Ryan Carr: Carr Vineyards and Winery


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Ryan Carr of Carr Vineyards and Winery admits to some early mistakes he made when planting wine grapes in Santa Barbara County and the one grape that best describes who he is.

Other topics in this unfiltered conversation include:

  • Diverse microclimates in Santa Barbara County
  • Optimism for the 2014 vintage
  • Controlling crop size based on water availability
  • Differences in Syrah based on location and style
  • Water, fans, and frost

Host Gabe Saglie pulls from the Dirt Don’t Lie question grab bag, asking Ryan Carr about:

  • Losing his temper during frost season
  • Choosing unlimited water over resistance to pests and fungus
  • What goes through his mind when he first steps foot on a vineyard
  • The year he wants to forget
  • Which wine farmer Ryan Carr would trade places with for a week
GABE
This is the Dirt Don’t Lie Podcast, unfiltered conversations with Santa Barbara, County wine farmers. I’m Gabe Saglie and on today’s show Ryan Carr admitting to some early mistakes planting wine grapes in Santa Barbara County, and the one grape that best describes who he is coming your way right now on Dirt Don’t Lie.Well, it’s a real treat for me to talk to this man right here, Ryan Carr from Carr Vineyards and Winery and we’re talking 2014, but you and I go back what about 15 years?

RYAN
Yeah, at least. It’s been a while.

GABE
It’s been a little while. We first met because we were talking vineyards. I mean, you got into vineyards before winemaking and gosh, what got you into the mines, into the dirt back in the day?

RYAN
Well, I always had a love for plants and how they grow, I mean ever since I was a kid, but the vineyard stuff kind of came up with Santa Barbara itself.

GABE
Yeah.

RYAN
My parents moved to the Santa Barbara area when I was in college and my dad discovered the wine industry out in Santa Barbara County and he would send me bottles getting me interested in wine and just as a beverage, but we talked about the idea of potentially planting a vineyard, getting a piece of property out in Santa Ynez. So, when I came back from school a couple of times I explored Santa Ynez Valley and just fell in love with the place. It really is a magical, spectacular place. There’s nothing else quite like it that I’ve ever come across. It was natural for me to get involved with a vineyard manager out here just to get out of the office. I was studying to be a graphic designer at the time, and so a lot of time spent behind the computer and it was just wonderful to get back outside. When I was in college I worked as a landscaper, so that kind of kept me in with the plants, but I’ve always been a very outdoors person and enjoyed being outside in the sun, and out in the hills and whatnot.

GABE
And you can hear people tell you all they want how spectacular a place like the Santa Ynez Valley is and you can see movie like Sideways and you can look at photographs, but until you actually put your feet onto the dirt that’s when you realize just really how sort of magical this place really is.

RYAN
There’s no doubt. I mean some of the hilltops when you have a cloudy morning, and the fog’s laying low, it’s amazing. These little hilltops pop up. They look like islands. It’s such a unique country, rolling hills, nice valley floors, but it’s not flat by any means, you’ve got a lot of diverse microclimates in it and that’s really what makes it a unique spot.

GABE
Santa Barbara is so known as an area that was born from experimentation, and to this day I think as we see some varietals like the Bordeaux’s where finally after 35-plus years figuring out exactly where they should go. When you getting in in the ’90s, and the first wine you made was a Cab, were you riding sort of a learning curve wave at that time as well?

RYAN
Most definitely. Every year we’re getting better and better at this, I mean, in California we’re still in our infancy when it comes to figuring out what and where to plant things, but in the last 15 years that I’ve been here growing grapes I’ve learned dramatic amount as to what goes best in what situation and looking back at the first Cab I made that was definitely not planted in the right place.

GABE
Where was it?

RYAN
It was more center seine at Ballard Canyon. Not to say that that’s a bad spot for it by any means, but there are definitely better spots and you can see that happening and the lines are changing and you’re seeing more definition for varietals and Appalachians and things like that in the recent years.

GABE
So, Carr Vineyards and Winery, the wine label eventually comes to be. You started that in about 2000.

RYAN
Correct.

GABE
How do you begin to even select the varietals that you are going to declare as your own and put out for the world to taste?

