Get the Dirt about Buscador Wines from winemaker Matt Kowalczyk

10 Jan

BuscadorPeople1. What was your first vintage year? 2006

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? 450-550 cases

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? Yes, we opened April 2017. Our hours are Friday-Monday, 11am-5pm.

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? 1995 Seyssel. While living in Geneva the summer of 1996 I spent most of my time in Divonne-les-Bains at John Haines house. Scientist, Diplomat, Mentor & friend took me to a local winery outside Annecy. We sampled wines in the cellar and John walked out with 8 cases for his summer Bbq white wine hosting line-up. I still have a bottle at the winery that I keep in honor.

5. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why? Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Syrah, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot, Cab Sauv, Pinot Noir, Malbec

To make? Cab Sauv, Grenache Blanc, Merlot. I’m not entirely sure why I select those 3 other than they are always lovely to sample in the vineyard, exude brilliantly different aromas when crushed at the destemmer, ferment cleanly, age gracefully and clarify nicely. So, I guess that’s why.


6. What vineyards do you source from? Sanger & Hayes in Sta. Rita Hills for Pinot Noir. La Pressa Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley for Grenache, Syrah, Roussanne & Grenache Blanc. Eric Caldwell, the vineyard owner, takes amazing care to produce a quality harvest year after year. Sanger Estate Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley for Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Merlot. It is a newly planted vineyard with exciting potential in the Happy Canyon Appellation.

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? American, French and Hungarian. I love the vanilla flavor American gives to Cab Sauv and Petit Sirah. The French impairs backbone and character to Pinot Noir and the Hungarian is just plain fun to experiment with.

8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? The Santa Ynez Valley is one of the only wine growing regions that is predominantly an East to West valley. This allows for a tremendous amount of temperature fluctuation. Cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay flourish in Sta. Rita Hills, while the heat loving Bordeaux varietals love the western part of the valley in the newly created appellations of Happy Canyon and Los Olivos. In between, almost any varietal can be grown!

BuscadorBottles9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? Buscador is the Spanish word for Searcher. It was a nickname given to me in Guatemala in 2000. It defines my life, my passion, my wine. Wine making and wine tasting are endless endeavors. The search provides the meaning. In love. In life. In wine.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? It is WAY easier to make wine than it is to sell wine. Never make more than you can sell.

11. Most importantly, what’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? All of my barrels are in my tasting room. I can hug every barrel. Everyday. Barrel Reiki. Like my 3 yr old Labrador, I can keep a watchful eye on them. Make sure the bungs don’t fall off. That they are properly topped up at all times. I can play with new blends with customers in the tasting room. Can pull barrel tastings for anyone at anytime. Fairly certain none of this happens at a larger winery.

12. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? Burgeoning. We all still wish to connect with the maker of the product. Regardless of the industry. Entrepreneurs and creators fuel the passions of our world. We gravitate towards those that are willing to give everything for a vision, determined to be authentic and actually produce a quality product.

For more information, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

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