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Thursday, July 26, 2018

23 July, 2018 - A Conversation with Gentlemen Farmers

Slow Living radio was pleased to speak with Joe Wolosz and Jeff Durham of Gentleman Farmer Wines of Yountville-Napa Valley... producers of stunning chardonnays, velvety merlots and luscious cabs. But as we soon learned, this dynamic pair’s creativity and commitment extends beyond fine vintages in Yountville to the hospitality world in the legendary California Redwoods with the Redwood Riverwalk Hotel in Fortuna. Join us for an evening with Joe, Jeff… and course… faithful vineyard scout – Stella!

Jeff Durham, Joe Wolosz and Stella

From Gentleman Farmer…

We have a need to just be human in this very digital age, to reconnect with what is real. To hear a story told in an authentic voice. It is the tactile, the analogue, and the acoustic that touch us. It is also the artisanal. Winegrowing is at the crossroads of nature and culture. It is a balance between the imagination of the craftsman and the wisdom of the grower. Working with what Mother Nature gives us, we celebrate the vintage and the variations that come with each one. We err on the human side of winemaking.

Meet Joe Wolosz and Jeff Durham…

Joe Wolosz
My story starts in 1972.  I was five.  My father and mother bought two motels that year on the California central coast; El Patio Motel and The Wayside Motel. I am a native Californian who grew up with birthdays and summer parties at the motel pool. Guests would join in, dad would barbecue, and I would help. These were the seeds of food, wine, and hospitality. This childhood led to a college degree in travel, food, and wine with culinary school along the way. These became my compass and my foundation. I was working tasting rooms by day and cooking in beach burger shacks and five-star kitchens at night. I loved it. This history has shaped the path of Gentleman Farmer, keeping it in a culinary context.The label reads Gentleman Farmer, but calling myself a country gentleman would be a stretch. I am just a sidekick winemaker waking up each morning doing my life’s best work.

Jeff Durham
It could be said that I am a product of the valley, born and raised in Napa. 
My roots here are not only figurative; my family started farming grapes in the Oak Knoll region in the early 1980’s. My father had planted 22 acres on Big Ranch Road. My brother, sister, and I worked after school, weekends and vacations. I learned at an early age vineyard management, trellising, pruning, and of course, harvest. Today we source grapes from this same area, with the once family home sharing a narrow road with the Boyd Vineyard, where we source some Merlot. University in Southern California led to a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. A career in fine dining brought me to San Francisco shortly thereafter. Wine brought me full circle, back to Yountville and the Napa Valley.  I now understand T.S. Elliot, “…to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”

And... Stella!

Be sure to visit these gentlemen (and Stella) at Gentleman Farmer Wines

And check out their  hotel, nestled in the beautiful redwoods, at The Redwood Hotel.

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