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Steve Matthiasson has been changing the landscape of California's wine industry for 25 years. A punkrock-gardener who settled in Napa Valley during the 90's "Bigger is Better" escapade, Steve looked around, shook his head, and... Read More
Steve Matthiasson has been changing the landscape of California's wine industry for 25 years. A punkrock-gardener who settled in Napa Valley during the 90's "Bigger is Better" escapade, Steve looked around, shook his head, and began to make things better.In the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting, California wines beat France at its own game. But California viticulture had changed drastically in the years since, and the new farming had changed the wines. Extreme ripeness and high yields were the goals, instead of terroir and finesse--and all sorts of manipulations made it happen. Growers wasted California's precious water irrigating 100-year-old dry-farmed vineyards. Fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides carpet bombed anything that was left.Something needed to be done. And Steve led the charge.Dubbed California's Godfather of Sustainable Viticulture, after he wrote the literal manual in 1999, Steve moved into consulting. The needle--slowly--started moving back towards balance, both in the environment and the wines themselves. And Steve rose to the very top of his field, managing legendary estates like Araujo and Stag's Leap Vineyards. But he and his wife, Jill, wanted to make their own wines. Control the process from the ground up. And they kicked it off in 2003.The resulting wines are not only compelling, they're illuminating. Hundreds of little decisions in the vineyards, subtle tweaks on everything from cover crops to canopy management, result in fruit that expresses its site beautifully. He truly crafts his wines in the vineyard.These are wines, like the classics of California's Golden Age, inspired by the great wines of Europe but not beholden to them. They are not replicas. Steve uses what's at hand--sunshine and wind, hot days and cold nights, pioneer knowledge that was lost, and newfound techniques--to make something new and timeless. Matthiasson wines posses the California Magic, a thing found nowhere but here.