Edna Valley Collective Dinner – Friday Evening
Winemaker Christian Roguenant, Baileyana
Christian Roguenant was born to wine. A native of the Burgundy region of France who grew up among the vineyards, Christian decided early on to become a winemaker. His studies at the University of Dijon focused on enology and winemaking and included graduate coursework in wine marketing. This education served him well as he traveled the world to make wine on five continents, including fifteen years with Champagne Deutz, one of the premier Champagne houses in France, and service as a consultant to wineries around the world, from Argentina to Australia, and New Zealand to South Korea, where he made sparkling wine for the 1988 Olympics, and ultimately to San Luis Obispo on California’s Central Coast.
One of the first varietals Christian made in France in 1984 was Pinot Noir, and since then, he has made more than 30 vintages in France, New Zealand and California. In 1998, the Niven Family brought on Christian to be their winemaker for Baileyana where one of his early tasks was to develop Baileyana’s estate Pinot Noir program. Baileyana’s pioneering Paragon Vineyard is renowned for producing world class Pinot Noir Edna Valley for over four decades. It is made up of a diverse selection of Dijon and Heritage clones planted on an array of different soil structures that make up the complex geology of the appellation. This diversity of sites and clonal material gives him a veritable spice rack to choose from to make an array of Pinot Noirs.
His philosophy on winemaking is this: “Give me rough but nice diamonds; my job is to polish without scratching them. My passion and desire is to make better wine every year. A winemaker is the greatest critic about his own wine – always striving to get closer to perfection."
A judge for numerous wine competitions, Christian enjoys the camaraderie of his peers, whom he continues to learn from. If he weren’t making wine, he would welcome the opportunity to spend some time with his life-long hobbies of photography and music.
Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia, Claiborne & Churchill
A native Californian, Coby Parker-Garcia was born and raised in San Luis Obispo. Growing up working in the family garden he realized his love for agriculture, and after extensive travel to Europe and South America he knew the wine industry was his true calling.
At Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, Coby studied Agribusiness Marketing with a minor in Wine and Viticulture. In addition to working on the campus vineyard, learning the ins and outs of growing grapes, he also took an internship with a local winery, where his love for winemaking grew and pushed his passion for wine even further.
When the opportunity to work for Claiborne & Churchill arose in 2004, Coby took on the role of assistant winemaker. Under the guidance of Clay Thompson, he learned traditional European winemaking techniques that emphasized minimal manipulation of both fruit and wine. He augmented this education with additional classes at the University of California Davis, which gave him insight to new and improved winemaking techniques. By 2007, Coby was promoted to head winemaker for Claiborne & Churchill. Today he oversees the entire wine production, their estate vineyards, and works closely with numerous vineyard managers along the Central Coast.
"I like to say I take a hands-on approach to winemaking. Get in and get dirty. As a winemaker, my job is to highlight the best qualities of each vintage. Each vintage is different and brings something positive or unique to the table. My job is to showcase the vineyard and vintage in each glass of wine. My wines are not the biggest, boldest, or most tannic. They show extreme finesse. My style is to make balanced wine that accompanies food that show solid structure, elegance, and age ability".
Since 2010 Coby has been a board member for the World of Pinot Noir where he shares his passion for Pinot Noir with others.
Winemaker Jim Kress, Tolosa
Motivated by a desire to put his stamp on a product from start to finish, James Kress found himself immersed in the sciences of agriculture and chemistry that allowed him to fulfill his creative instincts through crafting wines of balance, depth and complexity. His fascination with differing soil compositions and the impact of local climates have led him on a pursuit to understand how these factors influence the resulting wines.
Kress’s route to winemaking started as he was completing his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. After a successful start to a management-consulting career in hotels and restaurants in New York City, his passion for food and wine eventually led him to the Master of Science program in Viticulture and Enology at University of California, Davis.
With 20 vintages of experience, Kress has worked with multiple varietals to create wines defined by the soil and the climate of the region and that are representative of the nest practices of viticulture, chemistry and blending. Most recently, Kress held the position of winemaker at Vine Cliff, crafting award winning Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious appellations.
Prior to Vine Cliff, Kress helped to develop the still wine program at the renowned Domaine Chandon where he was responsible for producing Pinot noir and Chardonnay from appellations including Los Carneros, Russian River Valley and Sta. Rita Hills. At Domaine Chandon, he had the unparalleled opportunity to work closely with the chef at Napa Valley’s only winery restaurant to ne tune his technique of food and wine pairing.
In his newest endeavor at Tolosa, Kress will focus on exploring the intriguing variety of soil compositions and land masses, as well as the climate influences, of the Edna Valley to produce wines that express the uniqueness of this region.
