine portfolio of enduring excellence, while thoughtfully modernizing and diversifying the business. With hands-on management of the winery and organically farmed vineyards, the Heitz family continues to offer quintessential wines, made with 100% Napa Valley fruit, that celebrate their agrarian roots and commitment to the stewardship of Napa Valley, a place they call home.

Heitz Family: Founders Joe and Alice Heitz had a vision that encompassed creating Napa Valley wines that stand with the upper echelon of wines from around the world, and then bringing those wines to the international stage. Their daughter, CEO Kathleen Heitz Myers, brought that vision to the forefront, creating and implementing an innovative and sustainable approach to business, built upon a myriad of relationships that span the globe. Winemaker David Heitz has brought his own expertise to the cellar, while staying true to a vision of classic, polished wines with restraint and elegance. Representing the family’s third generation, David’s son Harrison Heitz joined the team at Heitz Wine Cellars in 2012 with an appreciation of the family’s legacy and his sights on contributing to the future success of the business. While Joe Heitz passed away in 2000, Alice continues to lend support at the winery with her keen palate and quick wit.

Martha May

"Where is Martha's Vineyard?" Here is the correct answer for wine aficionados.
Martha's Vineyard is 34 gently sloping acres on the western side of the Napa Valley just south of Oakville. This verdant niche near the Mayacamas foothills soaks up the morning sun and then cools down a bit earlier than the valley floor.

Fanning out across a graveled alluvial plain, the vines are fringed with towering Eucalyptus trees which are often credited with the distinctive minty aroma and taste of the wine.
This certified organic ranch is home to a proprietary Cabernet clone famed for producing small berries with an intensely purple hue and splendidly concentrated flavor. Joe Heitz crafted the first memorable Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from this exquisite fruit in 1966.

Tom and Martha May have owned this much-heralded vineyard since 1963. From the beginning, the couple decided to focus on the agricultural end of the business, but they believed that they had "special dirt" which just might merit its own wine. The connection they made with Joe and Alice Heitz was a fortuitous moment in Cabernet history.

When the Mays purchased the land and moved into their home, they were greeted with two bottles of Heitz wine that had been left as a welcome by the sellers. Impressed with the gift, the Mays decided to visit Heitz Wine Cellars. That marked the beginning of a friendship that quickly became one of the most important relationships in the winemaking industry. The Heitz family's exclusive arrangement to buy the May family's grapes began with their first harvest and continues today.

Second generation Richard May and Laura May Everett are a major force in the family business today. They approach the farming of Martha's Vineyard in the May family tradition — with great energy and ardor. Both are devoted to the preservation of the extraordinary land that is their heritage.

Now, what about that name?

Trying to come up with a catchy name for their farm in 1963 Tom asked, "What about Martha's Vineyard?" Martha modestly replied, "Oh, we can't do that." But, Tom loved the humor in it, so he persisted until Martha politely acquiesced.
Martha's Vineyard — Now, you know the "West" of the story.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

02/09/2017 - Sailing through Europe with Victor Trentadue

Slow Living Radio is delighted to welcome Victor Trentadue, owner of Trentadue Winery, to tell their inspirational story, with winemaker Miro Tchalokov.  Victor will be hosting a fabulous, slow cruise through Europe organized by Sonoma-Napa Wine Cruises owned by Sharion Sadler, who also joins us.  Sit back and be slow!
Trentadue Vineyards and Annemarie Morse from the American Wine Society present
Rome to Nice on Silversea’s Silver Spirit
April 22 – May 6, 2017

Victor Trentadue
Trentadue Winery

Victor Trentadue has wine in his blood. When he bleeds, he bleeds Sangiovese, because his family has been making wine for hundreds of years.

