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Big Dreamers: David Bradley, Vindemia Winery

Monday, May 26th, 2014

In the fourth installment of our continuing blog series “Big Dreamers,” we sat down with Temecula Valley veteran David Bradley who knows the vineyard landscape better than anyone else – from the air.  Long-time hot air balloon pilot and talented winemaker, David landed in Temecula Valley in 1985 and operates two successful enterprises on the same property. Learn about his story as a boutique California winemaker and balloon enthusiast below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they’ve come from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker David Bradley, Vindemia Winery

1.    What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

I was introduced to the world of hot air balloons in 1977. In 1985, my wife Gail & I moved to California and started California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures in the world’s most perfect weather. The next year we began flying in Temecula, CA, over wine country. There were eight wineries and one was for sale. I just didn’t have the money.

2.      What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

The winery started out just as a vineyard. If we owned a vineyard in a great location we could launch the balloons from the site and bring our guests back to the vineyard for breakfast. One day, I landed at this super-cool Provence-styled villa in the valley and was greeted by the owner. She was very nice and I asked if I could land here and visit again. The second time, I asked if she would ever sell her home. Four years later, I got a call asking if I would be interested in purchasing the house and winery site. That’s how Vindemia started.

3.      What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?  Were they way off or right on?

Winemaking is a contagious chess game pitting hopeful players against Mother Nature.  The truth to the myth is, 50 days each fall season with no sleep, 2:00am start times and mumbling pH, TA figures while recounting Brix over and over. You begin to feel like a pawn.

4.      People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

Winemaking is like all the arts – the project is never perfect. Sometimes it’s what’s not done that best finishes the structure; and the results haunt you, both good and bad.

5.      What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

Least favorite is guests mistaking us as glamorous and missing the invitation to land on the farm and share in the pleasure of the fruit. And, the reason to get up… to see if Mother Nature moved her knight!

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

 

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Big Dreamers: Mike Rennie & Gary Winder, Leoness Cellars

Monday, April 28th, 2014

In the third installment of our new blog series “Big Dreamers,” we interview veteran wine experts and longtime partners Mike Rennie and Gary Winder, owners of Leoness Cellars on De Portola Road in Temecula Valley. When Mike and Gary founded their winery in 2003, they chose the name Leoness Cellars, which means “village of dreams” in Gaelic.

Farming citrus and avocados in the region as far back as the 1970’s, Gary teamed with up with fellow farmer and friend Mike to begin their viticulture journey in 1990.  They opened the first version of the tasting room in 2003 and the upgraded edition in 2006.  Now one of the most beloved and picturesque wineries in Temecula Valley, Leoness focuses on top quality wines, sustainable practices in the vineyards and first-class service in their tasting room and restaurant.

Photo Credit: Touring & Tasting

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they’ve come from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker Mike Rennie, Leoness Cellars

1.  What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

Gary Winder and I have been farming in Temecula for many years. We farm not only wine grapes but citrus and avocados. This harvest will be Gary’s 64th.

2.  What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

Most wineries come from farming families. We truly wanted to taste the fruits of our labors so Leoness came about. And we wanted the world to know that Temecula Valley and the South Coastal region are as good as anywhere in the world to farm premium wine grapes.

 

3.  What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?

We didn’t have too many allusions of grandeur. As hard working farmers and having been around the industry for decades we knew the back side, so to speak. It all adds up to hard work, quality control and a lot of sweat.

 

4.  People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

There is a glamour side to wine. There is the romance that goes along with fine wine, great food and times with those you love. We love sharing these things with friends and wine club members. It still comes down to working in the dirt and hot sun, and attention to detail to grow the finest premium wine grapes. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

 

5.  What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

My least favorite thing is when things don’t go right in our customer service area. We know there is no perfection, but that is what we attain to. When for some reason we miss the mark, it’s disappointing. What makes us the happiest is when we can share the perfect wine experience with our guests.

 

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

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http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365

Subscribe to VisitCA channel:
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