Get the Dirt about Mastro Scheidt from winemaker David Scheidt

2 Apr

MastroPeople1. What was your first vintage year? 2007

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? I started in 2007 with only 200 cases. Current production is roughly 1000.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? We have a by appointment only tasting room. Contacting me directly through email is the best way to schedule

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? Somewhere between a Ridge Monte Bello, Dunn, and Rafanelli Cabernet made me want to make Cabernet in 2007. Then, when I starting drinking Brunello, I knew I needed to make Sangiovese as well.

5. What varietals do you work with? Why? I work with nearly everything I can get my hands on, as I want to continue my knowledge base. By tonnage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese are my largest lots each season and continue to be my favorites to work with.

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6. What vineyards do you source from?  I source from vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino County for the majority of production. Always something with some elevation, not valley floor. Dry farmed vineyards have shown the greatest intensity in flavors, but have been difficult to manage. I have been experimenting with fruit from District 13, where my home town of Fresno is located, buying very specific warmer-weather varietals from a single grower that is farming with innovative techniques.

7. What type of oak treatment do you use?  I use American, French and Hungarian cooperage, both new and seasoned. I vary the cooperage and the forests for the complexity, texture and depth I receive from various oak forests and coopers. For American oak, I use wood from colder forests, such as Minnesota that has been open-air seasoned a minimum of 36 months. If the wood is underseasoned, there are too many raw oak tannins that are unwelcome for my wines. I never use new oak on Sangiovese. Never.

mastroBottle8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? I love that it’s still small in Dry Creek and a little below the radar for Cabernet unlike Alexander Valley. Russian River gets all the credit for Pinot. Dry Creek sits quietly in the middle growing more Cabernet than Zinfandel, even though everyone thinks of Zinfandel when they think of DCV.

9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? Easy. It’s a combination of my mother and father’s last name. It’s where I come from.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? Make more white and rose’ wine when you start out! Making only cabernet my first several vintages made the winery too one-dimensional.

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? I can source from small farms and small growers. I can go where the big companies can’t, micro climates and regions and vineyards no 10,000 case winery can go. Small scale can have its advantages.

12. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? Executing a 3 year plan isn’t meaningful in the wine business. You have to execute a 3 year plan every 3 months, every 3 weeks because the markets change, the competition is stiff, not just in wine but from craft brew and cocktail programs. You can’t be afraid to get out there. Having a by-appointment-only tasting room has been the best thing for my winery. It forces you to venture out into the market. Too many winemakers are content to stay in the cellar, that’s the worst thing you can do as a small winemaker.

13. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be? Besides Italy? Probably New Zealand. No wait, Santa Barbara. Although Chile is nice in winter, but so is Australia. Get me a plane ticket and I’ll try and make wine just about anywhere they can grow Cabernet or Sangiovese.

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

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