From Wine Writer to Winemaker
If you stick around the wine business long enough, in just about any capacity, you end up thinking "I could do that." "That" being make and sell your own wine. Even I’ve had the thought. Then, I’ll walk into a client’s winery and see them pulling around hoses, dealing with the wrong palate’s of bottlings showing up with bottling happening tomorrow, and getting folks who owe them money to pay. I usually go back to my office and write a press release.
It’s interesting that among those who don’t take the plunge into the winemaking side that often are those who belong to the fraternity of wine writers. I can think of a few who made the transition from writer to winemaker, Jeff Morgan of Solo Roso being the most prominent. Generally, you don’t see many making the switch over.
I was happy to see that one writer has indeed followed the urge of late.
Stephen Yafa is a writer who writes about wine as well as other subjects. He’s been doing it for some time and his work shows up in a number of venues including the San Francisco Chronicle. Now he’s winemaker.
is Yafa’s new pursuit. The name refers to the transition from writer to winemaker. It also happens to roll off the tongue nicely. The first releases is a 2005 Russian River Valley Pinot made from grapes grown in the VanderKamp,Sangiacomo, and Balletto vineyards. It’s sitting on my counter right now ready to be popped open. Every time I walk by it I send it good wishes. I’ll find out what Stephen has created this evening.
He did have some help in making it. Though Stephen did most of the work of making the 50 cases, Greg La Follette of Flowers,Tandom and De Loach fame consulted on the wine.
Yafa has promised a chronicle of his transition from wine writer to winemaker via a blog that is attached to the Segue Cellars website. My guess is most of the wine will be sold direct to the consumer with a few set aside for placement in local Bay Area restaurants. Stephen lives in Mill Valley, just over the bridge from San Francisco and about 45 minutes from Sonoma and Napa Counties. So, he’s well position to hit the road to place a few cases here and there.
I haven’t asked him if he will be sending the wine out for review. Does a wine writer who has reviewed hundreds of wines have the same confidence in the wine review system? We’ll see.
There is a mailing list you can get on to look obtain future releases as well as info on how to get a bottle or two of the inaugural vintage at the web site.