Joel Peterson is the Founder and Winemaker of the Ravenswood Winery, and the Founder and Winemaker of Once & Future Wine, both in California.
Joel describes his first moments with wine, tasting wine with his father and mother, and how that led later to his work with Joseph Swan. Joel talks at length about Swan and the early days of the Joseph Swan winery. Swan was making exemplary California Zinfandel, and Joel explains why he also chose to focus on Zinfandel at the winery he founded, Ravenswood. He recounts the humble beginnings of Ravenswood, an operation that would later become much larger after the market success that Joel found with the Ravenswood "Vintners Blend." That popular red wine was an introduction to Zinfandel as a red wine for many consumers at the time, countering the White Zinfandel trend of that moment. Joel discusses Zinfandel as a grape variety, and talks about several of the different old vine Zinfandel vineyards in California today. He also addresses the ups and downs that Zinfandel has encountered in the broader United States wine market, and its position today. Joel then shares his advice to someone starting out in the winemaking business right now.