Organic Wine Podcast



Organic Wine is the gateway to explore the entire wine industry - from soil to sommeliers - from a revolutionary perspective. Deep interviews discussing big ideas with some of the most important people on the cutting edge of the regenerative renaissance, about where wine comes from and where it is going.

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111 episodes

Wine & Spirit - Regeneration, Rewilding, and the Soul of Wine

This episode is about making room for the unknown. Or the known, but unmeasurable. If making wine means more than botany and chemistry to you, if you find yourself so deep in the soil that you've started making mycorrhizal connections, if you've begun to notice that what we talk about when we talk about wine is connected to things that have nothing to do with wine... this episode is for you. A big thanks to Chiara Shannon and Darek Trowbridge for candidly discussing these ideas. We’d really like to know what you think about this episode, so please email any comments, or questions to We only scratch the surface of this topic, but I think you’ll find some inspiring ideas including: Darek’s proposal of Sacred Grade wine, quite a few books and resources to check out, a discussion of some of the as yet unmeasurable aspects of Biodynamics, with a really amazing story that Darek shares about the efficacy of the 501 preparation and how he made believers of his entire vineyard crew. And we talk in many ways about regeneration and rewilding, how these land-centered ideas are connected to and echoed inside us, as well as how our interior lives get reflected in how we care for our land and our vines. Support this episode by subscribing via patreon Sponsors: Centralas Wine Catavino Tours Oom - recycled bottles for wine VT Vineyards Let them know you heard about them through the Organic Wine Podcast.

1h 26m
Mar 20
Marreya Bailey - Mad Marvlus & The Bathing Collective

I’d like to introduce you to a source of inspiration for me personally, and my guest for this episode: Marreya Bailey. Marreya’s winery is Mad Marvlus, which, as she mentions, sounds like a super hero name. And maybe that’s appropriate. Marreya doesn’t really make wine with Mad Marvlus, she creates living embodiments of personality and spirit that you can drink. She calls them her creatures. Don’t expect just grapes, but any and every natural thing that produces sugar and flavor in her environment. Don’t expect traditional wine either, unless by traditional you mean the actual traditions from cultures around the globe that were practiced for millennia prior to this strange thing that has happened for the last fifty years. Marreya is also the founding mother and co-partner of The Bathing Collective, which you’ll have to listen to find out what it is… and the future that it hopes to bring about.  Support this episode by subscribing via patreon Sponsors: Centralas Wine Catavino Tours Oom - recycled bottles for wine Let them know you heard about them through the Organic Wine Podcast.

1h 40m
Mar 13
J. Stephen Casscles - Hybrid & American Heritage Grapes: Treat The Like Real Grapes!

My guest for this episode is J Stephen Casscles, author of the book Grapes of the Hudson Valley, and grower of 106 varieties of hybrids and heritage wine grapes in the Hudson Valley. If I were to boil this entire episode down into one message it would be to Treat hybrids like real grapes! We talk all about the benefits and characteristics of these heritage and hybrid grapes. We talk about the added benefits of growing grapes on their own roots, rather than rootstock. We talk about why hybrids were banned in France. We talk about the benefits of the greater productivity of these grapes, the benefits of the disease resistance of these grapes. We talk about making wine from hybrids, and how they can immensely expand your palate of flavors to work with. Stephen has a wealth of information to share and this interview is a non-stop firehose of wine knowledge. Sponsors: & use referral code OWP in the contact form Catavino Tours Centralas Wine

1h 12m
Mar 06
Ryan Opaz, Catavino Tours - Ecological Consciousness in a Complex World

My guest for this episode is Ryan Opaz. His wine journey has led him to become a thoughtful wine business owner with deep ecological consciousness gained from decades of working at nearly every level of the wine industry. Besides being the founder and CEO of Catavino, with his wife and partner Gabriella he runs a natural and organic wine shop in Porto, Portugal, co-authored and was the photographer of the James Beard Award-nominated book Foot-Trodden: Portugal and the wines that time forgot. Previously he was also the photographer for the book The Amber Revolution, and a book about Porto’s Portugal’s Historic Bolhão Market. For his service to the Portugese wine industry he has also been inducted as a Knight of the Port Wine Brotherhood. Yes, this this is a conversation with not only a Knight, but a wine Knight. One of the admirable qualities of Ryan that comes up in this interview is his desire to remind all of us in wine that answers to questions and solutions to problems aren’t universally applicable and timeless. That is, the issues we face are complex, context-dependent, and we would be wise to resist the impulse to simplify questions to single answers, or problems to single solutions, and even when we think we have found a way forward, we should continue to research and explore and be willing to find that we need to change our approach again next year. We also talk a lot about emissions offsets. If you’ve been paying attention to the news about carbon offsets, from John Oliver to the Guardian, you’ll know that there are a lot of problems with offsets. In fact there are more than problems… there is a massive amount of deception and outright fraud. Ryan brings up some really interesting ideas about offsets that I think are important to consider, and his efforts to make his wine tourism company less wasteful and more ecologically positive have brought up some really good questions that I think we will all be wrestling with over the next decade or so. And I’m currently in discussion with a reputable company who provides offsets to do a future episode entirely devoted to the hard questions around these issues. So stay tuned. The most important thing may not be that we seek ways to offset every ounce of carbon from our footprint, but that we begin to see that all of our choices and actions have ecological consequences, that there is a cost to everything we do, and if we aren’t paying for it, it’s likely that the earth or someone or something else is. Full disclosure: Ryan’s company is a sponsor for the Organic Wine Podcast, and you can support this podcast by visiting for organic wine podcast. I’m glad to have them for a sponsor, and I think this interview will help you see why. Other Sponsors Include:  Use referral code OWP And the most direct way you can support this podcast is: Thank you!

