Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards - North Garden, VA Pt. 3
Welcome to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast; I'm your host, Forrest Kelly. From the seed to the glass, wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, grape minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. Our featured winery: we continue our conversation with Dean Andrews' of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. The wine industry has a five billion dollar economic impact on the state of Virginia, and Virginia ranks in the top 10 of most wineries per state. So I imagine, Dean, that you are always looking to improve and enhance the experience of when people come to visit your property. We also have been looking at what we can do when people get here. We have a garden map. So if they want to take some time to get to know the property a bit more, you can do a self-guided tour of the vineyards and understand what is planted, where you can go down the garden and see the seasonal variation is bed by bed. You can go and play with the chickens for a while and come up for your table. So it again is delivering on that full farm experience.
Ok, let's suppose that I'm in the area, and I'm going to Washington, D.C., visiting the Smithsonian Institute and checking out the Struggle for Justice exhibit. And I want to visit Pépin Hill Farm and Vineyards. Tell me what happens after that.
You're in Washington. You want to come down here on Sunday and have the two-hour wine experience and the food and wine experience and garden tours and all that. You can go on our website, and you can pick the date in the time size of your party. You click on it, you have a confirmed table for that time, and then we're able to communicate with you in advance to set expectations, answer any questions. And so we know that you will actually be showing up at that time. And it's great because ninety-five percent of the people are book show up.
Soon after I do the two-hour wine tasting experience, I'm getting hungry, so I want to get some food. What is that step like?
When you come here to the tasting room, every single dish we serve along with our wines is part of our wine pairings. We don't do the traditional thing where you come in and just do wine tasting and wine pairings. We have it set up with food, so every dish has one or maybe two wines that are specifically designed to be paired with that dish, to come to sort of like small plates, to come in with small plate cuisine experience. And we have the equivalent of a chef's table, which we call the vintner's table. You know, anywhere from eight people, up to 12 people. That can be four-course, five-course that are paired with our wines. So it really presents a real-world example of how the cuisine in the wines parallels each other.
"This place inspires me to come to work every day and look at this view is magical, and being able to pick things fresh from our chef's garden gives me even more respect for my ingredients and the environment." That's a direct quote from your chef. Ian Rynecki is one of the top catering chefs in New York. In Manhattan, he and his wife planned to leave Manhattan, will come down and settle into a quieter, smaller town for the next chapter in their lives. So I have a strong culinary team. Diane has three people working for her on the viticulture side, and we have a full garden. In the last two years, we've added on chickens, and we've got our bees. So we make our own honey, we've got chickens, and we've got gardens. So really, it's a complete story.
Whenever I go on vacation, and I visit someplace memorable, I love to bring back a little souvenir, a little reminder of the great time I had. And you've come upon a great idea.
We put together these terrific small glass bottles for people can custom select put wines they want to taste. We give them tasting notes and a card. And because they have these files, they can actually go, and they can self-determine how quickly they can try one and try the one next to it. And they come back to us, and they show us their notes. So again, it's about having an engaging experience where people feel like they're part of it. It's four bottles in this really cute little case. And we give them glasses, we give them the notes, and they can go out on a lawn, and they can do it. They can go down the garden and taste it. So it really just allows that allows them to control. So you are not standing in a bar with somebody talking to you. You really are able to experience it on your own. And then we check-in for any clarifications on what does it mean if you got a low acid wine? What does it mean if you've got something which is more robust on it was high with high tannins, that kind of stuff? It's been interesting how we have changed the model, focusing on it from what the customer experience would want to be and then how we can deliver that elevated customer experience.
Thank you for listening. I'm Forrest Kelly. This episode of The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast was produced by IHYSM. If you like the show, please tell your friends and pets and subscribe. Until next time pour the wine and ponder your next adventure.
Welcome to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast, I'm your host, Forrest Kelly. From the seed to the glass wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, GRAPE minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. Our featured winery is: We head to my hometown. It's where I grew up and at 10 years of age, delivering the Lewiston Morning Tribune newspaper spent many of Saturday mornings canvassing the neighborhood looking for lawn mowing and car washing jobs so that I could head to Lewis-Clark State College play pinball all day long. I also learned to hunt and fish accumulated hundreds of miles in the Army Corps of Engineer levee system. I also began my radio career here as a senior in high school and started working full-time at KOZE FM and AM. We head to the panhandle of Idaho to the city of Lewiston.
My name is Coco Umiker and I am a winemaker and co-owner of Clearwater Canyon Cellars.
Ok, Coco, you've really built Clearwater Canyon Cellars into something impressive and we'll get to that later. But where did this begin?
Well, it really started with my love of science and strangely, it stretches all the way back to when I was a little kid. But I was 11 years old. I had cancer. And that ended up, you know, I being in hospitals a lot and around medical people. And so when I took off for college, I'm much better now. I'm good. Got through it in good shape. But when I went off to college, I thought, you know what? I'm going to be a pediatric oncologist and the undergrad premed program at the University of Idaho. They encourage students to do a double major in microbiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. I got into it and I loved it.
Wow. That's very ambitious, microbiology, OK? I could see how that could dovetail into winemaking is Louis Pasteur. You're kind of originated that and then molecular biology, seeing how the biological activity in and between cells and then biochemistry, the processes with living organisms, I could see where that would be kind of all-consuming with your time and your thoughts and your studies. But I'm guessing that's not the course that you ended up taking
Partway through. I just realized that I wanted to do something more creative. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to be able to come back to my family farm in Lewiston and do something with that place. I never lived in Lewiston, I lived in Boise. I spent all my summers up in the Lewis and farm with my grandparents. And so I stayed in that degree and was just this hardcore science nerd. So University of Idaho and Washington State University are about eight miles apart in Washington State University is the leader in the northwest in terms of wine programs. And so it was very wonderful for me because I was able to actually cross some classes. And in the program over there, I was so sold. I mean, I just when I found and discovered fermentation and wine and all of that, I was like I knew that's what I wanted to do. I actually planted so my boyfriend at the time and I ended up becoming my husband he I second to last year of my undergrad. So I was two thousand three, asked my grandfather if we could plant a quarter acre of vines on the family farm down here, and he let us do it. And then in two thousand four, we started a winery in a garage.
So in two thousand four, you start the winery with your boyfriend at the time, Karl, who turns out to be your husband later to start the winery, because you've got all of these angel investors lined up and you've got all this money and you think it's a great idea. Let's start a winery. Right?
We had three other partners in the beginning of Clearwater Canyon because we were young and we had no money. At that point, Karl had paid off his student loans. You got a sweet deal. He actually grew up in Arkansas and his dad was a professor at the University of Arkansas in the music department. So he got a really great education for a little cheaper because he had a father that was faculty they gave, you know, children faculty a better deal. And so that was fantastic. So he was able to get a chemistry degree from the University of Arkansas and came out here to Idaho on a research assistantship to study soil science and earn his master's degree. And that's what I did at WSU. I was on a research assistantship. You're both able to kind of work on projects that in his case that the farming industry was really interested in. He did soils work and I was studying Brettanomyces, which was a hot topic in the wine world at the time.
In part two of our interview with Coco Umiker of Clearwater Canyon Cellars, we explore what she loves. Oh, my God. Yeah. I mean, I love.
Thank you for listening. I'm Forrest Kelly this episode of The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast was produced by IHYSM. If you like the show, please tell your friends and pets and subscribe until next time pour the wine, and ponder your next adventure.