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Monday, October 21, 2013

10/21 - The Henschke Story: A Life in Wine

Stephen Henschke
Henschke Wines

Stephen Henschke has a wonderful family heritage of more than 140 years of grapegrowing and winemaking spanning five generations. He is proud that the Henschke name and reputation is inexorably linked with red wines in general and Hill of Grace in particular, but with winemaking his lifeblood he approaches all wine styles with the same depth of passion and commitment to quality. He is also mindful of his European roots and is a proud supporter of the historical language, food, religion and wine culture of his Silesian forebears still alive in pockets in the Barossa. Stephen’s support and contribution to the Barossa was acknowledged in 1984 when he was inducted into the Barons of Barossa wine fraternity, of which his father Cyril was a founding member.

Fifth-generation Stephen Carl Henschke took over running the winery in 1979. Born in 1950, he was Cyril’s younger son and the middle child. Surprisingly, throughout all these years, the generational shift has not always been by way of the oldest son, but has been taken on by the one who showed the most interest.

Stephen completed a Bachelor of Science Degree at Adelaide University in 1973, gained winemaking experience at Rothbury Estate in the Hunter Valley, and in 1975 with his wife Prue, spent two years at the Geisenheim Institute of Viticulture and Wine Technology in West Germany. During their stay in Germany he undertook work experience in two wineries, Winzerverein Oberrotweil in Baden and the Institut für Rebenzüchtung und Rebenveredlung in Geisenheim.

Eden Valley Vineyards

On their return to Australia they enrolled in Wine Science at Riverina College of Advanced Education (now Charles Sturt University) in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, in order to catch up with the changes in the Australian wine industry. During this time Stephen worked with his father at the winery in Keyneton while Prue embarked on a career as a technical research officer at the nearby Roseworthy College.

Hill of Grace Vineyards

In the early 1980s Stephen began incorporating barrel fermentation as a component of his red fermentation techniques. Because of the poor quality of the oak at the time he introduced an oak timber purchase program, seasoning it in the Barossa Valley and using the local cooper, A P John, to make the barrels in order to obtain better quality mature oak flavours. In addition, more flexible refrigeration was installed in the winery in order to improve quality of the white wines. He maintained traditional methods with his red wines, which focused on fruit and tannin maturity, submerged cap open fermentation, minimal racking, no fining and minimal filtration.

In 1988 and 1989 Stephen and Prue worked vintages in Burgundy and Bordeaux respectively, in order to research the grass roots level of viticulture and winemaking in those regions. With a widened perspective they have forged their own styles, with much of the success of Henschke reds attributed to the vintage and fruit quality in the vineyards.

Stephen and Prue, with their three children Johann, Justine and Andreas, quietly continue a proud heritage and the philosophy for outstanding quality. They are mindful of the fact that more than 140 years of grapegrowing and winemaking, spanning six generations, has been an integral part of Australian quality wine history.


The highlights of Stephen's career include the following awards and nominations:

 · Induction into Family Business Australia (SA) Hall of Fame 2011 (with Prue)

· The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide 2011 Winery of the Year (with Prue)

· 2006 Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine Winemaker of the Year (with Prue)

· Induction into the 2005 USA Wine & Spirit Magazine Hall of Fame

· 1998 Volvo/WINEMagazine Winemaker of the Year nominee (with Prue)

· Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Wine Industry in 1995 (with Prue)

· Joint International Red WInemaker of the Year 1994/95 (with Prue)

Monday, October 14, 2013

10/14 - Wanderlust and Winelust - Italian Style

Slow Living Radio welcomes back to the show, Jeff Prather, Ca'Momi's Wine Ambassador.  to bring us an insider's guide to his hidden Italian gem "wine-finds" and help us negotiate the vast selection for our own personal preferences.

Ca’ Momi is owned by three Italians, Dario De Conti, Valentina Guolo-Migotto and Stefano Migotto, who pay tribute to the land of their birth and the food and wines that they love. Ca’ Momi welcomes guests to a small slice of Italy in the Oxbow Market. Ca’ Momi is proud to offer delicious and authentic Italian treats, including fresh pizzas from a wood burning brick oven and delightful organic pastries. The wine list features Ca’ Momi’s own wines, plus wines from artisanal winemakers in Italy.  


Jeff Prather
Wine Ambassador,

When Ca' Momi expanded their space at the Oxbow Public Market in January 2013 and opened their Enoteca Wine Bar and Cafe, Jeff was asked to take on the role of Wine Ambassador.

In that role he developed the expanded wine list with Dario De Conti as well as launching the extensive draft beer program. In addition to overseeing the bar and beverage service for the restaurant, Jeff also pitches in at the winery, helping with the marketing efforts and staffing outside tasting events.

He began his diverse wine and food career over a quarter century ago working as a retailer, distributor salesman, and most notably as Wine Director for Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle where he received 4 James Beard nominations. 