1h 53m
Feb 28
Hoss Hauksson - Vitiforestry Polyculture in Switzerland

My guest for this episode is Hoss Hauksson, and he practices a form of viticulture in Switzerland that integrates elements of vitiforestry or a silvoculture polyculture, using a biodynamic approach, with the world’s smallest sheep and technologies like drone spraying and UV robots. His wine takes the idea of terroir literally, incorporating medicinal and aromatic herbs and trees as infusions in both the vineyard ecosystem and in his pinot noir. In other words, I think I discovered my long lost soul twin. Hoss is one of the only, if not the one and only, Icelandic winemakers on earth, (which means he’s probably related to Steve Matthiasson) and he tells us about his journey from wanting to be “the hero winemaker” to a focus on just becoming a good farmer. Hoss’s holistic, ecological view of fostering a healthy farm ecosystem from which the best, most interesting wine can be made, leads us from some really important discussion about the soil microbiome through to expressing terroir by making a pet-nat infused with wormwood, hyssop, and yarrow. Along the way we find out the importance of promoting a fungal-dominant soil that recreates the forest floor from which vines evolved, how he uses different trees and herbs for different purposes in and around the vines, and how his adorable miniature sheep are vital to the entire ecosystem. Fertile nuggets of information, rich with wisdom, are scattered everywhere through this interview like sheep poop in a vineyorchard. You’re in for a treat. Hauksson Wine Sponsor: Contact Oom & Use referral code OWP Support this podcast via Patreon.

1h 11m
Feb 20
Special: Is The Term ”New World” Problematic?

This is a special episode in which I ask the question: Why hasn’t the wine industry term “New World” gone the way of other problematic terms like “Oriental”? For a while now, something about the use of the term “New World” has grated on me. As someone who lives and makes wine in one of the myriad parts of the world described by this term, I couldn’t help but notice how different are the cultures within this term and yet how homogenous is the “wine” culture. This term began to bother me more and more. It makes most of the world of wine referential and derivative. It makes us imitators. In truth, I think it makes us colonial subjects. Not of a political power, but of an idea: the global colonial monoculture known as “wine.” I think it’s time we stop using the term “New World” (and “Old World” for that matter). I think it’s time we create a new world of wine. I’m also thrilled to introduce you to a great new service that can significantly reduce the wine industry’s carbon footprint and waste: Oom Oom provides clean reused bottles for the wine industry, and as a sponsor of this podcast, if you use the referral code “OWP” when you contact them for your bottle order, you can support the Organic Wine Podcast. Contact Oom & Use referral code OWP Support this podcast via Patreon. Thank you for your support!

Feb 16
Tidal Bay, Haley Brown - The First & Only Appellation Wine In The Americas

My guest for this episode is Haley Brown, the Executive Director of Wine Growers Nova Scotia, and this is a very special episode for multiple reasons. First, believe it or not, this is the first episode of the Organic Wine Podcast about a specific region and wine that is made outside the borders of the United States. I know those of you not from the US are probably thinking “It’s about time!” And you’re not wrong, but I have been really intentional about this focus. I think change always starts locally, and also there’s a lot I think we need to change in the US. But I’m really excited to crack that international seal with Nova Scotia because they are doing something unique and brilliant with Tidal Bay wine. If this isn’t your first episode of the Organic Wine Podcast, you probably know that I want to bring an end to varietal labeling of wines. I stopped listing grape varieties on the wines I make with my winery Centralas as of the 2021 vintage, and I’ve been talking about the need to do away with our varietal obsession ever since. I think it turns wine into a commodity rather than a cultural process. It inhibits change and innovation, and it forces growers to conform to market trends rather than adapt to environmental conditions. And it has resulted in, as Haley mentions, 80% of the world’s wine being made from 20 varieties of grapes (all of which are a single species btw). Aside from the negative ecological effects of this global monoculture, it has also made wine incredibly boring (and then we wonder why sales are declining). But as the lone voice for how eliminating varietal labeling could benefit the entire wine industry, after a couple years of spreading this message I found that most people received this message with confusion at best, and at worst I was dismissed as that crazy guy from Los Angeles… which, you know, is fair to an extent. And as a self-critical kind of person, some pernicious doubts did begin to creep into my mind. But then, at the Vitinord conference in December, I discovered Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay is the first and only appellation wine in North or South America. That is, it is a wine that is made, branded, and sold as a reflection of place and culture without reliance on varietal labelling. And honestly, for the first of something, I think the Nova Scotians did something that needs no refinement. The way they have conceived of and structured Tidal Bay is brilliant. It’s flexible, inclusive, rigorous, reflective of their unique culture, and ensures high quality. After you listen to this, let me know if you can think of any way to improve on this idea, or why it couldn’t be implemented in any region where there are growers willing to participate. A big thanks to Haley for elucidating all of the details of Tidal Bay, and a big thanks to the Nova Scotian growers who have given us this incredible and successful example. Sponsor: Support this podcast via Patreon:

1h 2m
Feb 13
Greg Jones - Wine Climatologist & Abacela CEO

Greg Jones is my guest for this episode. Greg  is the CEO of Abacela winery in Oregon and is a  world-renowned wine climatologist. For over thirty years his research has firmly linked weather and climate with grapevine growth, fruit chemistry, and wine characteristics in regions all around the globe. His work was also one of the first to tie climate change to fundamental biological phenomena in vines and the resulting influences on productivity and quality. His groundbreaking work has informed and influenced the wine industry across the globe, and we talk about what it means to apply the science of climate change to growing wine. Oregon is unique in the wine world in that it is known to outsiders mostly for a single variety of grape – Pinot Noir. Abacela happens to be the first winery to plant Tempranillo in the pacific northwest, and Greg talks about how important it is to diversify and experiment, especially in response to the data of climate change. And he makes great points about the untapped genetic resources within just the single species of Vitis Vinifera. You can see Greg’s presentation on Wine and climate change from the VitiNord coference  at Sponsor: Support this podcast via Patreon:

1h 5m
Feb 06
Mike Appolo - No-Spray Vineyard in New Hampshire, Appolo Vineyards

My guest for this episode is Mike Appolo and he tells us all about how he is growing a no-spray vineyard in New Hampshire less than an hour from Boston. Yes, I said “no spray.” You may have heard it’s impossible. You may smugly reject the possibility of success. But Mike is growing wine grapes in New England without sprays and has been for over a decade at his estate winery Appolo Vineyards. Appolo Vineyards was just this month named the New Hampshire’s First Winery in the Sustainable Craft Beverage Recognition Program. After listening to this interview I think you’ll agree that it’s a well deserved honor. Mike is growing winegrapes in a place where summers are hot and humid, winters can be brutal, and wild turkeys are one of the birds that regularly eat your grapes. It’s also a place of beautiful wines. Listen closely to what Mike says, but also what’s behind what he says. There’s a something rock steady about Mike. He seems undaunted by the numerous challenges inherent in what he’s doing. I think this is guided in part by a humility and openness to learning, both from other vintners and from nature itself. Another part of this is valuing the legacy that he his building. It’s a legacy of valuing the health and life of his world over easy profit, and he’s showing that it’s not only possible, but delicious. Sponsor: Support this podcast via Patreon:

1h 18m
Jan 30
Aaron & Holly Puhala - Vineyard Innovations, Grape Breeding, and How to Support Your Local Grape Breeder

My guests for this episode are Aaron and Holly Puhala, the owners of Vineyard Innovations in Ohio. Aaron & Holly met in school where they both studied chemical engineering… this chemical romance blossomed into a life where they breed new varieties of grapes that the world has never seen before. They’ve been at this for 20 years now, and have a handful of varieties to share with the world, as well as some really great ideas about how to make grape breeding a profitable venture for more people. But I want to let their own words, from their website, serve as the introduction to this conversation: There is a quiet revolution happening in the world of wine. Growers everywhere are facing the realities of a changing climate and considering replacing their established wine grape varieties with others that are more suited to the challenges of modern viticulture. At the same time, consumers facing a sea of sameness are seeking out new and exciting wines crafted by artisans with a passionate focus on creating quality wines with authenticity of place. Perhaps never before has the table been set more perfectly for the emergence of new grape varieties that answer the needs and desires of both winegrower and consumer. At Vineyard Innovations we create new wine grape varieties having resistance to the extremes of climate and disease pressure that are perfectly suited to sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticultural practices. Exciting aroma and flavor combinations are paving the way for the emergence of iconic wines that will open the door to the exploration of new terroirs that today are unreachable! Welcome to a New World of Wine! Podcast website: If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page Thank you! Sponsor: Centralas Wine

1h 35m
Jan 23
Isabelle Legeron - RAW Natural Wine

My guest for this episode is Isabelle Legeron. Isabelle is the founder of the RAW Wine Festival, which, if you haven’t heard of it, is the premier natural wine festival on the planet. She’s also the author of the book Natural Wine: An Introduction to Organic and Biodynamic Wines Made Naturally.  Isabelle’s career is dedicated to promoting the same farming-first wine culture that I want to cultivate with the Organic Wine Podcast, so she was a natural choice for the 100th episode. This episode starts with some personal revelations from both of us about why we do what we do. We talk about how Isabelle tries to avoid dogma and debate about the winemaking that happens in the cellar, and focuses instead on the need for organic farming to be the greatest priority in natural wine. I challenge Isabelle about some of the limitations of natural wine, as well as her take on blind tasting, natural washing, and the benefits of participation in the RAW festival. Isabelle is a champion of vignerons who take the risks inherent in farming and winemaking without chemicals. She forged a space for these folks in the wine world and really created a home for natural winemakers when they were misfits and outcasts from the mainstream. Now that natural wine is a bit more mainstream, and perhaps a bit diluted with bandwagoners, she continues to insist on a foundation in beautiful, chemical free farming that stewards the natural world and honors its beauty. In her words, natural wine is a “gorgeous translation of what nature is capable of” and that’s why she continues to love and promote it. If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page Thank you! Sponsor: Centralas Wine

1h 16m
Jan 17
Randall Grahm - Popelouchum & Is Terroir Real?

