The Wine Down - Owner of Lone Madrone and Winemaker for Tablas Creek Neil Collins





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Published on Dec 14, 2011

Neil Collins is an incredibly gifted and intelligent winemaker and we are pleased to have him sit down and share some of his wisdom and experiences with us for this weeks show. Neil talks frankly about everything from blogging to farming. His passion for running a vineyard and making amazing wines shows through his quiet demeanor and witty remarks. All in all its another great episode that you're sure to enjoy and learn from.

Neil Collins is the winemaker for Tablas Creek and is the owner and winemaker for Lone Madrone out of Paso Robles, CA. Neil was born in Bristol, England where he was initially trained as a chef. On his entry into to America he found a connection to Paso Robles where he has worked for Adelaida Cellars as well as Wild Horse. In 1998 he was given the title of winemaker and Vineyard manager at Tablas Creek. Just prior to this assignment he spent a year in the Rhone Valley working and learning from one of the best, Chateau de Beaucastel.
Neil and his sister started Lone Madrone in 1996. At both wineries Neil has found a niche and skill in producing and supplying some of the best wines utilizing Rhone Valley varietals.


00:00 Intro
02:30 How did you go from being a chef in England to becoming a winemaker in California?
04:40 How and when did you know you were 'hooked?'
05:30 'At its essence its just farming.'
09:40 How did you learn how to farm?
12:03 When you first went to Chateauneuf du Pape did you have a job or were you knocking on doors again?
15:19 Coming back.
16:35 Tablas Creek and Lone Madrone websites And 'Conversations with a WineMaker.'
20:53 Tell us about the Tablas Roussanne.
23:45 Who make the decisions on all the different varietals that you grow and produce at Tablas?
27:05 Walk us through the mixing process.
28:53 You talk a lot about 'Hands off Winemaking.' What does that mean?
31:33 Have you ever used commercial yeast? Do you like native yeast more?
33:15 Dry farming.
34:50 How has working in the vineyard at Tablas Creek changed your perspective when working in the cellar?
37:25 Are you looking at going somewhere else?
38:08 Can you explain the quarantine process?
40:20 Tasting and talking about Lone Madrone's Points West White. How do you manage your time between the two wineries?
42:49 'A lot of people drinking Rhone varietals.' 'Isn't that cool?'
46:15 Why is West Paso so conducive to these types of wines and how does that play into your success with wine from the region?
50:20 Tasting and talking about Tablas Creek's Esprit de Beaucastel 2009.
52:00 Why has it been a struggle and fight for Winemakers and wines from the Paso area to get recognized for being great?
53:15 What is the goal with this wine?
55:25 Tablas and Lone Madrone tasting rooms.
56:07 How did you decide to work with your sister and how is that working out?
57:45 Tasting and talking about Lone Madrone's The Will: 1st vintage.
1:00:54 Who have been your primary mentors?
1:02:10 Tasting and talking about Lone Madrone's Bristol's Hard Apple Cider.
1:05:15 Wrap Up.


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