Get the Dirt on Travieso Wines from winemaker Ray Sliter

24 Jun

TraviesoRay1. What was your first vintage year? 2003

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? About 800

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? Yes, Saturdays only from 11 to 4pm and by appointment.

4. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? We started making wine in 1999 when, my business partner Mats showed up at my house with 1/2 ton of grapes and a used barrel from Etude. The grapes were from his patient at St. Francis Hospital (John Louvau). They got talking about wine and John suggested to Mats to try making some himself. We made wine in my living room and in 2000 included a full barrel of Syrah from Watts Vineyard in Lodi. In 2003 we began our search for custom crush opportunities and after a long, long hard search found a small warehouse winery in Campbell that we shared with another urban winery. In 2005 we became bonded as Travieso and the rest is history.

5. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? The ‘El Rey’ Cabernet Sauvignon Louvau Vineyard Dry Creek Valley

6. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why?
Cabernet Sauvingon, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne. We are both passionate about Syrah and GSM blends. They offer complexity and are a pleasure to work with.

7. What vineyards do you source from? Why? 
Louvau Vineyard Dry Creek Valley
Kirk Williams Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
Watch Hill Vineyard Los Alamos
Jack McGinley Vineyard Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Because the grapes are super premium and the growers are awesome!

traviesolabels8. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? We age all our reds for 24 months in 100 percent French Oak from Seguin Moreau and Gamba. Aging in wood is what its all about.

9. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special?
The Syrah from SLH is a cool weather Syrah where the fog rolls in every evening. Dry Creek is supreme for the alluvial soils and overcast mornings.

10. What’s the story behind your name/label?
Travieso is Spanish for Bad Boy or Troublemaker….we think we live up to the name.

11. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? There is a lot of marketing involved and we never thought about that.

12. What do you love about small-lot winemaking? You pour your heart and soul into every vintage and watch it evolve through every phase. Opening an older bottle brings back the fond memories.

13. Do you still have a day job? If so, do you mind sharing what it is?

Mats Hagström M.D.
Mats’ family moved from Sweden to Menlo Park, California when he was 14. Mats went on to get a business degree and supported himself by working in the San Francisco Bay Area as a cook. He later completed medical school and currently practices in San Francisco. In the past, Mats has bicycle toured through Europe with Ray, sold used clothing on eBay for supplemental income during his residency and occasionally likes to reminisce about his short-lived punk band. He enjoys throwing dinner parties, belting out improvised lyrics and trying to keep his wife from getting a cat.

Ray Sliter
Ray grew up in Menlo Park, California as the oldest in a family of four boys. His first job was ice cream scooper until he found an after-school job as a computer operator. To this day Ray is still with the same organization working as a marine geophysicist. During his career, Ray has conducted fieldwork from the south Pacific to the northern reaches of Alaska. He also lived for a year at the South Pole Station in Antarctica. Ray enjoys riding his bike to work, sharing fine wines and food with friends, and promoting local music groups by hosting houseconcerts.

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

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