My guest for this episode is Randall Grahm. If you haven’t heard of him, Randall was New California about 20 years before the wave of New California winemakers. Young winemakers now who have never heard of him are just quote unquote discovering and trying things he did in the 1990s. Alternative packaging? Randall was one of the first advocates in America for the screw cap and staged The Funeral for the Cork at Grand Central Station in NYC in 2002. This elaborate event included a buick hearse, a casket with a full sized corpse made of corks, and a eulogy by Jancis Robinson. Alternative and obscure grape Varieties in the US? Randall was the original Rhone Ranger and appeared on the cover of Wine Spectator dressed as the Lone Ranger, with a horse, in 1989. With his winery, Bonny Doon, he helped introduce and popularize the Rhone varieties of grapes that we take for granted now. At its height, Bonny Doon was one of the largest wineries in America. In 1991 an asteroid was named “Rhoneranger” in his honor. In addition to crafting some other big brands, like Big House Red and Cardinal Zin, he continues to promote obscure and overlooked grape varieties, as you’ll hear in this interview. Randall was an early proponent of ingredient labeling on wine bottles, as well as biodynamic farming. In 1994 He was proclaimed the Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year by the James Beard Foundation, and in 2010 the Culinary Institute of America inducted him into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame. In addition to being a very entertaining disruptor of the wine industry, Randall is an incredibly thoughtful winemaker and writer, and one of his guiding principles has been the pursuit of terroir. In this interview we dig into terroir and “wines of place,” attempting to determine if it is actually a helpful or beneficial concept, or if it is even real. Randall explains how he is testing a few new theories about terroir at his estate vineyard project, Popelouchum, in San Juan Bautista, where he’s growing myriad varieties of grapes, many from seed. And we discuss his partnership with Gallo on The Language of Yes project. I hope this will make you want to learn more about Randall Grahm. Enjoy! If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Thank you! Sponsor:

Jan 09
Dr. Dave Johnston - Bats & Vineyard Ecology

For this episode I got to interview a real life super hero – The Bat Man. Dr. Dave Johnston is an Adjunct Associate Wildlife Ecologist and Bat Biologist at H. T. Harvey & Associates. Dave is a vertebrate ecologist who specializes in the foraging ecology and conservation biology of bats. He has studied bats for over 30 years and for the past 15 years he has focused on renewable energy and transportation projects in California and Hawaii. He also has ongoing research projects involving the foraging ecology of bats in California, Mexico, Belize, and more recently, in Costa Rica where he currently resides. Dr. Johnston is a hobby winemaker who started making wine as a student at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo. Dr. Johnston describes the many ways bats are vital to our ecology generally, and to wine production specifically. As he explains how unique and diverse bats are, I think you’ll find yourself falling in love with bats, not only because of their importance to the ecology of wine but because they are such amazing creatures that we mostly overlook. In addition to learning about some of the threats to bats – including pesticides and wind turbines – we learn how to attract bats to our vineyards and orchards, which we definitely want to do, and we learn what kinds of bats eat leaf hoppers, vineyard moths, Japanese beetles, and more. And you’re going to hear some fascinating things about the altruism of vampire bats, scorpion eating bats, and flowers that evolved as night blooming satellite dishes for echo-locating bats to pollinate them. Join me on this nocturnal expedition to find out who is tending your vines while you sleep. If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page: Thank you! Sponsor:

1h 21m
Jan 02
Tara Gomez & Mireia Taribó - Camins 2 Dreams

My guests for this episode are Tara Gomez and Mireia Taribó of Camins 2 Dreams winery in Lompoc, California. In some partnerships one person will have the greater passion for or experience with wine, while business or marketing savvy may be the forte of the other partner. In Tara and Mireia’s case there are two partners who caught the winemaking bug early in life and have spent their entire lives, both apart and together, learning about and gaining experience in winemaking… and both contribute their depth of knowledge to the wines of Camins 2 Dreams. What I’m trying to say is that it just isn’t fair how delicious their wines are! Mireia is from Barcelona and grew up steeped in Spanish wine culture. She has multiple undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chemistry, Enology, Viticulture and all things wine. She met Tara while the two of them were working at J Lohr in Paso Robles. Mireia then hired Tara to help her when she got a job making wine in the Pyrennee Mountains for several years. Tara and Mireia are two of my local heroes, based in Lompoc in Santa Barbara County, sourcing grapes from some of the same Santa Rita Hills vineyards that I’ve used for Centralas wines. But it’s important for those of you who aren’t locals to understand that these areas – now part of the Santa Barbara wine country – are the traditional lands of the Chumash tribe, which included much of the central and southern California coast from Mailbu to Paso Robles. Camins 2 Dreams is actually the label for Kalawashaq’ Wine Cellars (named for the village where Tara’s Chumash ancestors once lived) After J. Lohr, Tara started and made wine for her Chumash tribe under Kita Wines. She is the first recognized Native American winemaker, and made Kita the first winery to be run solely by its Native American tribe with fruit from their own lands. Tara was VinePair’s winemaker of the year in 2021. Tara and Mireia started Camins 2 Dreams out of their shared love for wine, winemaking and each other, and I’m honored to share their story with you. If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page: Thank you! Sponsor:

1h 10m
Dec 26, 2022
Steven Thompson - Analemma Wines, Aesthetic Farming

My guest for this episode is Steven Thompson of Analemma. Analemma is a winery located in the Columbia Gorge AVA in the Columbia River Valley in Oregon. Steven views himself as a vigneron, with a holistic perspective that sees winemaking as a year round process that begins in the vineyard. Steven and the Anamlemma team have practiced biodynamic, regenerative farming since its inception and the entire farm has been certified as a biodynamic orgnaism since 2017. I think you’ll love Steven’s soulful approach to farming that sees the interconnectedness of each aspect of an ecosystem. We dig into the seldom discussed aspect of farm aesthetics, and how important it is to farm beautifully, not just ecologically. Steven talks about a unique way that they approach terroir at Analemma by interplanting and creating a sort of vineyard infusion. And we discuss his process for making pied de cuves for starting fermentations naturally. Steven reminded me that we can create a wine culture that is more than just functionally ecological, and commercially sustainable. We can create something that is beautiful, that feeds our soul, and that creates the same kind of same kind of sensory pleasure in the farm that we expect in the glass. Special thanks: Chiara Shannon If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page: Thank you! Sponsor:

1h 7m
Dec 19, 2022
Max Paschall - Vitiforestry & The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe

My guest for this episode is Max Paschall. Max owns Shelterwood Forest Farm and wrote the article The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe, a deeply researched piece on the polycultures that included grapes and wine and covered much of Europe for thousands of years. Max talks about why these agriculture systems were so resilient, and why they've been marginalized by modern agriculture. Topics covered include: Assisted migration of species, The spirit of trees, communication and intent, What a plant knows, Arboretum America, Lost forest gardens of Europe, the Temple of Diana in Rome and what that has to do with the need to be brave with our viticulture, Provignage – Layering and vineyard superorganisms, and of course Growing vines in trees. If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page: Thank you! Sponsor: Show links:

1h 34m
Dec 12, 2022
Laurel Marcus - Climate Adaptation for Vineyards & Fish Friendly Farming

My guest for this episode is Laurel Marcus. Laurel is the Executive Director of the California Land Stewardship Institute based in Napa, California, which administers the Fish Friendly Farming and Climate Adaptation Certifications for vineyards and other farmers. Among her many responsibilities, Laurel works with farmers to conduct studies and gather data on farming practices that prevent erosion, preserve soil moisture, increase soil organic matter, and sequester carbon. Her findings provide some conclusive evidence about best practices, as well as eliminate green washing and carbon washing by showing that there are nuances and conditional dependencies for almost every scenario. Some of the important things we discuss include how soil type and conditions, as well as the type of soil microbe populations, can impact carbon sequestration. And we discuss her findings about how dry farming and no-till systems affect these conditions, as well as some of the realities and misunderstandings about competition between cover crops and vines. Also, Laurel digs into the seldom discussed topic of how the use of mineral nitrogen, rather than compost, and soil conditions can increase the production of nitrous oxide – the most potent  greenhouse gas… about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This is an incredibly information rich interview and provides many practical resources – including funding resources – for how to do wine better. Laurel shows how careful we have to be, in the frenzy to do good, to not think that there are one size fits every situation bumper sticker solutions to our problems. This conversation has inspired me to look even more deeply at these issues, and I hope it does the same for you. If you'd like to support this podcast, please subscribe on the Organic Wine Podcast Patreon page: Thank you! Sponsor: Show links:    

1h 0m
Dec 05, 2022
Ryland Engelhart - Kiss The Ground, Regenerative Wine

My guest for this episode is Ryland Englehart. Ryland co-founded Kiss the Ground in 2013 and leads the organization as Executive Director, producer of the Kiss the Ground film, and host of the Kiss the Ground Podcast. As a 15-year entrepreneur, he is also the co-owner and prior Mission Fulfilment Officer of the nationally recognized plant-based restaurants, Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre, located here in Southern California. And so much more. I met Ryland at a vineyard in Santa Barbara that has been purchased for the express purpose of converting it from a conventional and extractive form of viticulture to a regenerative organic ranch. The occasion of our meeting was a fundraiser for Kiss the Ground, the organization. If you haven’t seen the film documentary Kiss The Ground I can’t recommend it enough. It’s the movie that introduced regenerative agriculture to over 10 million viewers worldwide. If you’re a Netflix subscriber you can watch it tonight. Let me speak plainly: regardless of what kind of agriculture you’re in, whether it’s viticulture, pommeculture, or otherwise, regenerative agriculture is the best solution to industrial agriculture’s degradation of our environment, If you’re wondering what exactly regenerative agriculture is, Ryland gives a great explanation right at the beginning. Ryland may be regenerative agriculture’s biggest spokesperson. And in this conversation he talks about wine’s unique ability to communicate the story and benefits of regenerative agriculture. There’s something infectiously hopeful about listening to Ryland speak. He is brutally honest about the realities we face, but he also has a long view perspective that is rare. He’s at the center of a growing global movement that is heading in the right direction. And it’s hard not to come away feeling that he’s just a spokesperson for the earth and vines and plants themselves. Support: Sponsor:

1h 11m
Nov 28, 2022
Mark Shepard - Restoration Agriculture & Growing GrapeVines In Trees