RYAN
Well, at that point in time it was what I had accessible. I actually started out with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and that just happened to be a vineyard that I worked at that was two blocks down the street from me. For a lot of people that’s what defines what wines they’re making is location. Where is the property that they own to plant grapes on? And they’re defined by what works there. Now, in my situations, I farm 15 vineyards that are scattered throughout the county, so I’m actually in a situation where I can produce multiple different varietals and there isn’t one varietal that defines Carr now. We produce several. We’ve got Pinot Noir for our west, Syrah and Grenache in center of Santa Ynez, and then the Bordeaux varietals out on the east side. So, I mean we get to work with all the different microclimates that exist here. That’s one of my favorite things is that I don’t have that varietal that defines us.

GABE
Yeah, you sort of keep yourself open and then your drinking public is sort of exposed to a nice variety as well.

RYAN
Exactly.

GABE
The first one I met through you was Cabernet Franc, it was a Carr Cab Franc, that I fell in love with and to this day you’re still making Cab Franc and it’s selling well.

RYAN
Correct. Yeah, it started out with that vineyard that was right down the street from my house in Ballard and it was a good Cab Franc, there’s no doubt. When it comes to growing grapes and making wine it’s all about how you grow it, there’s no doubt, but as I’ve explored the area my plantings for Cabernet Franc have moved further and further east and I found better and better locations and also approaches to farming it, and it shows in the wine.

GABE
Any varietal you’ve never worked with that you think one day you’re going to actually pluck and make wine from?

RYAN
I’m sure there are, there’s no doubt. I have yet to run down the port road with the [INAUDIBLE 0:05:52] and things like that.

GABE: Although you’ve now gone down the sparkling road, right?

RYAN
I did. I did. I made my first sparkling wine–I started it in 2009 and we did traditional méthode champenoise and it took a long time. It was a tremendous amount of work.

GABE
It is a labor of love, right?

RYAN
It takes forever. I mean making wine already takes a long time, you try and make sparkling wine and it takes even longer.

GABE
Those bubbles are tiny, but boy to get them to go right it’s quite the effort.

RYAN
Yeah, it’s a lot of work.

GABE
So you’re managing 15 vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County, and the Dirt Don’t Lie, and we’re looking at 2014. Now, every vintage obviously brings, and every growing season brings its own cache of uncertainties, of curveballs, of things that are wonderful and things that are just downright frightening I would imagine.

RYAN
Oh yes.

GABE
What is 2014 telling you thus far because it’s been unusually hot?

RYAN
Yeah, it’s been an interesting year; no rain. We’ve had a couple storms come through, drop us maybe a quarter inch, three-quarter inch. I think our best rain we had just recently which was very late in the season and we got a few inches out of it, but without those long rains and the cool winter that definitely is going to affect the vines and how they react. What we’re seeing so far is interesting. I’m seeing a lot of vines actually producing a lot of flowers, so we’re actually starting off the year with really nice flower production and I think that’s a reactionary kind of thing. The vines are reacting–

GABE
It’s not bud break we’re talking about here?

RYAN
Not bud break. We’re just past bud break. Actually, right at bud break is when you start to see the flower production especially with a varietal like Pinot Noir. One of the first thing Pinot Noir throws out is that flower so that’s the most critical time is that beginning.

GABE
That’s how Pinot says hello in the growing season.

RYAN
Exactly, “Here’s the flower.” And you’ll know right away what you’re up against. If you’re going to have very low yields you’re going to have a good idea right away if there’s not a lot of flowers being produced. The start of 2014 we’re seeing pretty decent flower production and good sized flowers, too. I think it’s a survival technique with the vines. They’ve seen such little rainfall that they’re reacting in such a way trying to produce a lot of seeds, and that was something we saw last year. Last year we shouldn’t have had the big crop that we had. We had a relatively warm, dry winter, and typically that means that we’re going to have a lower yield, but I think it was so dry that the vines reacted to that and we actually got a pretty nice yield.

GABE
So they go potentially on overdrive here as a way to compensate for the lack of rain?

RYAN
Right, and as a farmer we’ve got to be careful with that because there isn’t enough moisture in the soil to support that kind of crop so controlling crop size is going to be a big thing to keep an eye on this year and not let the vines produce too much. That’s something that we do every year, but I think even more so this year. Now, in Santa Barbara we’ve also got pretty decent aquifers so we have the ability to water, but you can’t really replicate rain. The one thing that we lost the most of this year was our cover crops. Because we didn’t have adequate rainfall our cover crops didn’t produce very well which is going to diminish our organic material in the soil. So that’s one of my biggest concerns. The vineyards that we’ve got sprinklers on, we were able to irrigate and get a little bit of a cover crop, but nowhere near the levels where I would like to see it.

