Running a sustainable winery means more than thoughtful viticultural practices. This week, Pete Stolpman and Ruben Solorzano of Stolpman Vineyards walk Chris through their Syrah bottlings from Ballard Canyon in Santa Barbara County as well as their approach to hiring. Pete talks about labor practices from the standpoint of a managing partner, while Ruben explains how his vineyard team handles high density planting and dry farming.
Ruben Solorzano worked his way up from harvester to the role of vineyard manager, overseeing the year-round crew while managing the Cuadrilla Project, a cuvée made specifically by the vineyard workers, who receive the wine's profits.
Stolpman Vineyards was founded over twenty years ago and is now one of the top producers of Rhône varieties in California. Recently, they planted Trousseau and Chenin Blanc for their collaborative project, Combe, with Rajat Parr. For more information about Stolpman's commitment to conscious farming and hiring, check out their website.
Rania Zayyat created the non-profit organization Wonder Women of Wine (WWOW) to advocate for gender equality in the beverage industry. In March of 2019, WWOW hosted its first conference, which featured panel discussions with winemakers, importers, and writers as well as a comprehensive wine tasting. Since then, WWOW has hosted empowerment workshops and created scholarship opportunities. Chris called Rania to learn how her experience working in restaurants and sitting for the Master Sommelier exam led to her decision to start WWOW. With the 2020 conference postponed due to COVID-19, WWOW has launched A.L.L.I.E.S., a partnership to amplify the voices of black women wine professionals.
Rania is an Advanced Sommelier, wine educator, and gender equality advocate in the wine industry. In addition to serving as WWOW founder and Board President, Rania also co-owns Vintel, a natural wine consulting agency, and is the Wine Director at Bufalina in East Austin.
Michelle Wallace is the Executive Chef of Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston, TX. With a background in French cooking and high-end catering, Michelle has helped expand Gatlin’s beyond brisket and ribs. She also is obsessed with creating the perfect sandwich. As they drink a bottle of Donkey & Goat Isabel's Cuvée rosé, Michelle tells Chris about her love for bologna, the role of gender in the world of barbecue, and her favorite wine pairing. Michelle is also a big believer in giving back to the community and talks about the importance of supporting black-owned businesses and empowering young women.
Michelle grew up in St. Louis and has worked for Gatlin’s BBQ since 2016. She and Chris worked together at Houston's Restaurant and have collaborated on various barbecue & wine tastings. She can be found on Instagram at @betweentheslices, and pickup orders for Gatlin's BBQ can be placed on their website.
Chris sits down with Chris Shepherd, the Executive Chef of Underbelly Hospitality, to discuss fish sauce, pho, and philanthropy. Chris & Chris hash out what it takes to safely reopen a restaurant as well as how to build a support system for FOH & BOH employees. Along the way, they taste through some of Chris’ favorite bourbon bottles and discuss his methodology for sourcing single barrels from distilleries like Willett, Buffalo Trace, and Weller.
The year after winning the 2014 James Beard Award for his work at Underbelly, Chris founded Southern Smoke to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the non-profit pivoted to providing crisis relief to the Food & Beverage community. Since its inception in 2015, Southern Smoke has raised over four million dollars. Last year, he published a cookbook called Cook Like a Local that champions the ingredients and flavors that define Houston’s diverse culinary landscape. At this moment, his restaurants Georgia James, UB Preserv, and One Fifth all open at 75% capacity.
To learn more about Southern Smoke, visit www.southernsmoke.org.
Sarah Troxell runs the bar program for two of Houston's hottest restaurants: The Toasted Coconut and Nobie's. But before Sarah was slinging martinis, she was cooking in restaurant kitchens. This episode, she tells Chris how going to culinary school influenced her approach to bartending.
Later, Sarah explains her passion for Tiki, a tropical subculture in the beverage world. A discourse on the identity of Tiki and the terroir of rum ensues. Towards the end of the episode, Sarah shares how the national cocktail competition Speed Rack has made her not only a better bartender, but also a more vocal supporter of women in the Houston beverage community.