My guest for this episode is Mark Shepard. I’m so excited to share this conversation with you because Mark has a perspective on viticulture and agriculture in general that is revolutionary… while also being incredibly common sensical. He’s as funny as he is passionate and that passion comes from wanting to share an incredibly important message not only for producing wine, but also for our survival. Mark is the author of Restoration Agriculture which is a top 10 Amazon best seller in multiple categories. Restoration agriculture is his term for ecomimicry permaculture or multi-story perennial polyculture using what thrives naturally in your ecosystems. He practices this at scale on his 110 acre New Forest Farm in Wisconsin, and on several other properties, and he provides agricultural consulting around the planet. One of the quotes from his book that stood out to me is when he is talking about our conventional, monoculture approach, and says, “We have created the conditions under which pests and diseases thrive, while almost completely ceasing the improvement of the crops’ own resistance to the threats we have created.” This is so true in wine, where we have a global monoculture of a handful of European grapes that have been propagated by cloning for two hundred years or more. And in the last 50 years we’ve spent literally billions of dollars developing chemicals to enable these clones to survive, while investing very little in breeding new varieties that don’t need the chemicals… or in expanding the idea of wine to include other ingredients besides European grapes. Mark doesn’t spray his fruit, whether it’s apples or cherries or chestnuts or grapevines, he employs a kind of vitiforestry, and his approach to agriculture illuminates some incredible perspective shifts in how we could think about growing grapevines differently… as well as how we could think about wine differently… as one symbiotic element in a holistic perennial polyculture. Support the Organic Wine Podcast: Sponsor:

1h 14m
Nov 21, 2022
Why Wine Is Important - Special Episode

This is episode is something a little different, and it’s sponsored by Centralas Wine. Centralas is my winery and the first chapter  of this two chapter episode is a recording I made while driving around los angeles, as we angelenos are wont to do, so I apologize for the quality. But the content is pretty fun. The context is that I’ve stopped listing grape varieties on the labels for the wines I make and sell through Centralas. Since I made that decision, I’ve become hyper aware of how important grape varieties have become as handles that we think we need to understand a wine. It is literally the first thing people ask when I present one of our wines. This has led to some pretty interesting discussions and even debates. But Rather than make me think I made a mistake in not listing varieties, I’m more committed than ever to being the lone voice, if need be, calling for an end to our varietal obsession. I’m actually pretty convinced we’ve all been brain-washed by the global capitalist monoculture into thinking that knowing the variety of grape is necessary to understand a wine. So there you go… that should set up Chapter one as a fun and somewhat funny take on varietal labeling. And chapter two, while very different, is very symbiotic. It’s called Why Wine is Important, and I think you’ll be a bit surprised at the answer I give, because I try to answer that question from a different perspective so to speak. And that perspective is really the same perspective that chapter one comes from. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave it at that. Support the Organic Wine Podcast: Episode Sponsor:

Nov 14, 2022
Paul Dolan - A Conversation About Regenerative Organic Wine

My guest for this episode is Paul Dolan. Paul Dolan has always been a pioneer leading the industry towards a more sustainable future.  While a winemaker and then president at Fetzer, Paul proved to the California wine industry that wineries and grape growers can preserve and enhance their environment, strengthen their communities, and enrich the lives of their employees without sacrificing the bottom line.  He introduced Bonterra, the first nationally distributed wine made with 100 percent organic grapes, placing Fetzer at the forefront of organic viticulture.  Paul’s experiences at Fetzer led him to publish “True to Our Roots- Fermenting a Business Revolution” that set forth the simple but powerful management principles that enabled Fetzer to become one of America’s best- known wineries and an exemplar of sustainable business practices. Through his leadership at the California Wine Institute, Paul introduced the Code of Sustainable Wine Growing and chaired the Institute from 2006 – 2007.  He also served on President Clinton’s Council on Sustainability, Businesses for Social Responsibility, and The Climate Group, was Chairman of the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance, and received the Environmental Business Leader of the Year Award from the California Planning and Conservation League in 2006. Paul has become a spokesman for and practitioner of regenerative winegrowing. He serves on the board of the Regenerative Organic Alliance, and farms his family-owned Dark Horse Ranch as a multi-faceted certified Biodynamic® vineyard and regenerative farm, and is a founding partner of Truett-Hurst Winery. He is constantly seeking to enhance his understanding of the restorative capacity of the soil and the farm, and its relationship to the restoration of the health of the planet’s ecosystems.  Sponsor:      

Oct 31, 2022
Stuart Byles - Los Angeles Wine, A History from the Mission Era to the Present

Los Angeles was once known as the City of Vines. Vineyards stretched for thousands of acres over a rolling landscape at the foot of the towering mountains. The river wound a shady, tree-lined course through verdant alluvial plains, watered by frequent floods. French and Spanish were spoken as commonly as English, if not more so. And wine was the biggest business and export of this colonial burg, enough wine to quench the thirst of an entire nation. My guest for this episode is Stuart Byles. Stuart is the author of Los Angeles Wine: A History from the Mission Era to the Present so of course that’s what we talk about. As a Los Angeleno myself, I take a little bit of pride in knowing that Los Angeles was the center of wine in America for pretty much the entire 19th century. There are some amazing characters and stories from this time, and we just scratch the surface. In addition to his book, we talk about some of the ecology of Los Angeles, and one of my heros – Biddy Mason – even though she wasn’t really connected to the wine business. And we also talk about the potential now for infill vineyard establishment in urban spaces under power lines. I actually met Stuart at a wine tasting under some powerlines in South Central LA at the Willowbrook Community Garden. Thanks to Ned Teitelbaum and Rose Pinkney and the other members of the Willowbrook Community Garden, I got to be part of a fun afternoon of education and wine tasting there. They have planted a small vineyard of head-trained mission grapes in a section of the Willowbrook Garden and are helping to revive Los Angeles’s wine history. So a big thanks to them for what they are doing and for the introduction to Stuart. Now, a huge caveat has to be made in that we are talking about the arrival and growth of the European wine culture that we’ve inherited centered around vinifera. We mention this in our conversation, but it bears repeating that there were of course indigenous grapes and people here long before the Spanish missionaries arrived, and the fermentation of local fruits into a diverse array of wines is as old as these pre-colonial cultures. In fact it was the thriving native grapevines along the Los Angeles river that probably gave the first Europeans hope that their vinifera would do well here. Our focus on this recent history of Los Angeles wine is in no way meant to downplay the importance of our pre-colonial history, just as the fact that we focus on wine is in no way meant to downplay the importance of oil, for example, to the ecology and economy of Los Angeles. This is just the narrow focus for this episode. In fact I hope that our narrow focus on this slice of history opens your eyes to the many, many fascinating histories there are to explore. Sponsor:

1h 3m
Oct 18, 2022
Adam Huss - Centralas Wine, Crenshaw Cru, and the Organic Wine Podcast

Guest Interviewer Chiara Shannon (@theyogisommelier interviews the creator and producer of the Organic Wine Podcast, Adam Huss. Adam talks about what he is doing with wine and vines in South Los Angeles with his winery Crenshaw Cru and his estate urban polyculture winegarden Crenshaw Cru. Some of the things that we talk about include: how viticulture is actually a form of agroforestry, how my urban polyculture winegarden known as Crenshaw Cru embodies a vision for the future of wine, how embracing local indigenous fruit can grow a diverse, resilient, and colorful wine culture, how human culture is part of your vineyard, and how all of this results from the revolutionary ecological approach to wine that makes our current wine culture seem completely backwards.

Oct 10, 2022
RAS Wines - Sparkling Wine from Maine Wild Blueberries

In this episode I get to talk to the co-founders and winemakers for RAS Wines - Dan Roche, Joe Appel and Emily Smith. Dan, Joe, and Emily make a dry sparkling wine from Maine wild blueberries, and we talk about some of the incredible aspects of this unique wine culture. Maine wild blueberries are one of the few fruits indigenous to and perfectly suited to the challenging terroir of Maine. Even though they occur naturally – thus the “wild” aspect – they are actively tended as a commercial crop. I’m fascinated by this kind of agriculture which shows a way that we humans can integrate with natural ecosystems and be instrumental to their health and vitality, while also using them to support our own health and survival. Working with and selling wine made from a fruit that isn’t grapes and for which consumers have many preconceptions, has given Dan, Joe, and Emily some profound insights into wine in general. They want us to ask ourselves: Is what we think we know about wine actually limiting our experience of it? They have realized how much we need to unlearn, and are part of a domestic wine scene that is locally based, resourceful, creative, as diverse as the land they make wine from, and the most exciting part of wine today, I think. As they say, we don’t expect wine made from Cabernet Franc to taste like a grape, so why do we have different expectations for blueberries? I’m excited to share these winemakers with you and the unique world of Maine wild blueberries that they are helping to share through their wine. Sponsor:

1h 19m
Oct 03, 2022
Kelly Mulville - Regenerative Grazing-Based Viticulture at Paicines Ranch

Kelly Mulville’s life has been guided by an awe and respect for the natural world and a deep appreciation for its beauty. This led him to want to learn how to farm in a way that protected or enhanced the natural world, and made him a better listener and observer of what made ecosystems work. Through his years of farming he has attempted to answer the question of how we can turn agriculture from one of the most destructive forces on the planet into the method we can use to repair that damage and restore biodiversity and health to ecosystems? Kelly’s journey has led him to test various kinds of grazing-based viticulture in many contexts throughout the west and south-west US, and to ultimately build a vineyard system that incorporates animals year round in central California at Paicines Ranch. The work he is doing is laying the foundation for what I think will be the future of viticulture, and Kelly lays out the vision and principles that guide it. Kelly is working with vinifera that he basically doesn’t have to spray because of the system he has implemented and his attention to soil health, biodiversity, and amazing new findings around SAP brix analysis that is revolutionizing our understanding of how we can prevent insect pest issues. We get into the details of the Watson trellising system he uses now to create a kind of vine forest rather than a vineyard, as well as how to potentially integrate sheep year round into an existing VSP trellis system, ground squirrel management, the ecology of birds in viticultural and agricultural systems, and the amazing return of an endangered species for which his vineyard is helping to provide desirable habitat. If you haven’t heard of Kelly Mulville, or the work he’s doing at Paicines Ranch, this is potentially revolutionary stuff. I could not be more impressed with Kelly’s humble, passionate, and compassionate approach to viticulture. He grounds everything he does in science and real, detailed data, because he sees everything he has accomplished so far as just the beginning, and he wants others to be able to learn from and build upon this work to do even better. Sponsor:

1h 28m
Sep 27, 2022
Nicole Dooling & Michael Frey - Dirt & Mariah Vineyards, The World’s First Savory Institute Global Land To Market Verified Regenerative Vineyard

