• You Never Forget Your First (Harvest) – Centralas Wine Harvest 2019

    Our first commercial harvest at Centralas is mostly behind us. The organic Pinot Noir grapes have been picked, de-stemmed, native fermented, pressed, and put into 20% new French Oak barrels. The biodynamic Grenache and Syrah have been picked, crushed, and co-native-fermented in barrels, of which 20% is new American Oak. Now comes the long winter of waiting. My style of waiting is eager and impatient, especially when it comes to wine. We couldn’t be happier with the way our first harvest has gone. The aromas and tastes of the two very young wines are outstanding, and they promise to improve with barrel age. We even got exactly the color we…

  • The Surprising Centralas Brand Revelation

    While driving back to South Central Los Angeles after Centralas’s first harvest, we passed a large billboard advertising a wine brand. This inspired us to ask the question: What would the Centralas billboard look like? Since we live in Tinseltown USA our native tongue is movies & TV. So what we really started discussing was: What would the Centralas movie poster look like? What we came up with surprised me. We decided that the Centralas poster would be something like Love Actually. Yes, Richard Curtis is pretty much on-brand for Centralas. You see, we’ve founded Centralas on two key values: organic viticulture and transparent winemaking. We only use grapes that…

  • Sideways single clone 667 Pinot Noir

    You Will Never Be Able To Drink That Wine Again

    The best bottle of wine I ever drank, the one that tasted so good that it broke my mind, the one that allowed me to realize that this rare and poignant pleasure that could transcend tongue and taste buds, was a bottle of 2002 Santa Rita Hills single clone Pinot Noir. I discovered and tasted it in the early summer of 2004, a year that changed wine in California forever.  I say that because this is not just a personal story of something that’s meaningful only to me. This is about mortality, and the way we all experience the things we love. It was in the Lincourt tasting room on…

  • Vineyard with irrigation lines in California will need to become dry farmed in the future

    Dry Farming – The Future (and Past) of Wine in California

    Before the 1970’s, all vineyards planted on earth were “dry farmed.” Simply, winegrowers had to rely on precipitation as the only source of water for their grape vines. Today in California, you’d be considered crazy to plant a vineyard California without an irrigation system. In fact, you might not be allowed to. What? There’s no law against dry farming, you say. Technically there isn’t. But a bank today is highly unlikely to lend to a winery that wants to plant a vineyard without irrigation. The commercial demands of viticulture in California are part of the reason irrigation became the norm. Vineyard growers discovered that you could grow more grapes per…

  • Bandol France home of Mourvedre

    Bandol – France’s Other Big “B”

    You’ve heard of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but you most likely haven’t heard of Bandol. That’s a shame, because it produces some of the most exciting and unique red and rosé wines in the world, with AOC standards that exceed those of Burgundy and Bordeaux. If you think of Burgundy as France’s northern “B,” and Bordeaux as France’s central (albeit western) “B,” then you can think of Bandol as France’s southern “B.” It is situated on the sunny Mediterranean coast, technically part of the French Riviera in south-eastern France, and part of Provence.  While not anywhere near as large as Bordeaux or Burgundy (and this may be part of the reason…

  • Carboys full of homemade wine

    Why You Should NOT Make Wine At Home

    Let’s say we were hanging out in the backyard, drinking some fantastic Centralas Pinot Noir, and you said, “I’d like to make wine at my house. Could you teach me how?” My first reaction would be, “That’s just the wine talking. Let me know how you feel in the morning.” And if you called me bright and early the next day, still wanting to learn how to make wine at home, I’d still try to talk you out of it. Here’s why. 1. Making wine at home won’t save you money. In fact it will cost more than buying good wine.  There are large pieces of equipment that you pretty…

  • Centralas Wine - new red wine in the press

    Why I Love Making Wine

    Winemaking is a lot of hard work, and starting a small winery involves many sacrifices, stresses, and sobering realities. I wrote this list of things that I love about winemaking so that I won’t lose sight of the things that make this all worthwhile: The color of young red wine, the color of the skins after pressing, in the sunlight. The look of the freshly pressed juice in glass with sun shining through it. It’s like hot pink crossed with royal purple. The smell of a healthy fermentation. That sweet, intoxicating, cloud of carbon dioxide and volatized esters that combine unmistakably and remind me of the seasons and change, of…

  • Official organic village of Correns, France

    Organic Wine Utopias – More Than Just An Ideal?

    Tucked into a picturesque valley along the Argens river in Provence, in south-east France, is a village that is known as the First Organic Village of France. The village of Correns got together in 1995 and made a decision that all agriculture in the town would be organic. A majority of the agriculture in the town is actually viticulture, and there’s a decent chance you’ve had a rosé that came from Correns. That’s because Correns gained international notice for its Provençal rosé when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married there, and later purchased Chateau Miraval in Correns. Chateau Miraval rosé is still widely available, despite the couple’s split.  But…

  • sustainable-organic-wine

    Is “Sustainable Wine” Total B.S?

    The answer to this question is complicated. There are two uses of “Sustainable Wine” that you might come across in the wine industry. The first is just a marketing term which may or may not point to any real principles and practices in the winegrowing or winemaking process, and is basically meaningless. It’s a buzz word to capture the attention of environmentally conscientious consumers (like me). It’s total B.S. Then there’s “certified sustainable.” This term can be used when a winery undergoes the certification process of the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance (CSWA).   There isn’t an Oregon or Washington version of the CSWA, but they have other certifications that are…

  • American-Chestnut-wine-barrels

    The Greatest Ecological Disaster Ever – The Extinction of the American Chestnut

    The functional extinction of the American chestnut tree has been called the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history. At the beginning of the 20th century there were approximately 4 billion American chestnut trees covering over 200 million acres of woodlands in the eastern USA. By the 1940’s they had all but completely disappeared. A species that had survived every threat for 40 million years was wiped out in 40 years.  You likely haven’t heard about it though. That’s because the greatest human impact was the decimation of a culture of subsistence farmers in the Appalachians, a place and way of life that was mostly…