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Snippet of The Stories Behind Wine: Steve Matthiasson's Story

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The Stories Behind Wine
Duration: 06:02
What do skateboarding and punk rock have to do with winemaking in California? Steven Matthiason, go-to viticulturist for some of Napa Valley's top wineries and SF Chronicle's Winemaker of the Year, shares parallels from his life, plus his fascinating story of getting into the wine business.
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What do skateboarding and punk rock have to do with winemaking in California? Steven Matthiason, go-to viticulturist for some of Napa Valley's top wineries and SF Chronicle's Winemaker of the Year, shares parallels from his life, plus his fascinating story of getting into the wine business.

The Stories Behind Wine is a podcast dedicated to the tales of the people, places, and history that influence the world of wine. This show is made possible by Napa Valley Wine Academy.
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part of your life and you alluded to it in in the answer. The previous question. Skateboarding and on and punk music. Have any of these passions outside of the wine outside of wine influenced how you approach winemaking? Have you been influenced at all? Anything from skateboard culture? Absolutely. Yeah. E have some friends that were also winemakers like Matthew Work with Forlorn Hope was a skater. He's the same age as me. And we talked about this sometimes, um so that so there's an ethic to skating and and and a big part of that is that you when you have a new skate spot, whatever that is, could be a pool. Could be ditch. Could be anything that you know, you're you're trying to find the lines that air their their their lines there there, that are, uh, exist within that place. And your thing is to find them and and your the lines there, your lines are gonna be someone else's lines. And so you. But you wanna. But what to be respected in the world of skating is that you find the lines in that place you don't. It's super un cool to like. Treat every place the same. Just go back and forth and do tricks. You know you adapt to that place. That's the whole ethic of skating and and personal expression. So no. So it's like a So it's so you're melding your style personal style. No one has the same style with that with the peculiarities of that place. And it's directly applicable to, you know, um, winemaking. And because it's your styles winemaker with that place and you're finding that marriage and because and just in Wyness would be it's just this lame to make all the wind stays the same, no matter where they're from, skating is the same, and, um, and then with punk rock, it's, um, the like, the like individuality. I mean, the worst thing you can do is conform, right? The doesn't punk with punk, especially when you know there's like the media idea of some guy with a Mohawk. But within in the world of punk, most people that would be quote unquote punk. You don't look like they're punk. It's an attitude, and it's about making your own decisions about thinking for yourself about, um, doing what you're into, and you don't care what anyone when anyone else thinks, says judges any of that stuff and likewise, you're not judging other people. That's the That's what punks all about. And so when it comes to wine, it's like, What kind of wine do you love? What do you want to make? You know? I love what's going on in California right now. To me, it's total like it's like the punk in the eighties is California wine right now where they're all different, every single one is different. You know, there's all these young people, they're starting brands and older people. But a lot of young people that, um and they're all the winds are very different from each other, and that's totally that's beautiful. That's, you know, that's, um um, that's punk right there. D I y so so in in punk culture. Or I should say, in the reaction to punk culture, reaction to to skateboard culture by the mainstream is usually pretty, um, pretty strong, right? They think, Oh, these darn skateboarders, all these thes these punk rockers. Do you feel the wine industry reacts the same to doing something remarkably different than let's say, just the regular cab or chardonnay recipe and making a wine like rebel Adiala, Have you encountered some of that same resistance? Um, yeah. Maybe, You know, I would say it's that most in the wine industry, um, most people in the production side, other winemakers are there wine businesses are people of, you know, his wine is if you're going to get into making wine, your it's not the get rich quick scheme. So you're doing it because you love it. And so the other producers they have may have totally different styles and wine, but for the most part they're all extremely welcoming and supportive. But there but within the wine industry, for sure. Um, there has been a backlash against the idea of doing something different. And you see, in the like, the that article a few years on The New York Times, the wrath of grapes spelled it out. So sort of clearly, you know, where people throwing terms around like calling those of us making lower alcohol wine in California jihadists, which I thought was like, really, you know, we're making wine. It's a little bit lower in alcohol, you know, How can that you know, you know, but that's how emotional they felt about it. Thio use that label. Jihadist is, you know, like, so out of left field. And, you know, some of the old school like I used to get, like, like a lot of pushback when we were first getting going of, like, real common thing was your in Napa. Why aren't you making Napa? My answer was always like Since when is there some rule about what you making Napa? There's a you know, but But you'd get that. I get that all the time, basically. And luckily, you know, the evolution of of the wine business right now is on the buying side. There is the openness right now is, um, you know, there's no comparison to just recently five or 10 years ago. I mean, you know, um, open. It's the buyers air so open and trying to learn. It's, uh, you know, not getting a lot of pushback right now. Luckily, there's push back to be had, but it's a different type of pushback, but there is a general openness, but but it's been a It's been a hall that's for sure of breaking down, um, walls and barriers
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