Victor’s grandfather, Papa Joe, came to America from Bari, a tiny town on Italy’s boot. in 1913 when he was only 16 years old. Like so many other immigrants, Papa Joe landed in New York. He couldn’t find work, and was about to return to his native Italy, when he saw a poster of orange groves in San Diego. Instead of heading back to Italy, he and a friend took an old Indian motorcycle with a side car and drove it across the country. He arrived in San Francisco, where he promptly got a job as a carpenter. A few years later, he was put in charge of the gingerbread detail work on the War Memorial and Opera House buildings in San Francisco. During this time, Joe got married and moved to Santa Clara, where he bought a couple of ranches and started growing cherries and apricots.
Papa Joe and Friends

Victor’s father, Leo, was born in San Francisco and moved to Santa Clara as a young child. Leo grew up on the ranch, where he helped his father farm apricots and cherries until he got drafted into WWII at the age of 18. He served two years in the Army, until he was injured in battle. After recovering for over a year, Leo returned to Santa Clara to help his father with the ranch. In the early 1950’s suburbia started encroaching, and Leo and his wife Evelyn decided to sell the ranch and move to Sonoma County. They chose Sonoma County because Evelyn had family (originally from Luca, Italy) that lived in the Dry Creek Valley since the late 1800s. In 1959, the Trentadues bought the existing ranch in Geyserville. At this time, Victor was only two years old and his older sister Annette was only six.
Leo on Leave

From the time Victor can remember, he has always worked in the vineyards. He learned how to drive a tractor at age 8. Leo tied blocks to the pedals on the tractor so Victor’s short little kid legs could reach them. Victor and his sister Annette also helped Leo and Papa Joe make wine.
In 1969, Leo decided to get the winery bonded. With help from Paul Draper, Winemaker of Ridge Vineyards, Trentadue Winery was born. A lot of hard work and many vintages later, Trentadue Winery is doing better than ever. The winery and surrounding grounds reflect the family’s Italian roots, with a villa-like visitor’s center, manicured landscaping and a beautiful event center that hosts dozens of weddings and events every year.
 As he has since childhood, Victor remains very involved in every aspect of the winery. On any given day, you may find him in the cellar with the winemaking team, out on the tractor in the vineyards or working on projects in the maintenance shop.
Victor embodies the personality of an unassuming, hardworking grape rancher. He works hard and plays hard, too. When he’s not out on the tractor, he is known for playing practical jokes on his coworkers and he loves to chat with winery visitors.

Miro Tcholakov
Vice President of Winemaking Operations 
Victor with Miro (left)

Miro Tcholakov is the Vice President and Director of Winemaking Operations, overseeing all aspects of winemaking; including custom crush and bottling. Chiefly responsible for reinvigorating the Trentadue brand when he came aboard in 1999, Miro has worked tirelessly to take our wines to a new level of quality and prestige.
Born and raised in northern Bulgaria, a region with many millennia of winemaking history, he was exposed to wine and winemaking at a very early age. At his grandfather’s side, he learned how to make wine in the tradition of the generations that came before him. The combination of Miro’s early exposure to winemaking, years of study and experience, and passion for the art makes him a vital part of our winery family.
“Making wine has been a lifelong dream of mine. After completing my studies in 1990 at the higher Institute of Agriculture in Bulgaria in Agronomy/Viticulture, I traveled to California on an Exchange program in wine business. I continued my education by attending Santa Rosa Junior College and UC Davis, focusing on specific courses in Winemaking and management. My internship started at Dry Creek Vineyards in the summer of 1990 and in nine years of employment, I transitioned through the ranks of Cellar Master and Assistant Winemaker. It was during this time that I fell in love with two distinctively California varietals; Zinfandel and especially Petite Sirah.
I decided to move on and start my career as a head winemaker, accepting an offer from Trentadue Winery in 1999 to take over their winemaking operation. That new opportunity added to my excitement about Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, which have been two long standing staple varietals at Trentadue.
My passionate love affair with Zin and Petite Sirah lead to my election to the Board of Directors of ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) and also to the Board of Directors and currently the President of PS(Petite Sirah) I Love you-a nonprofit organization that I helped establish 13 years ago.”

Sharion Sadler

Sonoma~Napa Wine Cruises is excited to host the most exclusive wineries in Napa and Sonoma on worldwide cruises, featuring some of the most fabulous Winemakers, TV and Radio wine personalities as well as the worlds finest Sommeliers as hosts for exclusive wine cruises.

Wine, cuisine, culture and enrichment are all part of the luxurious winery hosted cruises. They feature Seabourn Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Silverseas and SeaDream Yacht Cruises. Sonoma~ Napa Wine Cruises offers many cruises with pre and post vacations featuring private and exclusive tours of the most famous wineries worldwide.