GABE
So the flowers could signal another hefty output as we get through growing season. Are you going in though? Are you cutting anything back? Are you tearing anything down just as a precautionary measure?

RYAN
Not at this point. We’re doing our standard practices, so right now as the vines get to be about four or five inches tall we’re going through and we’re doing shoot selection. So we’re picking out the shoots that we want to grow this year. We get rid of anything that’s growing in the wrong position, shoots that don’t have any flowers on them, doubles, where shoots are growing doubly out of one location, and we try and fine tune the vine as much as we can at this point to what we want it to look like throughout the course of the season.

GABE
So 2013, looking back, if we were to take a cue at all from last year, also a relatively dry, warmer winter, big output. What varietals fared well last year in 2013?

RYAN
Everything did really well last year, actually. Our Pinot Noirs were spectacular. We’ve had a couple great vintages. 2013 was definitely a really nice vintage, yield wise and quality wise. As long as the farmers who are taking care of the sites were doing a good job and being diligent in not letting those vines overproduce, they’re going to have another solid year this year. That’s the key to farming is keeping that consistent yield and not letting the vines overproduce. Under producing, that’s something we have less control over. That’s dictated by Mother Nature and the curveball she throws at us.

GABE
What about regions specifically in Santa Barbara County? With that type of a season that we may see being magnified this particular year any area that fared well with that sort of unusually hot initiation to the growing season?

RYAN
The Bordeaux varietals always need a little bit more heat. That’s for sure. So you get out into Happy Canyon–I’m really pleased with the Sauvignon Blanc I produced last year. It really turned out beautifully and we got some great flavors out of our stuff, out of Happy Canyon which we blend with something from the more center of the Santa Ynez Valley, and it was beautiful. It was a low alcohol content as well so it was able to ripen nicely and not get overripe.

GABE
And how is that Sauvignon Blanc different in the center of the valley where I’m assuming it’s a little bit cooler than some of the nooks and crannies in Happy Canyon?

RYAN
Yes, so Happy Canyon we get more of the rich, ripe flavors, and in the center of Santa Ynez is where I really try and pull more acidity out of it. So we actually harvest the two the same day, so sugar levels are little bit different on both as well as pH so we get a much more stronger acidity from the center of Santa Ynez as opposed to the stuff that we’re pulling out of Happy Canyon. We let the Happy Canyon stuff get nice and ripe.

GABE
Yeah, yeah. Sauvignon Blanc has kind of become a bit of a go-to when people are trying to find that Chardonnay alternate. I’ve at least had it here, I feel like Sauvignon Blanc production has improved and increased here in the last couple years.

RYAN
Santa Ynez has really become known for Sauv Blanc. I think that we’re producing some of the best in the world, there’s no doubt about it and it’s just getting better as we’re discovering those niches and those better spots for it it’s as synonymous with Santa Barbara as Pinot Noir is or Syrah should be.

GABE
Interesting. “Syrah should be,” because it’s not yet?

RYAN
It is, it is.

GABE
I hear a lot of crying over Syrah not being as recognized and championed as it should be by the consumer at least.

RYAN
Yeah, it’s going to get there. It’s a tough varietal because it does well in every climate, and it will produce a completely different wine in every climate and with an uneducated consumer base it’s really to understand unless you know the areas. If you buy a bottle of Syrah you want to know at least what that tastes like to a point and because Syrah is so diverse it can taste like anything. It can be super white pepper spice if it’s a cool climate in acidity, or if it’s a hot climate it can be more of the leather and the fruit, so you need to know a little bit more about where the grapes are grown to really enjoy Syrah. I think that coming up Michael Larner was–he championed the Ballard Canyon AVA which is dedicated to Syrah which it should be, it’s the perfect spot for Syrah. I mean I make one Syrah from Ballard Canyon and I love it. It’s some of the best stuff that comes into our winery each year.

GABE
When I’ve done blind tastings it’s with Syrah that I find the biggest sort of spectrum of flavors, of mouth feel, and it’s all good, and yet so wonderful to see just sort of how malleable that grape can be because it can go in such a variety of different growing conditions and fare well.