Anderson Valley Wineries Dinner – Friday Evening
Winemaker Michael Accurso, Goldeneye
As the winemaker for Goldeneye, Michael Accurso works with the Anderson Valley’s most acclaimed estate Pinot Noir program (which includes over 200 vine acres and more than 24 distinctive clones). Using this diverse palette of fruit, Michael makes terroir-inspired wines that balance depth and power with Pinot Noir’s natural elegance. To achieve this goal, Michael and his skilled team ferment more than 200 individual lots of Pinot Noir each vintage, or roughly one fermentation for every acre farmed. As only the fourth winemaker in Goldeneye’s storied history, Michael is also continuing a measured fine-tuning of the winery’s style, picking at lower Brix and dialing back the amount of new French oak used during aging. “There is nowhere else in the world that makes Pinot Noirs that taste like ours here in the Anderson Valley,” says Michael. “They are deep, lush and complex, with an almost wild, rustic grace that frames the fruit in an incredibly compelling way. My job is to allow this essential Anderson Valley-ness to shine through.”
Born and raised in Napa Valley, wine was an important element in the fabric of Michael’s home life, bringing family together for celebrations revolving around homemade meals and local wines. These early experiences inspired a farm-to-table ethos in Michael that led him to study agricultural business at Cal Poly. After graduation, Michael worked at Silver Oak Cellars, while also moonlighting at Diageo Chateau Estates & Wines in Rutherford, where he began gaining hands-on experience in the vineyards. Eager to expand on this experience, and develop a global perspective, Michael traveled to Argentina, working as the viticulturist and assistant winemaker at Estancia San Pablo & Bodega Un Lugar.
In 2012, following his fascination for the wines of the Anderson Valley,
Michael joined the team at Goldeneye, where he worked alongside previous
Winemaker Michael Fay. “Michael was an incredible mentor. He taught me the art and science of winemaking. His approach matched my viticultural background, and my belief that winemaking is a culmination of every decision from the first pruning to the last barrel down.”
In 2013, Michael left Goldeneye with Michael Fay’s blessing to take a position as the vineyard manager for Ardzrooni Vineyard Management, with a promise that if an assistant winemaker position came open, it would be Michael’s. At Ardzrooni, Michael managed vineyards for a number of high-end wineries like Copain and Littorai, and became extremely knowledgeable about the unique climate and winegrowing region of the Anderson Valley. In 2014, Michael Fay kept his promise, and hired Michael as assistant winemaker. In the years since, Michael has flourished at Goldeneye, gaining a reputation for his viticultural expertise, his technical know-how and his blending artistry. In recognition of his talents, Michael was named Goldeneye’s winemaker in 2016. Since then, he has continued to build on the Anderson Valley’s reputation as one of the world’s preeminent locations for growing Pinot Noir. At the same time, his viticultural roots and his vineyard-inspired, small-lot approach to winemaking are cementing Goldeneye’s status as one of North America’s great Pinot Noir wineries.
Brian Mast and Jennifer Waits, Waits-Mast Cellars
Waits-Mast Family Cellars was founded by Brian Mast and Jennifer Waits in 2005. Before we started to make wine we were passionate wine consumers, spending many of our weekends exploring small wineries all over California and further afield in France, Switzerland and New Zealand. After absorbing ourselves in lots of wine literature, we went from being street-smart about wines to being book-smart. Starting around 2000, we continued this pursuit of knowledge by attending the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival as consumers and learned more about the winemaking process during the annual festival's technical conference. Engaging with the welcoming wine community of Anderson Valley and making our first barrel of Pinot Noir in 2005 cemented our shift from wine geeks to winemakers.
Our first commercial vintage was in 2007, and since then the wines have been well-received by some of the finest restaurants and wine shops in the country and have gained a small but loyal following. We are probably one of the smallest wineries to achieve four Top 100 rankings: two San Francisco Chronicle (2009 & 2014 Top 100 Wines), Wine & Spirits (2012 Top 100 Wines), and Wine Enthusiast (2015 Top 100 Cellar Selections).
