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Monday, August 22, 2011

8/23 - SLOW FOOD HEROES: Kevin Morrisey, Ehlers Estate Wines, Michael Fradelizio, Silverado Brewing Company

Kevin Morrisey, Winemaker & General Manager, Ehlers Estate

If Ehlers Estate were to fashion a Winemaker & General Manager out of the soils on the property to reflect the character of the winery, chances are that person would strictly resemble Kevin Morrisey – a man who has truly been born for this job. Ehlers Estate is owned by France’s Leducq Foundation and Kevin is a true international spirit whose dual French/American citizenship enabled him to intern in Pomerol for legendary Jean-Claude Berrouet at Château Pétrus. Ehlers Estate produces some of Napa Valley’s most esteemed wines and Morrisey’s winemaking style and pedigree, particularly with Bordeaux-varietal wines, is renowned following many years as winemaker for Stags’ Leap Winery. And Ehlers is one of a handful of wineries in Napa Valley committed to certified organic and biodynamic farming, matching both a spiritual and ethical ideal to which Kevin has long striven to achieve in his work.

Kevin’s approach to winemaking is an extension of his connection to the land and his passion for winegrowing. He believes in creating site-specific, terroir-driven wines—which is at the core of our winemaking philosophy here at Ehlers Estate,‖ Martin Landaluce, Trustee of the Leducq Foundation enthuses. Morrisey’s soul is invested in the high level of intimate winemaking that Ehlers has represented for over a century of fine caliber wine production. “This is a classic, proven, Cabernet Sauvignon terroir that is being meticulously farmed and is producing world-class wines. We’ve got a century-old winery with a rich history and tradition, and there is a passion, a quality of vineyard land and an Estate approach here that is deeply inspiring,” says Morrisey.

With a Master of Science degree in Enology from UC Davis, Kevin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Ehlers. Kevin joined Stags’ Leap Winery in 1998 where, mentoring under Robert Brittan for five years, he quickly rose through the ranks to become Associate Winemaker. In 2003 he was scouted by Tony Soter to serve as his Winemaker and Director of Operations at Etude Wines. Then in 2005, when Brittan departed from Stags’ Leap, Kevin was asked back to take over as Winemaker and General Manager where he played an instrumental role in further building the reputation of that historic property. It was at Stags’ Leap that Kevin polished and perfected his craft, bringing continued focus to the estate’s Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.

As one of the few organic and biodynamic wineries in California, Ehlers’ sensitivity to the earth as a living organism is aligned with Morrisey’s own sense of spiritual philosophy. Morrisey has infused his spirit into the estate’s viticulture program, guiding the vineyard to embrace biodynamic farming practices, and in doing so, achieving an unwavering commitment to the notion of authentic winegrowing.

A renaissance man at heart, Morrisey is inspired by Ehlers’ devotion to ensuring their wines fit harmoniously into the world. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of Ehlers Estate wines go back to the Leducq’s not-for-profit foundation dedicated to funding international cardiovascular research. This unique sense of purpose that combines the pursuit of excellence with social responsibility is something at the very core of Morrisey’s being.

Kevin cherishes his family life and manages to work a little wine into every table setting. He and his wife Karin have been educating their two daughters in Waldorf schools in the Napa Valley since 2002. They are all French/American dual citizens, international at heart, and see life at Ehlers as harmonious with their reverence for the earth, sustainable living, and winemaking excellence.

Michael Fradelizio, Owner and Chef, Silverado Brewing Company

Silverado Brewing Company opened its doors in July 2000. Located on Highway 29just north of the town of St. Helena in the heart of the Napa Valley, Silverado Brewing Company makes award-winning handcrafted Ales and Lagers for thirsty locals and visitors alike. The full-service restaurant features a menu consisting of a mix of traditional American foods such as steaks, chops, and fresh seafood, along with barbeque - all of which can be enjoyed with Silverado's famous beers. Silverado also has a wine list with many hard-to-find local wines, and a full bar that specializes in hand-shaken margaritas, cosmos, and martinis. For a quick bite or a banquet for 50, you'll receive great beer and wine and unusually sustainable food

The People
Owners Michael Fradelizio and Ken Mee worked in wineries before opening the
popular Silverado Brewing Company. Napa Valley wineries have a slogan It takes a lot of great beer to make good wine, referring to the fact that beer is the beverage of choice during the many sometimes-arduous winemaking tasks. With this in mind and recognizing a shortage of good local beer, Michael and Ken created the new business. They chose as their site the historic Freemark Abbey Winery building from 1895. With massive stone walls and hand-strewn wood beams, the beautiful old building houses Silverado's gleaming copper kettle brewing system behind large glass windows for all to see.

We care about what you eat! It's not enough for us that our food tastes great; we also want the ingredients to be as healthy as possible. That's why we seek out fresh, organic ingredients from local farms and ranches. We also do not use nor tolerate any hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup in any our or products. As well, all of our meats are produced naturally, without hormones, antibiotics, steroids. Come see for yourself how great food made with care can be!

Silverado Brewing Company owner and chef Michael Fradelizio, left, and part of his crew,
sous chef Leandro Estevez  arranged a variety of salads.

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