A day in the life of Winemaker Nathan Kandler

One of California’s rising stars, you will soon be enamored with the wines of Nathan Kandler of Precedent Wines. His winemaking style is honest and straightforward, which allows the story the vineyard is telling to really shine through. His passion is working with old, quirky vineyards. The fact that he's such a nice guy makes us like his wines even more!

How would you describe your winemaking style in three words? Transparent. Site-driven and measured.

What three things are you most passionate about other than wine? My Family (wife, daughter and dog), travel and University of Michigan football.

What’s on your playlist for long days in the cellar? Jerry Jeff Walker, Tribe Called Quest, Black Keys, Willie Nelson, Warren Zevon, The Avett Brothers, Calexico, The Roots  - I've always loved old school hip hop and blues and have recently gotten into 'real' country. I consume music like wine - my tastes change fairly often.

What is your favorite place in the world? I try and make a backpacking trip to the eastern side of King's Canyon National Park, in the high sierra, every summer. The sheer beauty and size and scale of the mountains is humbling. The trip always recharges my spirit and re-sets my internal compass for the year. Closer to home I love the small town of Pescadero and the San Mateo Coast.  

What’s your favorite cellar snack? I'm very lucky. My wife always bakes up a storm during harvest and keeps the cellar stocked in baked goods.

What's your favorite thing about making wine?  It's very gratifying to produce something from nature, especially something that is so difficult to actually control. We are very much at the mercy of mother nature in a lot of ways. There's a certain amount of peace you have to come to terms with, especially regarding the cycles of the seasons and the challenges that are thrust upon you. Every year, and really every day are different. I also love that I can take my dog to work and be outside so often.  

What one piece of advice would you give a novice wine drinker? Don't drink the same thing twice for a year.

What’s your favorite wine-drinking experience or memory? Wow, this is tough there are a lot. The best ones are almost always more about the company and place than simply the wine. I've tasted great 'wines' at crowded stand up tasting that were not particularly enjoyable and conversely had forgettable wines in awesome spots with my wife or great friends that are experiences I'll never forget. I shared a now unknown bottle of wine with a great friend of mine from Michigan on the Sonoma Coast right after I moved there in 1999, It was awesome sharing with him what was then my new home.

Last question, say you die and go to heaven. What’s in your wine glass? If it is Pinot Grigio I will know I am in the wrong place, just kidding. I'd love to be met at St. Peters gate by Henri Jayer and/or Bartolo Mascarello.

A Day in the Life of Winemaker Angela Osborn

What do you do when you are a winemaker and a busy mom and it's time to pick grapes? Bring your adorable son along to help! Winemaker, earth mama and yogini--New Zealand born Angela Osborne moved to California in 2006 with the dream of making Grenache. She made her dream come true in 2007 with the first vintage of the acclaimed label A Tribute to Grace named after her grandmother and her desire to make wines that embody grace. Last year, she joined up with her best friend and fellow winemaker, Faith Armstrong, to create Farmers Jane Wine Co.  We love that these ladies bring friendship, feminine intuition and a deep respect for nature to their wine making. We think you will be just as charmed by 'the Farmers Jane' as we are! 

What’s your favorite thing about making wine? Working with my senses. Senses have always been profound for me and with wine I am able to use all six. I feel very blessed, daily.

What three things are you most passionate about other than wine? My family, Ayurveda, Botanical Healing.

How would you describe your wine-making style in three words?   Intentional. Intuitive. Grateful.

If you could make wine anywhere in the world (other than where you are) where would it be? New Zealand 

What’s your favorite cellar snack?  Marcona Almonds

What is your favorite place in the world (can be a country, a city, a place in your hometown, or a spot in your home)?   Rarawa beach, New Zealand

What’s on your playlist for long days in the cellar?   Right now there’s lots of Tom Waits and Lou Reed, with a bit of Krishna Das. 

If wine’s not in your glass, what is?  Gin and Tonic. A fave in our house ~ it’s been so dry here, and nothing quite beats a ranch G&T!

What’s your favorite wine-drinking experience or memory? Oh, so many! I think it would have to be Condrieu and fresh scallops enjoyed on Kawau Island with some of my very favorite people in the world. A dear friend Karl and I had dreamed of enjoying this pairing since our London days and we finally manifested it a few years ago. I don’t think I’ve had a Condrieu since, or fresh scallops for that matter! Definitely yin/yang divinity, those two. 