Pinot & Pâté – Saturday Afternoon
Sophie Boban—Doering and Paul Doering
Sophie and Paul bring their cheese expertise and pairing prowess to our “Myth Busting” seminar panel. Their shop in San Luis Obispo, ‘Fromagerie Sophie’ offers fabulous cheeses from all over the world, artisanal charcuterie, delicate pâtés and an array of specialty food items to pamper your palate. In addition to the shop and cheese plate catering for all occasions, Sophie and Paul work closely with local wineries to discover perfect cheese and wine pairings, each as different as the wines and cheeses themselves. The cheese and wine pairing experience has developed into a niche for the Fromagerie, flourishing throughout their community, allowing all to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Winemaker Greg Stach, Landmark Vineyards
Greg Stach, Landmark Vineyards’ winemaker, is a highly respected winemaker known for crafting elegant, world-class vintages. He is recognized for creating some of the best single vineyard designate Pinot Noirs of the decade. For the past 10 years, Stach has brought his enthusiasm for and expertise in Pinot Noir to Landmark’s winemaking team. Stach helped establish Landmark’s distinguished Pinot Noir program, one that is quickly gaining notoriety as one of the premier wine programs in California. His unstinting dedication, commitment and respect for the land are reflected in his elegantly balanced wines. Stach’s winemaking philosophy incorporates traditional winemaking techniques with a “less is more” attitude. Believing that great wine begins in the vineyard, Stach intervenes during the winemaking process to ensure consistency and quality, but relies heavily on the fruit’s intense, ripe flavors and distinct vineyard characteristics. Under his direction, Landmark’s wines have consistently earned stellar reviews from top wine critics, including six honorable appearances on the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list.
A graduate of California State University at Fresno with a degree in journalism, Stach didn’t discover his true passion for wine until the mid-1980s while working as a restaurant sommelier in Fresno and Reno. Eager to immerse himself in the wine industry, Stach then went back to school and earned a degree in enology from Fresno State, graduating in 2001.
Winemaker Megan Gunderson, Walt Wines
Winemaker Megan Gunderson began her career in the Napa Valley in 2001 when she moved from Colorado to California and worked as an intern at Robert Mondavi Winery. While at Mondavi, she discovered a passion for wine and viticulture and went on to become a
Laboratory Manager for St. Supery Vineyards in Rutherford, then Dominus Estates in Oakville. At Dominus, she was able to refine her winemaking skills under the mentorship of Christian Moueix and Jean-Claude Barrouet, learning to hone her winemaking craft with unique methods.
Megan has made several trips to France to study winemaking techniques, the most recent to Burgundy in the summer of 2011. Megan’s multiple degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics have given her a unique and unmatched perspective into the scientific aspects of winemaking.
Rock Stars of Pinot Noir Dinner Honoring Merry Edwards – Saturday Evening
Winemaker Merry Edwards
One of California’s first woman winemakers, Merry Edwards began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974. She went on to become the founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977 and remained there until 1984. For the next decade, Merry consulted for numerous wineries, large and small, in Oregon and many diverse appellations of California.
In 1997, family and friends joined Merry to found Merry Edwards Winery, with a focus on producing Pinot Noirs with a sense of place from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Living her dream, she and her husband, Ken Coopersmith, now manage five estate vineyards: Coopersmith, Cresta d’Oro, Flax, Georganne and Meredith. They maintain collaborative relationships with several other dedicated growers to supplement this estate production. Two regional blends and six vineyard designates are bottled. In 2001, a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc blend was added to the portfolio.
Merry and Ken completed their new state-of-the-art winery facility in 2008 on the site of Coopersmith Vineyard. In this venue, tastings are hosted to educate visitors about Merry’s handcrafted wines and site-specific viticulture. Merry’s wines are available direct from the winery and in fine restaurants throughout the United States.
In 2013, Merry’s 40th year as a winemaker, not only was she inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame, she also won the coveted James Beard Foundation Award for Best Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional in the United States, becoming just the fourth woman to win the honor.
Greg Brewer’s primary focus in the winery is the pursuit of refinement. He is engaged in every aspect of his work, from vineyard to market, and every level of the process is given equal priority. To him, a mindful approach where strategic and efficient actions are taken to incorporate the needs of the entire ecosystem creates a confident and calming environment, a space where everyone and everything is appreciated. The goal is the beauty and synchronicity of the system. The result is wine that is honest and driven, expressive of the place and the team who collectively steward them.
Greg has always followed a distinct and deliberate arc in his work, where the priority is service, subtracting extraneous elements and minimizing the insertion of self. He reveres the repetitive and monastic nature of the winemaking craft, and after 25 years in the business is firmly committed to the immediate task at hand. This focus shifts the motivation behind the wine from ego towards humility. For Greg, it is only along this path that the resultant product conveys the sincerity and vulnerability that is his goal, both personally and professionally.
Greg started his career as a French instructor at UC Santa Barbara before being trained in wine production at Santa Barbara Winery starting in 1991. He created his eponymous label, Brewer-Clifton with original partner Steve Clifton in 1996 and later designed Melville where he worked as winemaker from its inception in 1997 through the end of 2015. Greg additionally created diatom focusing on starkly raised Chardonnay, as well as Ch.igai Takaha, which is marketed predominantly in Japan. The entirety of his career has been committed to the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, which he helped to map, define and establish in 1997.