I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Patrick Campbell

There’s a new episode of I’ll Drink to That! available. Episode 490 features a conversation with Patrick Campbell, the former owner and winemaker of Laurel Glen Vineyard on California’s Sonoma Mountain. Patrick is the owner of Tierra Divina Vineyards, a grouping of wine brands sourced from grapes grown in Argentina and California. This episode also features shorter appearances from Mike Chelini (formerly of Stony Hill Vineyard), Ray Coursen (formerly of Elyse Winery), Randall Grahm (Bonny Doon Vineyard), Joel Peterson (formerly of Ravenswood Winery), and David Rafanelli (A. Rafanelli Winery). Erin Scala provides a background to the pivotal 2005 United States Supreme Court ruling of Granholm v. Heald in this episode as well.


Patrick Campbell has multiple lifetimes worth of interesting stories to tell, and luckily this interview is stuffed with several of them. The early move from Harvard Yard to a Zen Buddhist Community in Sonoma. The unlikely purchase of an iconic vineyard. The pruning lessons in a rain deluge. The market machinations, perils, and rewards of handshake grape contracts. The peculiarities of making wine by figuring it out on your own, year after year, without university training or a family background in wine. Jetting off to Chile and then taking an epic car ride over the Andes Mountains to Argentina, stumbling into a wine culture of another era. And then back to the United States, with a pivotal and consequential case before the Supreme Court. This episode is all over the globe, and a special trip of its own.

Other ways to listen:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Patrick Campbell appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: Sylvain Pataille and the New Old Style

A new episode of I’ll Drink to That! has just been released. Episode 489 features a conversation with Sylvain Pataille, the owner and winemaker at Domaine Sylvain Pataille in the Burgundy area of Marsannay, in France. This episode also features shorter appearances from Bruno Clair (of the Bruno Clair winery in Marsannay), John Kongsgaard (of Kongsgaard Wine in Napa Valley), and Becky Wasserman (whose birthday it would have been today).

Sylvain Pataille is a grown-up wunderkind, a prodigious personality who now has the benefit of several years of experience in the vine rows and barrel cellars. His natural excitement is now leavened with his learned insights. And he is very ready to share what he knows. This hour-and-a-half episode runs through all kinds of winemaking topics, including reduction, infusion, stem inclusion, crushing, bâtonnage, and lees. To listen to this extensive run down (maybe twice or three times) is to feel that you now have the knowledge to ask some better questions. You will have a foothold in the cellar. Will you be as excited as Sylvain to try every experiment, to explore every avenue, and to ponder the results for years? Maybe so.

Other ways to listen:

Photo of Sylvain Pataille © Michel Joly.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Sylvain Pataille and the New Old Style appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: Erin and the Volcano

Episode 488 of I’ll Drink to That! features a tour of Pico Island, a part of the Azores archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Erin Scala leads the audio tour and takes listeners along as she speaks with numerous people living and working on the island.

Erin Scala packs big, sturdy boots and heads to Pico Island, a land known for mysterious and intricate vineyard sites, razor-blade lava stones, whale watching, a marshmallow-like cheese, spiritual soups, “The Year of the Noise”, and one particularly giant volcano. As she travels across the island she comes across some distinctive indigenous grape varieties, a wide range of wine styles, and a full-blown, dynamic wine renaissance reverberating across the whole place. Indeed, numerous newly formed and revitalized wineries have come onto the scene on Pico. She also tracks down the history of why winemaking on the island, which had once been producing on a massive scale, dwindled and seemingly faded away until only recently. While discussing Pico, Erin gives a clear sense of her own fondness for it, as well as a compelling case for why you should be paying more attention to the wines and the cultural history they are a part of. If you want to head out into parts unknown and engage with a mysterious landscape, but can’t because of travel woes, let Erin be your guide for this one-of-a-kind tour.

Episode 488 features commentary from (listed in order of appearance):

  • Vanda Supa, Director of Environment and Climate Change of Pico
  • Monica Silva Goulart, Architectural Expert of the Pico Island Vineyards
  • Paulo Machado, Insula and Azores Wine Company
  • Dr. Joy Ting, Enologist at the Winemaker’s Research Exchange
  • António Maçanita, Azores Wine Company
  • Catia Laranjo, Etnom
  • André Ribeiro and Ricardo Pinto, Entre Pedras
  • Lucas Lopez Amaral (translated by Paulo Machado), Adega Vitivinícola Lucas Amaral
  • Tito Silva (translated by Fortunato Garcia), Cerca dos Frades
  • Jose Eduardo and Luisa Terra, Pocinho Bay
  • Fortunato Garcia, Czar Winery
  • Bernardo Cabral, Picowines Co-op
  • Filipe Rocha, Azores Wine Company
  • Christina Cunha (for her uncle Leonardo da Silva), Santo Antonio Carcarita
  • Marco Faria, Curral Atlantis Winery

Photo above by Erin Scala.

