Get the Dirt about Greyscale Wines from owner Larry Rowe

1 Mar

GreyscalePeople1. What was your first vintage year? 2008

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? Under 400

3. If not you, who is your winemaker? Kian Tavakoli

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? Not a wine, our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Bordeaux

5. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why? Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. We love all three varietals. Each has a special attraction, we love red wines and fell in love with Bordeaux Blanc during the fateful trip to France. We collect and drink many red wines including Nebbiolos, Sangioveses, Riojas, and Rhones but our favorites are Cab and Merlot. Our Cuvée Blanc is made with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon using a similar recipe as a Bordeaux Blanc (e.g., barrel and stainless fermentation, leas stirring, and aged in oak barrels).

GreyscaleWinery6. What vineyards do you source from? Why? Our Cabernet and Merlot comes from Rutherford and Oak Knoll vineyards, respectively, we are not allowed to identify. Needless to say, they are both high quality Napa Valley vineyards. Our Sauvignon Blanc comes from Dalla Gasparina in Rutherford.

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? We use French oak barrels in all our products. Roughly 60% are new barrels and the remainder are once-used barrels.

8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? Napa Valley is one of the great locales in the world for producing high quality wines. The soil throughout the valley is made up of layers of clay, silt, sandy, and gravel left by glaciers, volcanos, earthquakes, and rainfall. The mountains on the east and west of the valley and the Napa River that runs through it mixes all these soil elements together. Moreover, the climate and weather brings plenty of sunshine (heat) and the prevailing winds bring large diurnal temperature changes that cool the grapes at night. Most years Napa Valley characterized by reasonable amounts of rain early in the growing season followed by a little rain in the middle and almost no rain at the end of the season. The complexity of the soils and the nearly perfect climate contributes to the abundant production and complex tastes found in Napa Valley wines.

GreyscaleBottles9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? Jean & Larry Rowe were both in the computer industry. Jean is a serious photographer and Larry spent many years working on digital media and entertainment applications. So, it was natural to think about color spectrums and related terminology. Jean created the tag line “Wine is neither black nor white. It’s always shades of grey” that perfectly captures the notion that winemaking requires constant attention to detail and continuous adaptation to the grapes produced each year.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? You will meet many interesting and kind people from whom you can learn so much.

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? Our primary focus is to produce high quality wines that we want to drink. We do not have to maximize profit or grow for the sake of competition.

12. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? There will always be a place for small wineries because customers want something different produced by passionate people willing to take risks.

13. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be? A place that has intriguing soils and micro-climates but not the experience producing high quality wines.

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


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