RYAN
It’s a fun grape, there’s no doubt.

GABE
Now, obviously, it’s been a hot winter here into the 2014 season. Frost, is it still a concern?

RYAN
Yes, definitely. We’re coming right up and out of the frost scare. The latest frost we’ve ever seen in the area, that I’ve been aware of, was April 20th in 2008. We’re coming right up on April and we’re–

GABE
So we’re not out of the woods yet?

RYAN
We’re right in the mix of it right now. So it’s sleepless nights when we’ve got the potential for frost and frost alarms going off as the temperature drops, and a lot of early mornings, but we haven’t had anything too bad at this point in time, knock on wood, and hopefully we fare well going out of this. So it would be great to have a season like this to start off this way. It’s been a while since we’ve had such a nice, warm start. We’ve had the last several years just one frost after another after another, and last year, again, part of the reason we had such a nice crop is it was the first year in a while we had a really nice start to the year and we weren’t dealing with those cold, cold mornings in the spring time.

GABE
Yeah. Is one early morning of some pretty bad frost enough to really screw things up?

RYAN
It’ll wipe you out.

GABE
Really?

RYAN
Yeah. 2008 kind of unexpected frost that hit us. No one was really prepared for it. I know I wasn’t. Not all my vineyards have got frost protection. We got frost protection on in the vineyards that did, but there was one vineyard that we had finally rebuilt the Cordons, a much older vineyard, a Syrah vineyard, and got it to a point where it looked beautiful. It was the best it looked in years, and got out there that morning and it was gone.

GABE
Devastating.

RYAN
Yeah, we lost the entire crop. It did not come back, produce anything for us that year, and the next two years were minimal. A ton to the acre at best.

GABE
Wow, so you take a hit and then for a couple of years even to rebound it’s a tough thing.

RYAN
If it’s bad enough.

GABE
Yeah. Financially speaking that can really, particularly for a small wine operation, that can be a real stinker.

RYAN
It can be devastating. There’s a lot of stories of wineries in the last few years who have suffered dramatically because of the frost over and over again. It will set you back dramatically. I mean, the difference between a three ton yield and a one ton yield or a half-ton yield is dramatic. You still got to pay the same amount of money, more or less, to farm the vineyard. You want to keep the vines alive and healthy, and typically you’re doing a couple additional things to try and recover from that frost.

GABE
And what can be frustrating is that there may be a huge public clamoring for that wine, people wanting to buy it, and if you simply are unable, you’ve not been given the tools to make it you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

RYAN
For sure. The 2011 vintage, spectacular vintage. The quality was wonderful, it was really the beginning of us coming out of that frost. There’s not much wine.

GABE
So, looking back what was been, 2014 aside and we’re hoping that 2014 comes out to be one of those record setting types of vintages, what vintage stands out as one that really rakes you over the coals?

RYAN
As far as difficulty goes?

GABE
Yeah, difficulty and it was just one of those years you’d rather forget?

RYAN
2010.

GABE
2010? Not that long ago.

RYAN
Nope, not that long ago. So, again coming out of the frost problems we’ve had right as we were coming up to harvest time, the exact date escapes me, but we were about to pick. I mean, next week we were going to pick kind of thing, and then all of a sudden three days of ungodly heat, 110, 112, 114 on one site.

GABE
Yikes.

RYAN
I had one site hit 114 for two days in a row and 112 on the third.

GABE
Wow.

RYAN
On top of all of that it was also a very humid year so we had major mildew issues all year long so we’re battling that, so we were exposing fruit. So leaf pulling and opening up canopies so that we could control the mildew and then we get this massive heat wave right at the end and it ripened grapes faster than you could blink. So we picked faster than we ever picked and all of our Pinot Noir in a matter of three days. We picked 30 acres in 3 days and it was a challenging year, and the wines reflect it. That’s the one thing about wine is it’ll tell you exactly what happened that year, exactly where it came from.

GABE
The wine don’t lie either.

RYAN
This is true.

GABE
Although you can do, as winemakers, I know that there are tools of trade to try to correct this and that, but at the end of the day a 2010 Pinot from the same site versus say a 2013 we’re talking two different wines, right?

RYAN
Dramatically different. There’s no doubt. There’s still an underlying representation of the location. That’s going to always be there, but you can taste in the 2010s the heat. Not necessarily the alcohol heat, but they’re higher alcohol wines for sure.

