On the occasion of his induction into the Vintners Hall of Fame, Joel Peterson sat down with the Press Democrat newspaper in Sonoma County to discuss his career and the impact it has had on the world of wine – in particular, on the world of Zinfandel.
Peterson, who co-founded Ravenswood Winery in 1976, is on just about every wine expert’s short list of Zinfandel stars. No wonder Constellation Brands was willing to pay him $148 million for Ravenswood back in 2001.
Peterson didn’t go away following the sale of his winery. In fact, he remains as head winemaker, helping assure that the winery doesn’t become “just a brand,” as has happened in so many winery sales through the years.
Following are a few excerpts from the Press Democrat’s interview with Peterson…
* On changes he has seen regarding Zinfandel: “These days, I almost never get a question about why my Zin is red and not white. I think the other change is that there is a position on almost all good restaurant lists for Zinfandel.”
* On why he focused on single-vineyard Zinfandel bottlings: “Great, highly respected wine is all about place. The greatest wines in the world demonstrate this. For Zinfandel to gain respect, it needed to reach this bar for unique, high-quality flavor of place.”
* On the most exciting part of being a winemaker: “The activities associated with being a winemaker – working in a beautiful place, working with great people, producing a beverage that is pleasing and healthful (in moderation), and sharing the synthesis of creativity and place that goes into every wine.”
You can read the newspaper’s full interview with new Hall of Famer Joel Peterson here: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110216/LIFESTYLE/110219676