The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2010

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Page 51 of 116

NEXT-GENERATION WineMAkeRs Sonoma 2.0 O FOUR YOUNG WINEMAKERS BLAZe tRAiLs WHILE HEEDING TRADITION by Daedalus Howell f the attempts to attach a name to the emerging school of winemakers whose palates and vintages are poised to redefi ne the wine market, perhaps the most fatuous are “Wine 2.0” and, even more obtusely, “Generation Yne.” The former suggests that wine and social media are one in the same and the latter, at least in print, reads more like a typo than a buzzword. Perhaps the best way to frame the bumper crop of winemaking talent emerging in Sonoma County is to do away with nifty neologisms altogether and simply regard them—or, more specifi cally, their wines—through a glass. For our purposes, the “next generation” of winemakers includes members of the so-called “X” generation and the more recently arrived “Millennials.” Both cultural subsets are the progeny of the Baby Boom, among whose ranks are many of those who put American and, more specifi cally, Sonoma County wines on the map. This next generation isn’t interested in redrawing that map so much as refi ning it, though their techniques often differ dramatically from those of their forebears. Wise Beyond His years Jesse katz, Lancaster estate At 26 years-old, winemaker Jesse Katz has only been drinking legally for fi ve years. Fortunately for Katz (and wine-lovers), the new winemaker at Healdsburg’s Lancaster Estate began honing his palate while a pre-teen when traveling with his photographer father through Tuscany and Burgundy. The elder Katz, Andy, was in the midst of producing a wine-themed book, and he and his son were often invited to tastings. Wise beyond his years, Jesse partook inasmuch as he was allowed and a lifelong love of wine—and a career–was born. “Wine was always in the back of my mind; I always had a big passion for it,” says Katz, a Colorado native, who moved to California in the early part of the last decade. “Living in Colorado, you don’t really hear ‘Oh, you can go to school for this stuff.’ It’s not like there’s a study in ‘the knowl- edge of viticulture.’ Your guidance counselor isn’t telling you this stuff.” Jesse Katz, the new winemaker at Lancaster Estate. Katz eventually moved to Santa Barbara and worked a summer job in a winery lab; his career path opened before him. Katz transferred to California State University Fresno, alma mater of lauded winemaker Richard Arrowood, and majored in enology with a minor in chemistry. april 2010 / the tasting panel / 51 CREDIT: PHOTO: ANDY KATZ

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