Mark Aselstine
 
August 21, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Randall Grahm, Bonny Doon & What's Next for a Pioneer

As an industry, I think giving out what seem like lifetime achievement awards is a dangerous practice, after all for consumers, what someone has done in the past is only relevent in terms of what they might do in the future.  That being said, Randall Grahm has shown a pretty amazing ability to reinvent himself over the years both in terms of winemaking style, but also the very types of wines that he's making.  He also didn't locate himself in Napa, or Sonoma, instead he helped to put the Santa Cruz Mountains on the map and his tasting room location some ten miles north of Santa Cruz, helps to show that great wine anywhere, will be found.

Hi, I'm Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. I think the most interesting
thing to come across my desk early on this morning was a Mercury News
article
which is up here in the Bay Area about Randall Graham who is quite
famously the wine maker and the owner of Bonny Doon Vineyards.

If you're not familiar the name, in some way you probably should be. He was
the original Rhone Ranger in many ways. He, in essence, has put the Santa
Cruz Mountains onto the map along with Reg and a few others, but he
was also one of the first to really believe in Syrah and to make a
conscious and concerted effort to find cool climate vineyards.

If you travel up the coast from Santa Cruz into the city of San Francisco,
you'll pass Bonny Doon Road. So, you know, everybody loves the guy. And so
he's talking now about creating some more customized plantings, even
working with people that you see, Davis and some other researchers, into
how grapes grow and how they multiply into creating some new grape
varieties.

It's all really exciting stuff, and I think it's a good example of some
people no matter how long we've been in the industry if they're innovative
in 1980, they're oftentimes innovative in 2014. And frankly, it's something
that I'm really interested in.

And I also have a lot of respect for the guy because I know he's helped out
a lot of young wine makers. William Allen at Two Shepherds I know has gotten
a lot of help from Randall over the years both in selecting vineyard sites
to be as cool as possible. The Sara Lee Vineyard in Sonoma comes straight
to mind, but also kind of in his winemaking process and how do you really
truly go about making low alcohol wines in California. It's not the easiest
thing to do.

So in any case, that's kind of what's coming across the desk on Bonny Doon.
If you're interested in tasting a little bit of California history, it's a
good place to look.

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