GABE
Riper?

RYAN
One more time.

GABE
Riper flavors?

RYAN
Riper flavors that I almost raise in quality in some of them because there’s only so much you can do once the grapes have come in. So in a year like that we were about to pick, so our grapes were about 23, 25, 24 bricks and by the time we were able to get them in they were a lot higher than that and then we had to make wine. As a farmer I try to be a very hands off winemaker. I want to bring the grapes in when they’re perfect so I don’t have to mess with them once they come in, and it’s just add some yeast, take care of them, make sure everything is clean, and we make some wine. 2014, that was when I had to actually be a winemaker, and really had to work hard at making those wines balanced and correct. I mean, you spend all that money farming them and you get thrown a curveball by Mother Nature like, well now you got to fix that and make sure you’re able to still produce something that still is drinkable as well as representative of the style that you’re known for. Everybody’s got a different approach to winemaking so when you have something like that that almost destroys your approach to winemaking you really got to step up the game and make some adjustments.

GABE
You know, I think as consumers we lose sight of the fact that you’ve really only got one chance a year to do this.

RYAN
That’s for sure. It’s not like beer.

GABE
Yeah, well right, and when you’re picking those grapes at the end of the season, what it is, is what you get. Is it a constantly nerve wracking experience as you’re going through the growing season? Am I blowing that out of proportion?

RYAN
I wouldn’t go with nerve wracking. We have plenty of stressful moments and it’s still farming and it’s still does take an entire year to get all the way through this, so even if something does happen in the vineyard there’s time to make that decision to how to deal with that. There are plenty of things that will come in and hurt you more dramatically and you can’t react because it’s already happened, damaged, bird damage, deer damage, those guys come through and they’ll do what they want to do and there’s no bringing that back, but if you see things like mildew or something like that cropping up, and we’re always constantly monitoring for that kind of thing, we can make adjustments and deal with that sort of stuff. But there are definitely things that will set you back that you can’t recover from and you just do the best you can from there forward.

GABE
Now, we got the Dirt Don’t Lie grab bag here. A couple of questions here, the idea, obviously, you’ve got to be raw and honest, but the idea here is to kind of get deeper into the mind and into habits–

RYAN
Are you going to hypnotize me?

GABE
Yeah, that comes at the end. Ever lost your temper during frost?

RYAN
It’s brutal. Frost is awful. I mean, I’ve slept better this year than I have in a long time because we’ve such a nice, warm spring, but I mean, 2009, I was having frost alarms going off at 11 o’clock at night so that means that I got to leave the house and I got to go now turn on sprinklers and call my guys out and have them hit the sprinklers and hit all these spots and hope that we get it on in time and hope that we have enough water to deal with it, and hope that the system works. There’s been mornings where we get out there, one vineyard that has a system that is what’s considered a low flow system, so it doesn’t have pressure that it needs–it’s just a different system and you have to turn it on sooner rather than the regular sprinklers and if you don’t turn it on soon enough because the piping is so small the piping will freeze. So we had one morning where we got out here just a little too late and only half the field turned out because the other half of the field was already frozen, and I mean, that’s detrimental and then there’s the fans. You get out there to turn a fan on, can’t get the thing started because it’s freezing out, the engine just doesn’t want to get going, and you can’t call a mechanic at 1 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday.

GABE
You become a mechanic.

RYAN
You got to be able–your guys or you got to be able to take care of that right then and there, and in the freezing cold, in the dark, and that’s the worst. I mean, frost will drive you crazy, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Like I said, there’s some vineyards that don’t have protection and so what are you going to do?

GABE
Let me ask you this, would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button during frost season? When that alarm goes off at 11 o’clock at night are you hoping things don’t progress and stay as is or are you hoping you can turn back time and maybe do something different?

RYAN
I guess a pause button would be good. Rewind is not going to help you any. A little bit more time. I’m always asking for a little bit more time to get things done. The nice thing is we do have frost alarms and the alarms are set at specific temperatures so it gives us enough time to get out to these areas. The story I told you about the low flow, that was a learning curve. I never worked with a system like that so we had no idea how badly it could fail, and we actually set that one to go off at 39 degrees. So we have to turn that system on when it hits 39 degrees. It may not freeze that night, but we got to turn that system on because if it gets down to 36 it’s going to be cold enough to freeze those small hoses and then the system is not going to work.

