Wine writer + expert Elaine Chukan Brown speaks with Randall Grahm, Founder and Winemaker, Bonny Doon Vineyard. Elaine and Randall discuss Randall’s career as an innovator and his role in building the reputation of Rhône varieties in California and the age-worthy quality of the wines they create. They also explore Randall’s most recent pivot: moving on from Rhône varieties to an experimental landscape of new grape varieties with his “Popelouchum” project.
Featured wines of this episode are:
2005 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant, California
2018 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant, "Cuvée Oumuamua,” Monterey County
With a degree in Plant Sciences from the University of California at Davis and a keen appreciation for wine, Randall purchased Bonny Doon Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Initially intent on producing Pinot Noir, he changed course with experimental batches of Rhône varieties and since then has been a tireless champion of Rhône grapes. In 2010, he purchased a 400-acre property near San Juan Bautista, named Popelouchum, where he plans to breed 10,000 new grape varieties there and perhaps produce a true New World vin de terroir. Randall has a long list of achievements, including Who’s Who of Cooking in America (1991), Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year by the James Beard Foundation (1994), and Culinary Institute of America Vintner’s Hall of Fame (2010). He is author of “Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology.”
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