The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast is a weekly podcast by Forrest Kelly exploring wineries around the world. We take 5 minutes and give you wine conversation starters and travel destinations. In addition, you'll hear candid interviews from those shaping the wine field. Join us as we become inspired by their search for extraordinary wine and wineries.
WELP Magazine recognized the podcast as one of the best Travel Podcasts of 2021.
Michael Juergens Pt. 3
Welcome to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast, I'm your host, Forrest Kelly, from the seed to the glass wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, grape minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. We're speaking with a man responsible for bringing vineyards to the country of Bhutan, the Kingdom of Bhutan. How big a country is it? It's actually not that big a country. It's about the size of https://www.myswitzerland.com/en (Switzerland). So it's probably, I don't know, 300 miles North to South and 500 miles East to est. Anywhere that you are you can sort of look in every direction and see mountains. But like Everest is behind those. And so you can't necessarily see Everest from most places. There's just one cool pass of https://northbengaltourism.com/dochula-pass/ (Dochula Pass). It's about 14,0000 thousand feet. It's between the capital city of https://www.bhutan.travel/destinations/thimphu (Thimphu), where we have a couple of vineyards, and the Valley, where we have a couple of vineyards. And so I drive over that pass quite a bit. And when you're at the top, there's this outlook that you can see like 17 different Himalayan peaks that are all in the low twenties and it's really freaking cool. And when you're flying into https://paroairport.com/ (Paro), you can see average when you fly in, which is kind of neat too. So tell me about some of the advantages of the country. I mean, the obvious one is just the water that is coming off of the glaciers and the snow runoff of the Himalayas. I imagine there are others as well. So the soil is super, super vibrant. And so, you know, if you sort of believe in some of this, you know, biodynamic philosophy where you sort of getting this balance with the local ecosystems and the biomes and the soil and the local wildlife, that's certainly part of it. They're on track to be the first 100 percent organic country, so they're really sort of against interventionist agriculture. It's more about trying to find how things will work in those climates. The water is entirely https://www.ringana.com/blog/microplastic-free/?lang=en (microplastic-free) because it's just pure runoff from the Himalayan glaciers. So you have this really good water and the climate. There's a lot of different microclimates there that sort of stretch from jungle at the bottom of the country, at the south side, all the way up to glacier. So you have all these different climate zones within the country that they are they figured out over the years like, Oh hey, you know, Mandarin oranges grow really, really well down here, where red rice grows really, really well at 7,500 feet. And my hope is that that's what we're going to find with our grapes is that Merlot grows really, really well at 3000 feet and Riesling grows really, really well at 7,500 feet. So my guess is that that's where it will evolve over time, as it's done with some of their other crops. But that's, you know, that's a 50-year plan, not a 5-year plan, unfortunately. With a business plan like that, you've done your homework and it sounds very encouraging down the line. Can you tell me a little bit about the potential markets? One of the leading roses in India right now is Mateus. I don't know if you're familiar with https://www.mateusrose.us/our-story/ (Mateus, it's a Portuguese rosé), which sells for about $5.00 bucks a bottle here in the U.S., and in India, it sells for $29.00 a bottle. There's a pretty significant margin opportunity if you can capture that market share without paying, those import taxes and tariffs. So there's it's one thing to go after a unique area like Bhutan and say, Hey, I want to grow a Bhutanese cabernet here, and I want to try to capture the essence of Bhutan, and we're going to export this to London, and we're going to sell for $250.00 bucks a bottle. That is very, very cool and interesting to kind of the wine geeks of the world. But there's...
Michael Juergens Pt. 2
Welcome to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast, I'm your host, Forrest Kelly. From the seed to the glass, wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, grape minds think alike, let's start the adventure. Our featured winery is we continue our conversation with
Michael Juergens and his wine adventure in the Himalayan hills of Bhutan. When all is said and done, what kind of wine are you looking to produce? We want to make wines that are going to be poured at the world's
finest restaurant and cost $150 bucks and up. So $150 and above. I was reading where you said that you're not going to make plonk? I had to look up the term https://www.mvorganizing.org/why-is-wine-called-plonk/ (plonk). Would you consider that a derogatory term?