Other ways to listen:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Erin and the Volcano appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Dominik Sona

Episode 487 of I’ll Drink to That! features winemaker Dominik Sona of Koehler-Ruprecht. Koehler-Ruprecht is a winery located in the Pfalz of Germany.

As a winery, Koehler-Ruprecht marches to the beat of its own drummer. As Dominik Sona says repeatedly in this interview, there is nobody else in the Pfalz doing things as they do. The litany of idiosyncrasies is long, but so is the history of excellent bottles of wine. That is one reason why it is worth hearing more about the approach that K-R takes in the winery. Another is that listening to Sona actually puts the rest of the German wine world into relief. By highlighting what they do that is different from others, Sona also underlines what the norms for German wine really are today. Long aging on the lees, for a year or more, without racking? Sona explains that this was once much more common in the region than it is today. Dry wines made without chaptalization? Sona alludes to how normalized an allowance for adding sugar has become in the German wine community and gives his reasons for rejecting that practice. A new approach in the vineyards? Sona details how important this has become, in light of climate change. If you want to understand the wines of Koehler-Ruprecht better, you should listen to this interview. And if you just want to understand the wines of Germany in general, you should… also listen to this interview. Either way, you will be rewarded.

Other ways to listen:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Dominik Sona appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker George Skouras

Episode 486 of I’ll Drink to That! features George Skouras of Domaine Skouras. Domaine Skouras is a winery located in the Peloponnese of Greece.

When George Skouras began his winemaking career in the 1980s, there was a total of 70 wineries in all of Greece. Today there are over one thousand. The big growth in the number of Greek wineries has, over the decades, been accompanied by wholesale changes of technique in the same period of time. Lowering grape yields. Picking earlier to preserve freshness. Putting grapes in a cold room overnight. Being very mindful about skin contact. Being observant of pressing regimes. Fermenting in stainless steel. Élevage in French oak barrique. Blending international grape varieties with local ones. To listen to George Skouras talk about the development of his winemaking protocol is to hear about a kind of winemaking that is totally different from what had existed in Greece before the War. And totally different from the Retsina-soaked stereotype of rustic Greek wine. The innovations of George and other Greek winemakers of his generation would become the dominant model for Greek winemaking all across the country. As George phrases it, the changes were like a fire, and they spread quickly. Today George is ready to put some of that change in context, to re-evaluate some of his choices, and to consider whether the present moment asks for something a bit different. It is the kind of conversation you can only have with someone who has witnessed profound changes close up as a participant for decades, and is now ready to tell you what he knows.

Other ways to listen:

Photograph by Costas Mitropoulos courtesy of Domaine Skouras.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker George Skouras appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink To That: Chef Robert Vifian

Episode 485 of I’ll Drink to That! features Chef Robert Vifian. Robert is the chef and co-owner of Tan Dinh, a Vietnamese restaurant located in Paris, France.

Robert Vifian was born in Vietnam, in 1948. As a young man living in what was then known as Saigon, he focused on playing the hits of The Beatles and The Kinks, rather than dwelling on the nearby threat of the Tet Offensive. His family having moved to Paris, he would move to meet them there. He joined his mother in the kitchen of the Paris restaurant she had begun in 1968, known as Tan Dinh. Today Robert is the Chef of Tan Dinh, and the restaurant’s wine cellar is packed in every possible direction with bottles of rare Burgundy, Bordeaux, and California wines. Robert, having developed a passion for wine in France, soon began organizing tastings, and searching shops for extraordinary bottles. In this interview, Robert gives his thoughts about producers whose wines he has tasted for decades, including Domaine Coche-Dury, Domaine Comtes Lafon, Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Henri Jayer, and many others. He also discusses Bordeaux’s Right Bank wines and remembers early meetings with Jean-Claude Berrouet and Michel Rolland. Plus, he shares his memories of Steven Spurrier, the person who first introduced him to American wines.

The period of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s was a period of change for Robert, and for top French wines in general. As each changed, they grew closer together. A happy circumstance for both.

Other ways to listen:

Photograph courtesy of Robert Vifian. Photographer unknown.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink To That: Chef Robert Vifian appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: All About Lake Garda

Episode 484 of I’ll Drink to That! features a deep dive into Italy’s Lake Garda, and the wines produced along its shores. Erin Scala leads a tour of the wineries of the Lake Garda environs, examining the history of the area as well as the recent changes in winemaking there.


