I was eating carnitas with writer Jon Bonné at Nopalito in San Francisco to discuss working with him on a new book about California winemakers which was just published today. Jon’s pitch was simple. He wanted to shine the light on winemakers, young and old, that he believed to be the future of great California winemaking.
I soon found myself scouring the California landscapes, pushing my GPS to the limits, while photographing some of the most entertaining, intriguing and often most hospitipal winemakers I’d ever met; all during the midst of the 2012 harvest.
Every moment working on this book was a rush: my pre-dawn ride with winemaker Stephy Terrizzi who drove like Mario Andretti through nauseating winding roads in Paso Robles and had me wondering if her car had working airbags, or avoiding spindly-hairy tarantulas scurrying near bins of recently picked grapes with winemaker Gavin Chanin in Santa Barbara, or seeing the jaw-dropping beauty of first light at a Hirsch Vineyards pick and laughing at the arrogance of believing I could capture that on JPGs.
The book, a finished work of collaboration by writer Jon Bonné, Ten Speed Press designer Katy Brown and my two worn Nikons, is now a part of history. But the love of that journey and these remarkable personalities who create an essential part of enjoying a great meal is something that will linger in my head for quite some time.
I want to publicly thank Jon Bonné for being my Virgil on this adventure and to thank every harvest picker, every winemaker, every vineyard manager and every person I met along the way who allowed me into their lives during the chaos of harvest 2012 to produce The New California Wine.
ERIK CASTROYork Mountain, Paso Robles with winemaker Anthony Yount.Hirsch vineyard moments after harvest.The engaging Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards. Santa Cruz Mountains.In the “Blue Velvet” with winemaker Angela Osbourne somewhere in Cuyama Valley.
Writer Jon Bonné. Mead Ranch, Napa.
End of a journey. This shot by Angela Osborne, Ventucopa, California.