Welcome to part 3 of our coverage of the Santa Barbara Vintners Wine Seminar from the Vintners Spring Weekend 2015. The theme of the seminar was “Zaca Mesa University” based on a wonderful article in Edible Santa Barbara from Spring of 2013 about all of the winemakers who have come through Zaca Mesa Winery. This panel featured Ken Brown of Ken Brown Wines, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, Bob Lindquist of Qupe and Eric Mohseni the current winemaker at Zaca Mesa. The Seminar was moderated by Sommelier Christopher Sawyer. Part 3 features Jim Clendenen & Bob Lindquist.
Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat
Jim is the Winemaker at Au Bon Climat, the Santa Barbara winery he founded with his friend Adam Tolmach back in 1982. Both he and Adam, came through Zaca Mesa. Jim tells us how he saved the world from another mediocre lawyer, by instead going into wine. He is quintessentially Californian with shoulder length grey hair and typically sporting a Hawaiian shirt. His wines however show the restraint and balance of the Old World wines of Burgundy.
Bob Lindquist of Qupe
Bob Lindquist is the Winemaker at Qupe. Qupe pronouced “kyoo-pay” is the Chumash word for “poppy”. The Chumash Indians are the indigenous people of the Central Coast. A man who bleeds “Dodger” blue, he is a baseball lover who became a wine enthusiast while attending UC Irvine. He is known for his love of Rhones as well as Chardonnay. He and Jim share a winery they built in 1989 on the famous Bien Nacido Vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley.
Jim & Bob’s time at Zaca Mesa University
In this segment the comedy shines through as Jim tells us how he came to Zaca Mesa in 1978 to run the bottling line. He had more experience than any other applicants with a total of 6 hrs on the Brander bottling line bottling Fred Branders 1976 Gewurztraminer. He talks about their 1st Chard that won top honors in both Orange County and LA County with it’s accidental residual sugar and how they learned to stop that sweetness (and stop winning both top honors). We hear about the differences he found in winemaking techniques in Australia, California and France and the pluses and minuses of getting a salaried job at harvest.
Bob & Jim are friends from way back and Bob tells the very funny story of how Jim helped him get fired and hired thanks to a Kinks concert. He goes on to tell his story at Zaca Mesa after Jim left and how he opened his own winery Qupe in 1982 with the help of both Ken Brown and Marshall Reams. He also talks about making Syrah first from grapes from Gary Eberle in Paso and discovering that cool climate Syrah was the direction to go. He also brought a beautiful 10 year old Syrah from Bien Nacido Vineyard that we were able to taste.
There is more to come. Our next segment will feature Eric Mohseni the current wine maker at Zaca Mesa which will be released on June 10th.
For more conversations with winemakers and wineries visit Crushed Grape Chronicles – From Dirt to Glass