No. I don't think plonk is necessarily derogatory. It's more that it's know kind of inexpensive wine. I think it's pretty much a British and Australian term. But you know, if you were going to drink, you know, have a nice glass of plonk, you know, I just want an easy drink in, you know, $4 glass of red as opposed to something that's super complex. It requires a lot of attention. So in your quest to become a https://www.mastersofwine.org/ (Master of Wine), there are only four hundred and nineteen worldwide in 30 different countries. Has anybody else done what you've done and gone to a country and started a wine industry from scratch? No, not to my knowledge. No matter of fact, I don't think that there are very many countries left on the planet where you could conceivably start a wine industry from scratch. Most places already have been around having for hundreds or thousands of years. One of the things that really appealed to me about this project, you know, the Himalayas is not convenient to Los Angeles, which is where
I live, but the opportunity to really be given this palate, this beautiful landscape, this wonderful terroir with nothing and say here, decide what this should look like. You know, should we do ice wine? Should we do big reds? Should we do sparkling? Should we do hybrids? You know, what do you think is going to be the perfect wines
for Bhutan that will express a sense of place, and that's a really cool opportunity to get to do. I don't. Not too many people have gotten to do that. Oh, absolutely. What a great opportunity. So in the time frame, when
you first went over there to run the marathon and you talked with them and you started this serious discussion, what are we looking at down the road from basically seed to vine? It took about two years from the very first serious discussions that we had. I had kind of broached the topic a couple of years before that, and it took a couple of years for the country to get to the point where they're like, Yeah, this seems legit. Let's get serious about trying to do this. And then once they had made that decision, it took about two years before we got the first six vineyards planted. And to your point, no, I absolutely was out there in the fields with not necessarily carabiners, but like digging holes and, you know, carrying plants up and down the hills. And, yeah, very excited. As you mentioned earlier, as you might expect, the Himalayas, very mountainous. I imagine there's a lot of prework that you had to do, you know, building terraces on the sides of mountains and things and prepping everything. But where are you in the stage as far as the vine progress? Six of our vineyards are in the fourth leaf and two of our vineyards are in the second leaf. So we actually had grapes last year, but the pandemic was going on and the borders were closed. We had grapes again this year, but there's still a lot of pandemic issues, particularly with India. You know, India has had quite the outbreak the last few months. And so Bhutan, because it shares a border with India, has been really strategic about what they let in and out of the country right now. So we'll have our...
Michael Juergens Pt. 1
Welcome, to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast, I'm your host, Forrest Kelly. From the seed to the glass, wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, grape minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. Our featured winery is. Hello. This is your captain
speaking. Welcome to Juergen's airlines, we hope you enjoy your flight to thehttps://www.britannica.com/place/Bhutan ( Kingdom of Bhutan) in the Himalayas, Bhutan is sandwiched between two countries India and China on our flight this
evening is Michael Juergens, Michael has helped plant vineyards at nine thousand feet to start the first winery in the Kingdom of Bhutan. So sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. Remember, if we have a bumpy landing, it's not the captain's fault. It's not the co-pilot's fault. It's the asphalt.
Hi, this is Mike Juergens. I'm the author ofhttps://www.drinkingandknowingthings.com/ ( Drinking and Knowing Things) and a number of other Wine Books. I also founded the wine industry in the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas, and I'm a Master of Wine candidate.
Ok, Michael, we'll get into each of those credentials, but first just doing a little bit of research on the Kingdom of Bhutan. They have 5,400 species of plants, compared to 17,000 here in the United States. They were one of the first countries to ban tobacco use. Archery is the number one sport. Health care is free. Where was the inspiration? What did the inspiration come from to start producing wine in Bhutan?
Well, I had traveled all around the world visiting all the other global wine regions as part of trying to pursue my https://www.mastersofwine.org/ (Master of Wine qualification). And when I went to Bhutan to run a marathon, it just looked like the kind of place that should have vineyards. You just had these magnificent terraced slopes with these beautiful crops.
Everything I ate was the best. Whatever I've eaten, the best cucumber, the best carrot, like everything was just spectacularly good. And so that to me led me to believe that they had a vineyard somewhere. So I asked everybody, where are the vineyards? And turned out they didn't have any. And so I kind of said, you guys need to do this like starting now. And they listened.
They listened to you. So you must have been very persuasive and shown them the potential of what could be right. Because Bhutan is, you know, looking at a map is and imagining the Himalayas. This isn't going to be the main thoroughfare for trade.
