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Columns – Tina Caputo

Q & A: Linda Schwartz, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery
Tina Caputo
Dec 18, 2012

At first, the story of Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery may sound familiar: City-dwellers buy vineyard land and embark on second careers in the California wine industry. But this story has a twist. The couple behind this Sonoma Coast winery, Linda and Lester Schwartz, didn't exactly take the easy route. In 1976 the South African natives moved to Northern California, where Linda put her music background to use as an arts administrator and Lester worked as a lawyer. In 1988, the couple bought a virgin property in the high coastal ridges overlooking the Pacific Ocean, above the old Russian Settlement of Fort Ross. This is normally the part of the story where the couple hires famous consultants to plan and plant their vineyard. Instead, Linda enrolled in the viticulture program at Santa Rosa Junior College and Lester discovered his affinity for heavy machinery.

Q & A: Mike Martini, Louis M. Martini Winery
Tina Caputo
Nov 20, 2012

Like many wine lovers, I'm always interested in hearing about new producers, especially if they're veering away from the mainstream in terms of grape varieties, blends or styles. But sometimes the classics are just what I'm looking for. Wineries with a sense of place and history, specializing in traditional varieties, can be as welcome and satisfying as a plate of mom's pot roast. Louis M. Martini Winery in the Napa Valley is one of those classic California wineries. Whenever I pop a cork on one of Martini's Cabernets, I know that the wine in the bottle will be well made and a pleasure to drink -- rich, yet expertly balanced.

Q & A: Melissa Stackhouse, J Vineyards & Winery
Tina Caputo
Oct 23, 2012

When the weather turns cool and Thanksgiving approaches, my thoughts turn to festive sparklers and elegant Pinot Noirs -- wines that will pair beautifully with everything from cranberry relish to roasted turkey to sausage stuffing. If I had to choose a single source for elegant holiday wines, I'd turn to J Vineyards & Winery, in the Russian River Valley. Not only does J make terrific sparklers, it makes a range of lovely Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris wines.

Q&A: Gina Gallo, Winemaker
Tina Caputo
Sep 25, 2012

If you think you left Gallo wines behind when you moved on from Hearty Burgundy, you may be in for a surprise. Gallo is behind a slew of premium brands these days, including Frei Brothers, Louis M. Martini, MacMurray Ranch, Rancho Zabaco, William Hill Estate and many others. The 79-year-old company also makes some impressive wines under the Gallo Family Vineyards label, including the Estate, Single Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, and now, the Signature Series offerings.

Q & A: Sean O'Keefe, Chateau Grand Traverse
Tina Caputo
Aug 28, 2012

As a Michigan native, I've kept an eye on the state's wine scene for many years. During that time, I've gone from being a skeptic, to being pleasantly surprised at the quality of certain wines, to becoming a True Believer in the ability of Northern Michigan vintners to produce fantastic wines. One producer that's been doing this all along is Chateau Grand Traverse. Located near Traverse City on the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula, Chateau Grand Traverse is the oldest and largest winery and vineyard operation in Northern Michigan.

Q & A: Peter Molnar of Obsidian Ridge Vineyard
Tina Caputo
Jul 31, 2012

I've tasted and enjoyed many wines from Lake County over the years, but until recently, I'd never really toured the region's vineyards. There's really no excuse for that, since Lake County is less than a two-hour drive from my house. It's just that it always seemed so… far. I'm embarrassed to admit that it took the promise of aerial transportation to entice me to spend some quality time in Lake County. But boy, am I glad I made the trip.