Having been at the forefront of California wine for over 40 years, The Wine Down is thrilled and honored to have Richard Sanford spend an afternoon with us talking about his insights and philosophies on wine and the region.
Ranging from the ‘organic’ debate to his history and contribution in the wine world, Richard extended the same poetic grace to our set as he has lent to the global wine palate. Enjoy!
Richard Sanford is one of the pioneering figures in California wine. Having been the first person to plant Pinot Noir in California, his unique vision of California has now grown to be one that the world shares with him some forty years later.
After leaving his namesake wineries in 2005, Sanford founded the Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards where he continues to apply the same aesthetic of purity and natural beauty.
00:01 Intro to the Wine Down.
00:47 Welcoming Richard Sanford
02:44 What motivates the godfather of the Pinot Noir world?
04:45 The first cuttings for Pinot Noir in California.
06:05 How did you first get interested in the possibilities of wine in California?
08:08 How were the initial reactions to the vineyards?
12:06 How did you figure out where to plant?
14:59 What did you originally plant?
16:31 How has the region changed?
18:39 The first harvest and harvesters.
20:51 The response to the first release.
26:19 The characteristics of a Pinot Noir.
28:43 Separating from Sanford and Benedict.
31:04 Going organic from a conventional background.
32:57 Keeping farming basic in the age of marketing.
35:36 A peanut butter and jelly last meal for ants.
39:06 The standard of “organic.”
42:03 Following your bliss and inspiration.
44:24 The “primary” wine: the Alma Rosa Pinot Noir.
45:11 The advantages of owning (or not) your vineyard.
46:57 “Something very important about Pinot Noir,” the European clones.
50:15 The progression of taste in wine.
51:24 The decision to leave Sanford winery and create Alma Rosa.
56:02 Naming the brand in the tradition of the ranches.
57:34 Transitioning customers to Alma Rosa from Sanford?
59:49 Using nature in a supporting role and working toward animal and eco-conservation.
1:03:42 Future goals for Alma Rosa?
1:05:41 Thanks to Richard.