The American AgCredit Sweepstake Winemaker Award is awarded to the winemaker that produces a sweepstake wine award at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Winemaker and V.P. Production
Arnaud Weyrich began his career at Roederer Estate after he graduated in 1993 from the prestigious Montpellier school, “Ecole Supérieure d’Oenologie - ENSA-M” with a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology. After beginning his relationship with the House of Roederer, Arnaud then returned to France and took a position with “Croupe Promodes” where he managed all quality control issues for its beverages under the company’s private label mainly focusing on fruit juices, Champagnes, Port wines and spirits. He has also held the position in Reims as Chief Technical Officer in charge of Development for Champagne Louis Roederer.
With his passion for the wine industry and an interest in moving back to a smaller company, Arnaud happily returned to Roederer Estate in the millennium year with his wife and two children. Today, Arnaud continues the 200-year old traditional winemaking techniques so important to the house style of Champagne Louis Roederer.Sweepstake Winner, Sparkling:
Geyser Peak Winery
It must have been Fate. Despite a family legacy, it was not in Mick Schroeter's plans to pursue employment at Penfolds, where both his father and uncle had worked as winemakers. But in 1982, Kaiser Stuhl, where Mick worked as an enologist, was purchased by the preeminent Australian winery. Mick’s winemaking education at the famed Roseworthy College was sponsored by Penfold’s. He was quickly promoted to the exclusive red winemaking team where he worked with Daryl Groom on the legendary Grange.
In 1992, Mick won a Penfold’s scholarship trip. He joined his friend, Daryl Groom, to work a harvest in California. This led to an invitation to join Geyser Peak as winemaker. Included in Mick's many achievements at Geyser Peak Winery are the back-to-back trophies in 1998 and 1999 Winemaker of the Year, as well as Geyser Peak Winery winning Winery of the Year (1998) and Best U.S. Wine Producer (2003) at the prestigious London International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Now in the thirteenth-year anniversary of his relocation to California, Mick has no plans to go anywhere else. He lives in Geyserville with his wife Linda and their children, Matilda, Sadie.
Sweepstake Winner, White:
Anyone who knows Windsor Vineyards winemaker Toni Stockhausen will come to believe that winemaking talent must be in the blood – a native of Australia, Toni is the daughter of legendary Lindemans winemaker, Karl Stockhausen.
After graduation from Sydney’s Macquarie University, Toni worked in the lab at Lindemans, then spent two years working at wineries in Europe before returning to Australia to earn a degree in winemaking. Luckily for Windsor Vineyards, Toni moved to California in 1999. Under Toni’s direction, the tradition of Windsor Vineyards’ award-winning wine portfolio continues.
Windsor Vineyards is America’s oldest and largest direct-to-consumer winery. For the past 20 years, it has also consistently been one of the top award-winning wineries in the United States. Windsor Vineyards’ expertise is customizing wine labels with an individual’s personal inscription, photograph or artwork, or even a company logo.
Sweepstake Winner, White:
B.R. Cohn Winery
Tom credits his love of winemaking to his upbringing in a picturesque central California farming community in a home where good food and wine were a way of life. These formative years have set the stage for an evolutionary path towards his winemaking career.
“Our winemaking philosophy, Tom says, “is to produce wine that is an expression of all the wonderful character of the fruit and then marry this character with the best French oak.”
In the vineyard, Tom works intimately with each block, farming by taste. With a focus on balanced flavors, Tom picks some blocks vine by vine, taking into consideration the differences in terrior. He requires thinning of both canopy and crop one vine at a time; grapes are picked only by hand. Treating the grapes with the utmost respect and a delicate touch produces wines of elegance and quality.
Tom loves the hands-on nature of winemaking and is committed to making the absolute best wines possible of the Olive Hill Estate Vineyards at B.R Cohn Winery.
Sweepstake Winner, Red:
Flying Goat Cellars
A native of Seattle, winemaker Norman Yost brings a passion for Pinot Noir and a wealth of experience to Flying Goat Cellars. Norman has been in the winemaking business for over twenty five years, beginning his career in the famed Napa Valley and then continually moving up through the ranks at various wineries in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Western Australia and the Russian River of Sonoma County, CA.
Norm was offered an opportunity to be an integral part of a team that was developing the new Foley Estates Vineyards and Winery project in the Santa Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County, and that was when Norm moved to Santa Barbara County in 1998. In 2000 Norm decided to develop his own label, and crushed his first fruit with the 2000 harvest. Norm wanted the brand to reflect a sense of fun in conjunction with making and selling wine. “The way that our industry talks about wine is intimidating to many people” states Norm. “People should simply enjoy the deliciousness that a wine can bring to the table and just have a good time”. With this mission of merriment in mind an pondering a name for the winery, he decided to take the path of many vintners and name the winery after his “kids”. The kids, in this case, were his two pygmy goat pets, who inspired him with “their unrestrained spiral loops, flipper turns and straight-legged leaps”. The winery was launched with same spirit of enthusiasm, and Flying Goat Cellars was born.
Sweepstake Winner, Red:
Navarro Vineyards was established in 1974 by Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn in the fog draped hills of the Anderson Valley. It is best known for making distinctive Pinot Noir and Alsacian style wines. Jim Klein joined Navarro Vineyards in 1992 after working at wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley, New Zealand, Napa Valley and in the Golan Heights. In 2002 Jim was named “Winemaker of the Year” by The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. Navarro Vineyards sells most of its production directly to customers through its catalogue (1-800-537-9463) or via the internet at www.NavarroWine.com.
The Anderson Valley sits close to the Mendocino coast and is probably the coldest grape- growing region of California. To stay on top of it, Jim Klein lives in a house, with his wife Rinat and three children, on a ridgeline, in the coldest part of this coldest region. From his perch at 1,000 feet, he could look down on the rolling 950-acre domain that forms Navarro.
"If you live in the place where the grapes are growing, you have a much different feel for what's driving the vineyards," he says, sitting at a picnic table outside the winery, pointing to his speck of a house up on Clow Ridge. Klein doesn't consider himself just a winemaker, but rather a wine grower.
Sweepstake Winner, Dessert/Specialty: