Get the Dirt about Rhythm Wines from winemaker Jasper Dickson

27 Jan

RhythmJasper1. What was your first vintage year? 2013

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

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? No, I do not. Not yet, at least.

4. If not you, who is your winemaker? I work with my good friend Al DeRose on the winemaking. We make the wine at his winery outside of Hollister, called DeRose Winery.

5. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? Growing up as a kid I would always travel with my Dad to Sonoma when he would go wine tasting and it implanted a curiosity and sense memory about wine, wineries and winemaking that burned onto the back of my brain. When I was 18 my father gave me a book on fermentation and home winemaking and I proceeded to ferment everything I could get my hands on. Which led to some pretty disgusting concoctions. Eventually I started making ‘real’ wine in my garage.

I found a guy who was growing a rare grape originally from northeast Italy called, ‘Lagrein’ and after making a batch at home, I decided I wanted to do a commercial release. However I didn’t have the facility, equipment or license to do it. That’s when I called Al.

6. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? While I have had many wines that I loved more than others, I grew up drinking wine and never had an ‘epiphany’ wine.

7. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? I like working with whatever I can get my hands on that interests me. Can’t say what my favorite is. Maybe with 50 more years of experience I can come closer. I have really enjoyed working with Lagrein and am very excited about the Tanat I harvest from Los Angeles County last year. That is showing a lot of potential.

8. What vineyards do you source from? Why? Last year I sourced Graciano from Markus Bokisch Ranches in Lodi, whom I have bought fruit from before. They take great care of their vines and farm all organic and sustainable and truly care about what they are doing. I also got Mourvedre from a very old vineyard in the Cienega Valley called the Enz Vineyard which was planted in 1920. Very excited about that fruit. The Tanat I got from a good friend of mine named Juan Alonso who has a vineyard in an area called the Sierra Pelona Valley in northern Los Angeles County. I think that wine will turn a lot of heads.

RhythmBottle9. What type of oak treatment do you use? Right now only neutral. I personally don’t enjoy oak flavors in the wine unless it is just barely there and super finessed. I would rather have the character of the fruit and wine show through.

10. What do you love about your winemaking region? I currently source grapes from all different areas of California and they are all special for different reasons. I am excited to bring wines grown in southern California and specifically the Los Angeles area to a national arena.

11. What’s the story behind your name/label? I always make deadlines for myself. I had hit my deadline for a name and started to succinctly hit myself on my forehead with my empty wine glass. After doing this for sometime I realized I had matched the rhythm of the song that was playing in the background. Rhythm, I thought. That would be perfect and encompass everything. I am also a musician and it just made sense.

12. 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? You can experiment. You don’t have massive amounts of wine that need to be sold across a broad market of tastes. You can cater to niche markets with people and palates that are excited about the possibilities of California wine. You are able to put more time, care and detail into the product.

13. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? I think it will be great. In the last decade the change in state laws for DTC have been huge and that has been a game changer for a lot of small producers. Also working in a wine store, I see so many young people that are so excited about wine and have curious minds and want to try everything. It’s super inspiring.

14. Any other thoughts on the wine business in general? It’s not a bad gig when you can get it.

For more information about Rhythm Wines, please visit their website.

Comments are closed.