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1WineDude Radio Episode 5: Stu Smith’s Quest to Debunk Biodynamics

Vinted on January 25, 2011 under 1WineDude Radio, interviews

Offering the counterpoint to last week’s discussion of Biodynamic viticulture with consultant Alan York, we continue the coverage of Biodynamics by talking to its most vocal critic in the U.S.: Smith-Madrone’s Stu Smith, who, aside from making some very tasty conventionally-farmed wines in Northern CA, is the author of the controversial blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax – the title of which pretty much tells you where Stu stands when it comes to the debate on BioD.

In our podcast interview, Stu braves being under-the-weather to talk about why he felt the need to create his anti-BioD blog, explain why BioD might not be as beneficial to the environment as you might think, all while we alternatively compare Biodynamics to religion, the autism / child vaccination debate, and the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars (roughly in that order).

It’s a fun and controversial listen, and I hope to discuss and debate several aspects of it with you all in the comments.  Get those headphones ready and Buckle up for this ride!

Cheers!

1WineDude Radio Episode 5: Stu Smith Talks Biodynamics

1WineDude Radio Episode 4: Talking Biodynamics with International Viticulture Consultant Alan York

Vinted on January 18, 2011 under 1WineDude Radio, interviews

In the latest podcast installment here on 1WineDude.com, I interview Alan York, an international consultant on Biodynamic viticulture and farming, who I met last year when visiting Benziger (one of Alan’s clients).

Alan is probably best known as the consultant who is overseeing the Biodynamics conversion of mega rock star Sting’s vineyard area in Tuscany.

Despite being fully immersed into the world of Biodynamics, Alan has a pretty laid-back, live-and-let-live approach to BioD farming in general.  Except when it comes to talking about all-out attacks on BioD, particularly winemaker Stu Smith’s blog Biodynamics Is A Hoax.

Alan talks to me about his work with Sting, his views on the differences between Organically- and Biodynamically-farmed wines, how to explain Biodynamics to the layperson, and explains why he’s flummoxed that Biodynamics would come under attack in the first place (though he certainly acknowledges its inherent strangeness).

It should be another fun opportunity to discuss an always hot-button, powder-keg topic on the virtual pages of 1WD.

Next week… I interview Stu Smith himself to get the opposing viewpoint.  Stay tuned…

Cheers!

1WineDude Radio: International Consultant Alan York Talks Biodynamics

1WineDude Radio: The Maynard James Keenan Interview

Vinted on December 20, 2010 under 1WineDude Radio, best of, interviews

In the (second to be recorded but third to be released) installment of my podcast thang, I interview Grammy-winning and platinum-album-selling artist Maynard James Keenan – who most will identify as the front man for TOOL, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, but wine geeks will also know as the founder and fledgling winemaker of Arizona’s Caduceus Cellars.

Maynard’s entry into the wine world was the focus of the film Blood Into Wine, and my personal take is that he’s onto something in AZ – and is not without talent in the winemaking department.

He’s also not without a sense of dedication, and certainly not afraid of learning things the hard way – that’s an aspect of his personality that comes through crystal clear in the course of this interview.

One could certainly be forgiven, after listening to this podcast, for developing the impression that Maynard is pretty (maybe too?) low-key for a rock star front man; but there’s no way you’re going to think his winemaking career is a superficial attempt to slap his name on a vanity project. If you’re a betting person, you’d best bet that Maynard is in the wine biz for the long haul – and while he may be a famous hard-rock icon, he views his early attempts at winemaking as a passionate and humble beginner.

Having said that… he’s at no shortage of strong opinions about how wine should be made!

Cheers, and enjoy!

1WineDude Radio: The Maynard James Keenan Interview

1WineDude Radio: The James Suckling Interview

Vinted on December 14, 2010 under 1WineDude Radio, interviews

Technically, this is actually Episode Three of my podcasts, but they’re running out of order.  Because I feel like it.

Anyway, my strong suspicion is that today’s interview with James Suckling (formerly, of course, from Wine Spectator) is going to generate a lot of discussion.  Like Robert Parker, Suckling is a bit of a polarizing figure in the wine world, mostly because for decades he represented concepts that wine geeks have come to either love or loathe: the assignment of numerical scores to assess a wine’s quality, handed down by either experts with exceptional palates honed by years of tastings, or by ivory-tower-dwelling egomaniacs, depending on your point of view of wine scores.

James braved intermittent cellphone coverage, technical Skype difficulties, and (most dangerously) L.A. traffic to be the next victim interview guest on “1WineDude Radio.”

In our interview, James talks about his new website (which launched last Monday, but will be referenced as still being in the future as we recorded the interview on December 3rd), his view on wine scores (and why he thinks they’re still important), why he left Wine Spectator, how he expects to make a living out on his own in the wine world; he also has some surprising things to say about wine blogs.

No doubt there will be many of you who will think I either wasn’t respectful enough or wasn’t hard-edged enough in this interview (likely depending on your points of view of wine scores). I think what you will find, if you keep an open mind, is that James shows a side of himself in this interview that isn’t evident in his Wine Spectator writings or his film appearances.  As always, my interview approach is centrist; it’s meant to have the person voice their views themselves, in the most human and direct way possible; we can of course explore, debate, and discuss our reactions in the comments – which (as always), I encourage you to do!

Cheers!

1WineDude Radio: The James Suckling Interview

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