Sarah can be found on Instagram at @barcheftrox, and Chris can be reached at @braisedthoughts.
This week, Chris talks to Lyle Railsback about the intersection of couture and wine. Lyle is the National Portfolio Manager for Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, one of the most venerable importers of French and Italian wine. He's also one of the most well dressed guys in the wine biz. Through his travel throughout Europe, Lyle has developed meaningful relationships to tailors and winemakers. Amidst their talk of Sbagliatos and Côte-Rôtie, Chris and Lyle hash out their sartorial taste.
What are the differences in British and Italian menswear? How can clothiers and vignerons survive industrialized homogenization? Is there a connection between sprezzatura and natural wine? Where does one find the perfect flannel? All these questions and more are answered this week on By The Glass.
Sherry is one of the most misunderstood styles of wine. This week, Jaime Gil of Valdespino explains how Sherry is made and why the world should care about it. Along the way, Chris & Jaime discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Andalusia, the tapas bars of Jerez, and the success of En Rama bottlings in the export market.
Jaime Gil is the export manager for Grupo Estévez, the parent company of Valdespino, one of the most prestigious wineries in the Sherry Triangle. Valdespino's prized vineyard, Macharnudo Alto, has belonged to the Bodega since the 13th century and is the source of the winery's signature wines: Fino Inocente and Amontillado Tío Diego. Valdespino is relentlessly traditional, fermenting base wine in cask and fortifying with palomino grape distillate.
Jaime also oversees Bodegas Hijos de Rainera Pérez Marín, which produces La Guita Manzanilla in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Jaime and Chris first met during harvest in Jerez in 2016 and have collaborated for various sherry events.
How is sake made? What is koji? When is sake meant to be consumed? What's the difference between Junmai and Honjozo? Matt Taylor is the beverage trainer for Uchi, a sophisticated Japanese restaurant in Houston. In this week's bonus episode, Matt explains how short-grain rice gets harvested and eventually fermented into the product we know as sake.
In last week's episode, we spoke with Monica Samuels of Vine Connections about the logistics of importing sake as well as the past, present, and future of US sake consumption. This bonus episode helps contextualize that conversation and educate newcomers on basic categories and production techniques.
Sake is one of the world’s most versatile beverages. So why do most people only drink it with sushi? Monica Samuels is one of our country’s most passionate sake educators and has helped build US demand for sake through her leadership at Vine Connections. This week, she and Chris talk about the logistics of importing, the basics in umami pairing, as well as the friction between innovation and tradition in brewing.
Monica serves as Director of Sake & Spirits for Vine Connections, which has been importing sake since 2001. Born in LA to a Japanese mother and an American father, Monica grew up around sake and eventually became one of our country’s leading experts on the beverage. Previously, Monica served as the sake sommelier and corporate buyer for the restaurant group SUSHISAMBA as well as the Sake Brand Ambassador for Southern Wines & Spirits. Monica annually judges for the US National Sake Appraisal and helped develop the coursework for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Sake Award Sake and has lectured on sake for the Culinary Institute of America’s academic program.
Venturing into the unknown is never easy. So why did two self-taught natural wine lovers decide to plant Negroamaro and Petit Manseng in the mile-high, volcanic soils of Texas Davis Mountains AVA? This week, Chris chats with the husband-and-wife team behind Alta Marfa to learn more about Texas viticulture and self-actualization.
Katie is an professional cook, and her husband Ricky works a Monday through Friday office job. But on the weekends, they head 500 miles west to work on their vineyard in the desolate outskirts of Fort Davis. As they wait for their vines to reach maturity, Katie & Ricky have made wine from organically farmed sourced fruit. In 2019, they released their first wine, a zero-sulphur rosé of Tempranillo made from the Robert Clay Vineyard in the Texas Hill Country. Learn more by checking out Alta Marfa's website.