He has also been Cellar Master and Restaurant Director for the Culinary Institute of America’s west coast Campus at Greystone in Napa Valley, Wine Education Director for Shafer Vineyards, Flora Springs Winery, and Beaulieu Vineyards. Jeff worked as a wine buyer and writer for Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in San Francisco and Oxbow Wine Merchant in Napa.  He is a freelance writer published in several magazines and co-author of the book “Northwest Wines.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

10/7 - F. Scott Tracy and Tarla Grill Create Pairings with St. Supery Wines

Scott Tracy
Sommelier, Winery Owner, Restaurateur

Scott Tracy started his wine buying career at restaurant Café California when he
was 26 years old. The restaurant was unique at the time for its exclusive
commitment to California wine. Tracy introduced many of the first efforts of new
wineries like Joseph Phelps, Trefethen, Shafer, Vichon and Calera to his guests.
From the beginning of his 30-year career in fine dining restaurants to the present
day, Tracy has been charming the public to try something new.

Scott Tracy (left) with chef Ken Frank

In spring of 1995, The Mondavi Winery had invited ten wine buyers, five from Los Angeles and five from San Francisco, to Napa Valley to discuss the trends of wine sales in fine dinning restaurants. Tracy, considered one of the important “voices” in Los Angeles, was invited to be one of those five.

In 1996 Tracy, with two friends, opened a neighborhood restaurant on Pico Blvd in Santa Monica with the tiny nut of $80,000. Tracy used a bit of Napa-inspired hospitality to gain friends and influence people, he greeted every customer with a taste of wine from the restaurant list. Many Angelenos tried Grenache, Viognier, Roussanne and Syrah for the first time at 2424 Pico, and within the year the restaurant was making top ten restaurant lists and Tracy was highlighted in a major article in the Los Angeles Times on the five best sommeliers in the city.

Another of the other invitees of the group of ten that visited Robert Mondavi in 1995
was Chef Ken Frank. In 1998, Frank offered Tracy the opportunity to move to Napa
Valley and open La Toque Restaurant in Rutherford. Tracy matched wine to chef
Ken Frank’s cuisine for thirteen years. In the August 23, 2002, the Wall Street Journal's,
Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher devoted their wine column to La Toque’s
successful food and wine parings. The 2010 San Francisco Michelin Guide
highlights Tracy’s skill in the review of the restaurant, a praise normally reserved for
chefs exclusively, noting, “Some might argue that Scott Tracy, who weaves an
engaging story around each selection, is the best wine director in Napa Valley.”

Tracy produces Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with his
partners. Jason Moore is the winemaker. Just over 800 cases were produced of the
2009 vintage. Tracy sources the fruit, crafts the blend, then knocks on doors and
charms the public to try something new. James Laube’s description of the 2006
Cabernet Sauvignon -- “Bold, ripe and full bodied, with lively black and wild berry,
plum and spice notes that are tightly focused, intense and concentrated, ending
with a long full finish and a hint of earthiness.”

For more information on winery pairings and events at St Supery, visit:

Chef Michael Benjamin Powell,
Executive Chef
Tarla Mediterranean Grill

Chef Powell has worked with some of the most respected chefs in the United States as well as received the highest local and national accolades. He has been published in both local and national press including Bon Appetite, Restaurants and Institutions and the New York Times.

Inspired by his Greek grandfather, Powell decided to become a chef at the age of seven.  At 10-years-old, he wrote a three-page letter to The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) requesting application for the school.  It was at this very young age that he determined his future was destined to be in food.  From that day forward, he pursued his dream with great passion and determination.  He went on to attend the CIA and was awarded their highest honor, The Frances L. Roth award, for outstanding performance throughout the duration of the culinary arts program and received one of its largest culinary scholarships.  At the age of 23, Michael was chosen to compete in a national competition where he placed second in his region for best young chefs in the United States under the age of 27.

Powell's professional repertoire encompasses experience in many of the best restaurants from coast to coast.  He has cooked for national and international leaders, royalty, and some of the most recognized celebrities in sports and entertainment. He has spent his life doing what he loves and his passion is evident. As a lifelong student of his craft, Powell's greatest accomplishment is the ability to make people happy by sharing what he loves; in the kitchen, dining room and community. Powell has always believed that possessing a gift delegates great responsibility and the commitment to give back. As of August 2012, he has raised over $85,000 for various charities that benefit those most in need.

"The greatest mistake a man can make is underestimating the potential of another human," said Chef Powell. "I learn from everyone I work with - from my sous chef to the dishwasher. If you don't consistently learn from those around you, then you will never know who may inspire you, inspire the food or be that next shining star."

Yusuf Topal, owner of Tarla, has announced the opening of their second restaurant, Napkins Bar and Grill. It’s an ambitious restaurant planned for the former Peking Palace on the corner of Second and Main in downtown Napa. They recently received the go-ahead from the city to build a patio on the sidewalk that will offer views of the Napa riverfront. Napkin will have a full bar and stay open until 2 am.