A Day in the Life of Winemaker Faith Armstrong

Faith Armstrong Foster fell in love with the world of wine early on. After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture & Enology, she honed her skills at Frank Family Vineyards.
In 2009, she launched her own acclaimed label, Onward Wines, her 'love letter' to Pinot Noir. Last year, she joined up with her best friend and fellow winemaker, Angela Osborne, to create Farmers Jane Wine Co.  In addition to being a talented winemaker, Faith is also the mother to three boys, a baby girl, a dog, a cat and a hen. 


What’s your favorite thing about making wine? I absolutely love that it is never the same thing twice--every vintage,every stage in ferment and élevage, every moment of bottle age, every sip. Monotony does not exist in wine-making which is a wondrous thing to be true in a job. Also making wine just makes me happy…I don’t know why it just makes me smile and feel good!


What three things are you most passionate about other than wine?
First, my family; my own and the one I was raised in. I grew up in a big family--one of five kids--and I have four kids of my own. My family is my everything. Second, my community of friends; the way my neighborhood gathers in my courtyard for shared meals and merriment. Also my garden; it feeds the first 2 things and makes me smile.


How would you describe your wine-making style in three words? Respect, balance and heart.


If you could make wine anywhere in the world (other than where you are) where would it be?
I would love to experience making wine in Burgundy

What is your favorite place in the world (can be a country, a city, a place in your hometown, or a spot in your home)? I grew up on the ocean and it always give me a incredible sense of calm to sit and look out into the ocean. If I can sit with my family piled around me and smell the sea air that is a happy spot.  If I had to chose one spot it would be a private nook somewhere on one of the Canadian gulf islands, a cove that you can only access by water--meaning we would have to take our own boat to get there. Of course we would have a lovely bottle of wine and some fresh caught salmon that we would cook over the open fire roasting on a cedar plank…oh my, that was a nice daydream break! 


What’s on your playlist for long days in the cellar?
It's a real mix! Jimmy Cliff, the Black Crowes, new stuff from Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline always comes in there. Plus, hits from the 80’s which are key when I am really getting tired. 

What’s your favorite wine-drinking experience or memory? 
I have so many I don’t think I can pick just one, but I will share one of my earlier experiences:  I was with my mom and my 2 sisters and we were traveling in Italy. We had chosen a few wineries to visit and this one was very remote with a long dirt driveway that was very steep. Our little rental car could barely get up the the hill! We got there and the owners brought us in and tasted us through all these wines, none of which I remember the exact details of (the blend etc), but their passion I will never forget. They loved what they did and were so proud of the wines and so wonderfully open and kind to us. After our tasting they said we were welcome to stay and enjoy the sunset. We sat on this majestic hillside in the country side of Tuscany and ate olives and cheese and drank a bottle of wine made from grapes grown the very hillside on which we sat and it was magical.

A Day in the Life of Winemaker Ariana Occhipinti

"Wine is now the engine of a renaissance of Sicily as a symbol of beauty and good things, a place to bet on." -Arianna Occhipinti

Our favorite wine-making rebel (with a cause), Arianna Occhipinti started making wine under her own label at the age of 22. Less than ten years later, she has officially taken the wine world by storm. A darling of wine critics, published author and an international symbol for the new face of Sicilian wines---her star is most definitely on the rise. 


What’s your favorite thing about making wine? The manual part of it; the fact that I can really touch what I do and see the result.

What three things are you most passionate about other than wine? Travelling to new wine regions, trying new foods from different cultures and hiking in the middle of nature. But unfortunately I have little time to do these activities because I’m always very focused on my vineyards and wine.

How would you describe your wine-making style in three words? Instinctive. Artisan. Contemporary.

If you could make wine anywhere in the world where would it be? It’s hard for me to imagine making wine other than in Sicily--but if I did I would definitely change hemispheres. Actually, my dream would be to go to New Zealand and have thousands of sheep to graze the wonderful green hills.

What’s one quirky thing about you most people don’t realize? Sensitivity. People don’t realize that I am very sensitive inside, as they only see the external Arianna that is very precise, decisive and can come off as a bit tough. 

What’s your favorite cellar snack? Local bread, my extra virgin olive oil, ragusano cheese and olives

What is your favorite place in the world? It is the palmento (the old sicilian grape press) in Fossa di Lupo---where I have been living and producing wine until last year. And anytime I find myself in my kitchen cooking with good friends.