The Stories Behind Wine podcast series features the people, places, and history that influence the world of wine. Produced by Napa Valley Wine Academy, America’s premier wine school and a WSET and Riedel Global Wine Educator of the Year.
Episode 22 - Hugh Johnson - The Story of a Wine Giant
In this episode, we catch up with wine legend, Hugh Johnson. Hugh has been one of the wine world's most read and influential authors over a 60-year career. He has inspired so many to pursue further wine education and helped transform how we think about wine writing. His story is complex, thrilling, and inspiring much like many of the finest wines of the world.
Episode 21 - Steven Spurrier - The Story of Bride Valley Sparkling Wine
In this special episode, We have the opportunity to chat with one of the wine industry’s most storied and accomplished figures, Steven Spurrier, perhaps best known for organizing the 1976 Paris Testing that helped catapult Napa Valley onto the world wine stage.
Episode 20 - Wine and War - The Story of Lebanon
In this episode, Christian Oggenfuss sits with Michael Karam, the author of Wines of Lebanon and contributor to the new wine documentary Wine and War, about the rich and often war-torn history of Lebanese wines. This is their story.
Episode 19 - The Story of Franciacorta
In this episode, Christian Oggenfuss sits down with Giammario Villa an Italian native, sommelier, author, and ambassador for the Consorzio Franciacorta. We discuss Gammario’s journey and explore the origins of Italy’s premier sparkling wine region. This is their story.
Episode 18 - Peter Mondavi Jr. - Stories of a Dynasty
In this episode, Christian Oggenfuss has the opportunity to sit down with Peter Mondavi, Jr. of Charles Krug Winery. Christian explores Charles Krug and the Mondavi family's rich and fascinating history and influences shaping the Napa Valley. This is their story.
Episode 17 – Rodrigo Soto – Journey to Biodynamics
In Episode 17, we sit down with winemaker Rodrigo Soto,
In this episode, Christian Oggenfuss has the opportunity to sit down and reconnect with Rodrigo Soto a native of Chile and a passionate proponent of organic and biodynamic viticulture. Christian explores Rodrigo’s early years in Chile and how a chance meeting at a dinner party propelled him to introduce biodynamics in Chile and become one of the most respected Chilean winemakers. Today he is general manager for one of the most well known winery groups in the US, this is Rodrigo’s story.
00:44 Rodrigo Soto: My name is Rodrigo Soto. I come from Chile. What I do in the wine business, currently, I'm the GM for Quintessa and I oversee the Huneeus Estates in Napa, and in the Sonoma Coast.
00:57 Christian Oggenfuss: Great. So tell me, Rodrigo... Thanks for coming on the show, first of all, and I will let all our listeners know that we have worked together and we go way back, so I'm really looking forward to sitting down and talking to you. Tell me a little bit about your journey in the wine business. I know you're from Chile. When did you know that wine was something that you were maybe even just considering exploring?
01:20 Rodrigo Soto: Well, first of all, thank you for having me, Chris. And just to go directly into the subject, Chile has a very rich culture in wine, in different aspects. Wine was always at the table in my house, regular wine, nothing fancy, nothing special, but was part of the diet all the time. At a very early age, I thought that... I was trying to become as independent as possible in terms of certain times of the year. My family used to have a beautiful house in a vacational town in the south of Chile, in Pucon, which is a lake district, very nice, but it was very expensive to go out. So I thought, "Well, I need to figure this out because I don't wanna be asking my parents all the time for permission, and also for cash." I was 15 when I started working as a waiter in a friend's restaurant. And going through that process, which I think is... I highly recommend it. Everybody should work in a restaurant at any stage in their life, because I think it's one of the most challenging professions around. And I'm sure everybody is gonna relate to that, about multitasking, physical work, concentration and being a host. The hosting part is not given. I mean, you have to learn it and train it in order to do it right, and sometimes you have very difficult clients as well.
02:42 Rodrigo Soto: And going through that experience, which was in my summer time, when I was in high school, another time, was legal to be underage and working because it was kind of a temporary job, I always was asked about recommendations for wine. And as I knew wine, I felt that I can recommend, but it was a very unprofessional way of doing it, in my perspective. So that was at the time that I bought my first wine guide, and I start documenting myself about wine in a little more formal way. And at the time, Chile has only four or five main producers. There's not much to recommend that... We're talking about mid-90s. So it was quite easy to learn, and there was stronger wines, more tannic. And this was a steakhouse, so definitely, it didn't take me long, but that was my first connection.
03:30 Rodrigo Soto: The other part was that I always saw myself working in an outdoor space. I never thought that I will be confined to an office. So that was a very strong part of the decision-making process for which career I will be studying. And I always thought that I would like to be outside, so agronomy, at the time, suits very well, what I was thinking. And that's what I apply,