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Making Wine Across the Divide: A Chat with Ernst and Hannes Storm

United States: California, Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Mar 2016

The Storm brothers, Hannes, 39, and Ernst, 36, grew up in the Western Cape of South Africa. When they were teens, the family moved to Hermanus, which is in the famed Walker Bay appellation. The brothers had a lot of fun growing up together, but they also had a fair amount of sibling rivalry. “I think even back then we both knew we wanted to do something for a living that would take us outdoors," Ernst Storm recalled.

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Of Springsteen and Steen: A Chat with Leo Steen Hansen

United States: California, Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Mar 2016

On a recent trip through Northern California, a couple of winemakers excitedly told me about Leo Steen Hansen, who they felt was making some of the best Chenin Blancs in the United States. So I looked up Hansen because I’m always on the lookout for a good Chenin Blanc, a lovely white variety that doesn’t get the credit it deserves stateside.

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Diversity is the Fabric: A Chat with Winemaker Enrico Maria Bertoz

United States: California, Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Mar 2016

Winemaker Enrico Bertoz made his way to the United States from his homeland of Friuli in 1999. “I got here with a guitar on my back. I took a shuttle bus from the Los Angeles airport and got off the bus near Pico Blvd. Through some family contacts, I was put in touch with Piero Selvaggio, who owns Valentino Restaurant in Santa Monica. I was told this later: when Piero saw me get off the bus – my hair was this wild orange color – he told his restaurant manager, who was with him, ‘I’m leaving.’ And he left!”

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Filling up at The Station: A Chat with Jenna Congdon

Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Feb 2016

A great number of pundits in the wine industry seem fixated on The Millennials; What are they drinking? How can the wine industry court them? How much do they spend on wine versus beer? I’m no social anthropologist, but the Millennials I know do not seem that different from my older friends, or much younger friends, for that matter. That’s the thing about generational labels; they often rob individuals of the nuances that makes humanity interesting and wildly diverse. The Millennials I know are as varied and complicated as everybody else I come across.

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Standing in the Uplight: A Conversation with Winemaker Chris Bratcher of Bratcher Vineyards

United States: California, Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Feb 2016

In September of 2014, Winemaker Chris Bratcher, of Bratcher Vineyards, located in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County, severed his right arm above the wrist in a harvest accident. I remember I was hanging out with a winemaker at a nearby pub when we heard the news. Neither one of us had met Chris at the time, but we’d heard that he was a private, hard-working, talented winemaker. We had both enjoyed his wines, which can be invigorating and also age-worthy.

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Through the Fire: Sitting Down with Manfred & Elaine Krankl

featured, Loam Baby, United States: California

R.H. Drexel, Jan 2016

The hillsides of Ojai are still shimmering from a hard rain the night before. The unmistakable smell of chaparral that permeates much of this valley is especially sharp and fresh the morning I make my way up the road to Sine Qua Non. This past year has been a tremendously difficult and trying one for the Krankls. Last September, Manfred was in a devastating motorcycle accident above the Ojai Valley. “In all reality,” Elaine says, “this recovery that Manfred is experiencing was not the prognosis offered at first…”

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Lovebirds Dip Their Beaks

Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Dec 2015

Join R.H. Drexel as she shadows couples on their date night, and joins them for a night out on the town.

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In the Kind of World Where We Belong: Drake Whitcraft

Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Dec 2015

Lately I’ve been in a Beach Boys sort of mood – the Pet Sounds era. It’s what I have playing in my car when I pull up to this small, inconspicuous urban winery across from a stand of palm trees, an expanse of sandy white beach and the clear, blue Pacific. We’re on Santa Barbara’s waterfront, and Brian Wilson’s plaintive voice adds texture to the day. It seems the fitting soundtrack for a sit-down with Drake Whitcraft, owner of Whitcraft Winery and a winemaker who is, by turns, also a musician, surfer and restless spirit.

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Eugene Lee: It’s His Home for the Holidays

Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Nov 2015

“When I was young, my mom – as much as she hated touching a raw turkey – made Thanksgiving dinner for us because I wanted to have an American Thanksgiving. That was really important to me as a little boy."

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Ice, Ice, Baby: Chillin’ with Tim Colla

Loam Baby

R.H. Drexel, Nov 2015

While I was working on the forthcoming Sonoma Issue of Loam Baby, I tasted a Saintsbury Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast’s Sundawg Ridge Vineyard that was sculpturally compelling. Its great texture, structure, vitality and length left quite an impression on me. For days afterwards, I was haunted by its various dimensions. I wondered to myself, “What would this wine look like if it assumed a physical shape?”