Bhutan is pretty isolated in the Himalayas and so it remained pretty much on its own until, like the 1970s. You know, they just didn't have any Western influence. You know, the https://www.worldhistory.org/Silk_Road/ (Silk Road) never went through there, and so Vitis
vinifera never got planted there. You know, the Roman Army never reached that far on the https://www.worldhistory.org/Silk_Road/ (Silk Road) didn't go through it. So I don't think it was a function of there wasn't, you know, a desire to to have it or to avoid it. I
think it just never got there. And even today, you know, the country monitors who can go into the country. They don't want to overburden it with tourism. There just hasn't been a lot of Western influence in there, and it just took some stupid guy like me asking dumb questions like where the vineyards? And they sort of said, Huh,
we hadn't thought about that, you know? So it wasn't that that this had never been broached before. It just was. I think I happen to be the right place at the right time where the country was a little bit more open to trying to make this work.
How about the residents and the culture? Do they drink wine? There's a really big wine culture there, but it's all around rice wine. And so each family makes their special recipe, you know, secretly guarded family recipe for their rice wine, which they make in their kitchens, and it's considered to be very traditional.
You show up in...
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards - Clermont, FL Pt. 4
We close out our conversation with Barry Hus of Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards, Florida's largest winery. I can imagine that staffing can be a bit of a challenge.
I went to New York and recruited a vineyard manager that was highly experienced, and he's done wonders for our vineyards. I went to Sarasota. I recruited this top mechanic that had been in the industry for 45 years can fix any kind of bottling line equipment or anything that you have. And he's been the same thing. He's just he's helped us fix so much and saved us so much money with his expertise. So it's that kind of thing, that kind of recruitment that lends itself to providing a successful business, no matter what you're doing, you know, people make the difference. Having a winery the size of Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards, you've got a vast selection of wines. What are some that stand out that are your biggest sellers?
Our most popular wines are our southern red and southern white. We also cross-label those as vintners, red, and vintners white at our other location. They're the exact same wines. That's 60 percent of our business. Those two are the main Muscadine wines that we produce one white, one red. After that, we make a bold blush. It's called Sunblush, and it's also Muscadine. And then we make a Chablis. We make a Chablis out of our white grapes. That's the driest of the Muscadine wines. They're both good sellers, the Chablis is great for cooking the sunblush. We call it the Goldilocks wine. It's a little red. It's a little wide, it's a little sweet, it's a little dry. You know, it's you don't know what to take to a party that's a great wine to take with you. And then becoming more and more popular are the specialty wines, and we're just getting to where we're having to ramp up our production of our sparkling. We do our own https://store.lakeridgewinery.com/pink-crescendo.html (sparkling wine). We do two of them a white and pink. And we do. We still do them in the old champagne method. So we're doing the double fermentation on those. We make a port that's 100 percent Musk, nine, with a wonderful port. So those specialty wines are great. We also produce a Sherry. The https://store.lakeridgewinery.com/cream-sherry.html (Sherry is about 25 percent Muscadine). It doesn't lend itself to a great sherry. The white grape doesn't. So we're bringing that in and then blending it in with about 25 percent of the Muscadine. And then it produces a great, great Sherry after that. And then we have some kind of blends we do at what we call a https://store.lakeridgewinery.com/proprietor-39-s-reserve.html (proprietor's reserve). It's kind of a dessert-style wine. Again, it's a sweet wine. It's got a higher alcohol level than our standard table wine does. But it's not quite a port. It's gone over very well. Again, it's one of those sweet wines served chilled. Those are the main ones. Those are what we produce. Our main focus is on our Muscadine wines and our southern reds, southern wine by far our top sellers.
It's been a pleasure talking with you and learning so much about Florida wine. If our podcast listeners are in the area or planning a Florida trip, what's the best place to go to get all the information we need? The best place to go to start is at our website, which is https://www.lakeridgewinery.com/ (Lakeridgewinery.com) And from there, you can get our hours and information about the weekends at the winery. Who's what bands are playing, what foods are being served, all that kind of stuff. If you want to call in, you can certainly do that. We have an 800 number. It's 800.768.9463. Be happy to answer any of the questions that you might have. Thank you for listening. I'm Forrest Kelly. This episode of The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast was produced by IHYSM. If you like the show, please tell your friends and pets and subscribe. Until next time pour the wine and ponder your next adventure.