My guests for this episode are Nicole Dooling and Michael Frey. Nicole and Michael helped transition Nicole’s parents’ mountain top vineyard in Medocino into the first ever Savory Institute Global Land To Market Verified regenerative vineyard in the world. We talk in depth about the Land to Market cerification, which is results based, rather than process based like most other certifications, and takes most of the work of certification off the farmer’s to do list. And we talk about Nicole and Michael helped convince her parents, the Doolings, to make this transition after 40 years of pouring their hearts and souls into Mariah Vineyards, with a lot of respect and commitment to the economic as well as the ecological success of the farm. This generational transition and how to navigate it is vital to regenerative agriculture, and this conversation has some amazing insights into it. There are some important new ideas including how to be regenerative as a winemaker or consumer even if you don’t do any farming personally, perspective shifts about transitioning to a nature based style of farming that may have a slightly more wild and messy aesthetic, and we mention several great resources mentioned for everyone interested in learning or doing more. And Nicole and Michael leave us with a challenge that if you claim to be regenerative, then show it with quantified results. Sponsor:

1h 23m
Sep 20, 2022
Justine Belle Lambright - Kalche Wine Worker Cooperative Making Hybrid Space Juice

My guest for this episode is Justine Belle Lambright of Kalche Wine. Together with Kathline Chery and Grace Meyer, Justine has founded Kalche as a worker cooperative. If you’re wondering what it would mean for a winery to be built as a worker owned business, that’s exactly what we talk about in this episode. Justine goes into detail about what is involved in setting up and running a winery as a worker cooperative. Because of the hard work they have already put in with their co-owners, Justine is able to give us almost a step-by-step how-to that includes many of the strengths and weaknesses, challenges and opportunities, as well as giving some great reasons why you might want to do this as well. If you’re sick of Big Wine, if you envision a more equitable way of running a winery, if you want a business that is run democratically, if you want to think of people as humans rather than as human resources, if you think business should serve human needs rather than the other way around, then this conversation is for you.  Justine not only breaks down the details of how we might go about setting up our own worker cooperative, they also offer further resources and lifelines to provide practical help and information to anyone actually undertaking this kind of human-centered business building. And we talk about Kalche’s Hybrid Space Juice and make a strong case for why American hybrid grapes need to be included in the mainstream of the wine current wherever it’s coming from. Justine reads a poem, we meditate on death and consider a cosmic perspective on ourselves, and generally have a really fun, informative conversation. Sponsor:

1h 3m
Sep 12, 2022
Part 2 - How To Make Clean, Delicious Natural Wine

Thank you to everyone who responded to the first episode about how to make clean, delicious natural wine. Your feedback was both encouraging and helpful. It became clear that there was a desire for this kind of information, and that there were things I needed to further explain from part 1.  This is a technical, detailed explanation of some of the important aspects of making wine naturally. If you haven't listened to part 1, this one will make a lot more sense if you do. Included in this part 2 episode are further discussions of optimal temperature and pH ranges for fermentation, everything you wanted to know about racking wine - when, how, how often, and why - and a comprehensive discussion of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in wine and how to avoid and manage it, and many other aspects of natural winemaking.  Enjoy! Sponsor:

Sep 09, 2022
Erin Rasmussen - American Wine Project

My guest for this episode is Erin Rasmussen. Erin has made wine in Napa and on New Zealand, where she also completed graduate studies in winemaking and viticulture at Lincoln University. She took this transnational, transcontinental wine experience and returned to her childhood home of Wisconsin, where she founded the American Wine Project in 2018. With The American Wine Project Erin explores the American grape varieties adapted to her beautiful corner of Wisconsin. Erin is innovative, applying a natural approach to winemaking informed by her breadth of experience in other, very different wine regions, to make some very exciting wines in her cold climate. I had such a fun time picking Erin’s brain that I forgot to have her introducer herself and the American Wine Project until the end, so this is a slightly topsy turvy conversation that covers a lot of ground with truffles of delicious insight buried throughout. Erin shares some unique findings relating to whole cluster fermentations and stem inclusion to manage both pH and tannins in American varieties of grapes. We talk about many different facets of sweet wine, including how it’s made, what its purpose is, and why we shouldn’t be prejudiced against is. She crushes my ill-informed dream of holding a Judgement of Paris for hybrids. And she shows so many reasons, both explicitly and implicitly, why American grapes are the future… and really are already the present. I’m sure you’ll quickly be as impressed as I was with Erin’s brilliance and great sense of humor… There are as many laughs as perspective shifting ideas throughout this fun interview. Enjoy! Sponsor:

1h 41m
Sep 06, 2022
Anne Biklé & David R. Montgomery - How To Heal Our Soil, Improve Our Wine, and Save Ourselves

For this episode I have the pleasure of talking with two of my favorite authors on soil and our utter dependence on it, Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery   David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington.  He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies.  His work has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, TV, and radio including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered.    Anne Biklé is a science writer and public speaker focusing on the connections between people, plants, food, health, and the environment.  She has been known to coax garden plants into rambunctious growth and nurse them back from the edge of death with her regenerative gardening practices.  Her work has appeared in digital and print magazines, newspapers, and radio and her gardening practices have been featured in independent and documentary films.    Anne and David are married and live in Seattle, WA.  Their work includes What Your Food Ate: How to Heal Our Land and Reclaim Our Health, and a trilogy of books about soil health, microbiomes, and farming—Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, The Hidden Half of Nature, and Growing a Revolution.   These books are not only about soil but about agriculture, our food system, human health and survival and the climate… and, perhaps shockingly, they provide ample evidence for a way forward that provides solutions to the problems we face in all of these areas… dare I say they provide hope? And, even more importantly, he says sarcastically, they provide ample evidence for how to farm grapes in a better way to make more delicious wine.  Sponsor:

1h 16m
Aug 29, 2022