February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment
Last week I had the opportunity to go to lunch with another of my idols in the Zinfandel world. Randy Peters, my partner in the winery, grew up next to Ted Seghesio, and went from grade school through high school with him. I have been bothering Randy over the past couple of years to set up a lunch with Ted, because I have always loved his wines and admired his consistent quality. As I imagined, it was a career moment and his 34 years’ experience leading Seghesio’s winemaking team was very apparent!
I came away from this moment realizing the two main ingredients to making world class wines: experience and patience. I have to say that he was an open book in answering all of my myriad questions, from the topics of sanitation, fermentation, barrel regiment, and blending. Ted makes Zinfandel from 20 plus vineyards. He knows each of them intimately, and showcases the best light of their character. I don’t know how interesting it is to read about someone else’s experience meeting a legend in my field, but to me it makes for one of the most brag-worthy blogs I can think of.
Touring his entire production facility was not only a step back in history, but also an eye-opening experience of how a larger production winery can keep a tight focus on quality. I definitely saw some really cool toys that I can’t wait until we can afford to bring into our cellar. But Ted assured me that he made wine for many years without some of this high end equipment. And the goal for any of us winemakers is above all to show the character of the vineyard and the sense of the place.