The popularity of pale pink rosé wines has united wine areas around the world in a shift towards their greater production. But what if an agreement about the efficacy of such wines was found in multiple regions of the world back even in Imperial Roman times? While examining the history of Bardolino, Erin Scala came across a common connection between the wines of Lake Garda in what is now Italy, and the wines of Provence, now a region of France. And that connection is rosé. The Romans, she relates to us in this episode, brought to both areas the idea of pressing grapes off their skins early in the maceration period. While those areas of Europe have been subsequently divided into different countries during the march of time, they share a common winemaking history dating back to the 3rd century AD. And the producers of Bardolino are referencing that history more and more as they move to embrace making rosé wines today. Erin found dramatic changes in the methods of wine production in the area, a general turn dating back less than a decade. Sweeping change, with an ancient historical precedent, buffered by the crosscurrents of modern nation-states? Who better to tell that story in a fun, engaging, and panoramic way than Erin Scala? Check out episode 484 of I’ll Drink to That! to hear her, as well as many of the producers of Bardolino wine today.

The photo by Erin Scala above shows Roberta Bricolo of Cantina Gorgo, one of several winery owners featured in the episode.

Other ways to listen to this episode:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: All About Lake Garda appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink To That: Geologist Françoise Vannier

Episode 483 of I’ll Drink to That! features Françoise Vannier, a French geologist who has made a multi-decade study of the vineyards of Burgundy. In this interview, she shares the unexpected findings she has unearthed in the course of her research.

What if I told you that most everything you thought about Burgundy vineyards was wrong? Defined hierarchies of quality that are based on rocks. Cru boundaries that are defined by fault lines. Clos walls that are more picturesque than consequential. Villages with a unified character. Vineyard soil undisturbed by man. And an unbroken slope of vineyards all facing east? Yep, those ideas are all in fact… incorrect. These and other mountains of misunderstanding are broken down by Françoise, one after another, in an interview that will change your very conception of Burgundy. In their place, she presents a map of the Côte d’Or that is defined by features that are often overlooked. A map that is the result of decades of research into the small details and minutiae of vineyards, and work at a scale that had never been completed before. Every Burgundy lover should be thankful to Françoise for this study. Every Burgundy lover should listen to this interview.

The wonderfully distinctive image of Françoise Vannier above was shot by photographer Michel Joly.

Other ways to listen to this episode:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink To That: Geologist Françoise Vannier appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Lorenzo Accomasso

Episode 482 of I’ll Drink to That! features legendary Barolo producer Lorenzo Accomasso, along with a deep lesson in the history of the Piedmont region’s journey from World War II until now.

Italy experienced a civil war in the 20th century, specifically in 1943 through 1945. In those years Fascists backed by Nazi Germany held territory in the north of the country, while Allied troops controlled Sicily and fought to move up the peninsula from the south. At that time, guerrilla warfare was waged by Italian resistance fighters known as Partisans. Italians attacked Italians as well as foreign armies, as Partisans battled the remnants of Benito Mussolini’s Fascists. That period of strife is still within living memory for people such as Lorenzo Accomasso. Accomasso is a vintner in Piemonte’s La Morra area who experienced the Second World War as a child, and the war between the Modern and Traditional Barolo as an adult. Perhaps those two conflicts had more connections than we might first suppose, a thought which occurred to me after listening through episode 482 of the I’ll Drink to That! podcast. That episode contains both a deep dive into the history of the Piemonte in the latter half of the twentieth century and an encounter with the elderly Accomasso, still hard at working making wine each year from his small parcels of vines. Accomasso speaks at length about the changes he has witnessed over the years, sometimes expressing more acceptance of the differences than approval. What wisdom should we take from Accomasso to apply to our own period of massive disruption? “Everyone must stay in their own garden” he tells us, “and I stay in mine.” Accomasso is ready to take responsibility for what he can, leaving us to do the same.

Listen to this episode:

Or access from your preferred platform:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Lorenzo Accomasso appeared first on Vinography.

I’ll Drink to That: Wine Before and After Genocide

Episode 481 of I’ll Drink to That! features Zorik Gharibian of the Zorah winery in Armenia. The episode is based on a recording that occurred before the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but foreshadowing of that conflict is present in several moments.

Each year scientists discover new evidence of ancient winemaking and redraw the boundaries of what we know about our human history with wine. And each year vintners reclaim areas that have gone unplanted for years. Both chapters of the story of wine are expanding: prelude and present. This interview with Zorik Gharibian addresses both and serves as a meditation on what wine has meant to humans at different times. Zorik speaks of the Areni-1 cave, a site for winemaking dating back over six thousand years. In that era, wine was a part of sacrifices to spiritual authority. Of propitiation. He also discusses an isolated mountain vineyard, hidden from invaders, and grapes grown there as a concealed store of potential nourishment in times of distress. Wine as preservation. And he talks of reclaiming his cultural roots by reclaiming vineyard areas in rural Armenia. Wine as connection. While a cycle of strife and conflict only repeats through millennia, our concept of what sustains us repeatedly changes.

Listen to this episode:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine

The post I’ll Drink to That: Wine Before and After Genocide appeared first on Vinography.