GABE
All right, how is this one, if aliens landed in front of you and offered either endless water for survival or vines immune to all pests and fungus what would you pick?

RYAN
I’ll take the water.

GABE
You’ll take the water?

RYAN
Yeah.

GABE
You’re okay dealing with some pests and fungus every so often?

RYAN
There are ways to deal with that. Not having water is not a good thing.

GABE
Okay. You’re out in the vineyard on our own, what are some of the things that are going through your mind as soon as you get off the truck and you’re standing there in the midst of the vines? How does your mind start working? What’s your checklist?

RYAN
Usually when I get to the field I get a good glance at the whole field and see the color. What color are the vines at this moment in time. The field will tell you a lot. Just the color of the vines, that’ll get you started, and then once you get the kind of overall view then I get right in there, I get a lot closer and looking at specifics; seeing how even growth is, looking for any kind of insect population. Those are definitely the things that we’re looking for right away. Shoot tips, that’ll tell you a lot, what’s going on with the vine, the tendrils are reaching out farther the leaves or if they’re wilted and laying down.

GABE
So the visual right out of the gate is important to you?

RYAN
Definitely.

GABE
Okay. If you could trade places with another wine farmer for a week who would it be?

RYAN
That’s a tough question.

GABE
You’re in good company out here.

RYAN
There’s no doubt, to be honest, I’d be very nervous to deal with any other vineyard that I’m not familiar with. I mean, it takes a long time to get familiar with your locations. There’s definitely spots I’d be interested in getting more involved with. I’m lucky that I get to grow in a lot of other areas. I’ve never grown up in Santa Maria, to be honest, so it would be fun for me to get more involved in a vineyard up in that area just because it’s not something I’m familiar with, but one specific–I don’t know if I would want half of the problems that some of these other guys have got to deal with. (LAUGHS)

GABE
You’ve got enough to deal with on your own.

RYAN
Yeah.

GABE
Ryan Carr has done his last harvest, he’s at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter comes and says, “Before you walk in, you can have any wine you can possibly imagine and you can sip it with anybody you can think of, living or dead.”

RYAN
Any wine, you know, maybe some (SIGHS) that’s a tough one, too. I always like the bubbles. The bubbles are some of my favorites. A nice Krug would be spectacular to have and who with? That’s a tough one, too. I lost my grandfather not too long ago, so he’d probably be right up there with it.

GABE
All right, share a little bubbly with Grandpa.

RYAN
Yeah, why not?

GABE
Yeah.

RYAN
I like that.

GABE
He got to see you flourish as a winemaker.

RYAN
Yeah, we lost him not too long ago, and he had a little bit of the Alzheimer’s so it was kind of sad, so he got the very beginning of it and he was actually–he got to taste some of the first stuff and some of his comments and my grandmother’s comments are some of the reasons I’m still going because they liked the first stuff I made.

GABE
That’s key, right?

RYAN
Yeah, we brought a whole bunch of–I mean, there was only 10 cases of the first vintage that I made and we brought a lot of it back to Wisconsin where my mom’s family is and the reaction I got from those people was really part of the reason I moved forward with my label.

GABE
And here you are.

RYAN
There we go.

GABE
Well Dirt Don’t Lie and neither does Ryan Carr.

RYAN
(LAUGHS)

GABE
Right? That’s what we got out of this.

RYAN
That’s right. There’s no doubt.

GABE
Great hanging out with you once again.

RYAN
You as well.

GABE
We’ll see you out in the vineyard.

RYAN
Yep, most definitely.

GABE
And here’s to 2014 being one of those vintages to remember.

RYAN
I think it will be. I think that we have no choice in the matter. (LAUGHS)

GABE
Good to talk to you. Thanks.

RYAN
Cheers.

GABE
This has been the Dirt Don’t Lie Podcast where we like to keep conversations with Santa Barbara wine farmers totally unfiltered. I’m Gabe Saglie, your host, Senior Editor for TravelZoo.com and wine columnist for the Santa Barbara News-Press. This podcast was recorded live at Erickson Sound Labs in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Our executive producer is Wil Fernandez, and our original music is by Jacob Edward Cole. Want more? Check out DirtDontLie.com. Cheers.