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards - Clermont, FL Pt. 3
COO Barry Hus, explains the adventure of a tour at Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards.
So in our typical guided tour, when I say that they stay within the building, our main building is fairly large. It has a second floor, they go up into the theater. It's a church pew style. They sit and watch the film. It's about 10 minutes. It goes through the history of wine and winemaking in Florida and how we got involved in it. Then there are walkways that go across our production area and from the walkways. They can see our bottling line and our tanks and the processes and the pumps and everything and the workers down below. The guide would explain to them what's going on. We have cold stabilization going on or we've got bottling, going on, or whatever might be happening at the time. They then walk outside. We have an outdoor balcony on the back of the building that overlooks our crushed deck and the vineyard so they can see the vineyards from there. They can see the crushed deck and the equipment, the presses, pumps, and all that kind of stuff. And depending on the time of year, like right now, we just finished pressing the last of our grapes yesterday. So from August and early September, they can see the https://www.winemag.com/2020/03/17/stomping-grapes-winemaking-crush/ (grapes being crushed). The rest of the time, they will see the vineyards in full bloom or dormant, you know, depending on the time of the year, and the guide will talk to them about that. They don't go out into the vineyard. And then from there, they come across another walkway mezzanine. Generally, Monday through Thursday, we're bottling. They can see the bottling line in action and then from there they go into the main part of the retail shop where our tasting counter is. Customers can get up close to the vines out in our festival area. They can walk right up to the vineyard and see the vines and the grapes and things like that.
Pre-covid, in 2019, I see where https://www.visitflorida.org/ (Florida had over 130,000,000 million visitors, tourists). So out of those people, when they visit the winery, are you seeing some kind of commonality between the novice and the expert in your visitorship?
Yeah, there's a commonality and they do run that full gamut, you know, from people who are very curious and have never seen it to people who have seen hundreds of them, you know, have been all over the world and seen them. I think the commonality is the surprise that something like this exists in Florida. Nobody thinks Florida is having any kind of wine industry at all, let alone something that's of this size. And then the flavor of the wine is so uniquely different from anything else that they're going to taste, and even people who generally are dry drinkers are surprised at it. It's a sweet wine, but it's more of a fruit-forward, kind of a sweetness and not like a sugary sweetness to it. We serve it chilled. It's very refreshing. It's something that goes well with the https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/united-states/florida (Florida climate).
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards - Clermont, FL Pt. 2
COO Barry Hus of Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards explains the impressive details of Florida's largest winery.
Whether it's food, cars, or houses, we're always looking for that wow factor. I still remember seeing my wife the first time in her wedding dress. So when people come up to your winery, can you tell me your wow factor? It's a big property. I think people are very surprised, first of all, that it's hilly. And when they pull into the property, it's kind of a https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-tuscan-architecture-5072335 (Tuscan design), building, and layout of the property, and the vineyards surround the property on all sides. So when you drive up, you see a large open grass area and fencing that leads up to the large building that is the winery. People from all over the world come to visit us here because Central Florida is a very tourist-driven area. We hear a lot that it reminds them of Europe looking over the hillside, seeing the vineyards, seeing the style of building that we have. It's very reminiscent of things that you would see in Italy or https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g187070-France-Vacations.html (France) or things like that. So that's probably the biggest surprise that people are just shocked that something like this exists in this area and that is so large. We do have an outdoor area with large oak trees where we have music and a food court and an outdoor wine bar that goes on https://www.lakeridgewinery.com/WATW/ (every weekend from noon to four on Saturdays and Sundays). And so they can come out even during the week, they can come out and get a bottle of wine, cheese tray or something like that, go out and sit at our picnic tables and just kind of enjoy the view. So it's very open. We like people to take a look around and see what's going on here and just kind of enjoy themselves while they are here. So it's not just kind of a walk into a retail shop, it's kind of a full experience.
https://dashboard.simplecast.com/accounts/69318096-ebff-4375-b720-e9aa4313b282/shows/be4c470d-cbfa-42db-8271-007d63bc1817/episodes/97c76958-8614-4ef0-9eeb-cdabc593d521/# (Show Less)
Bite sized and engaging
Forrest does a great job with this incredibly engaging show. Love the background info on the various features/locations and the great stories of the guests he brings on. Can’t wait for future episodes!
so good podcast . i am active listener of this show please keep continiue!
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