Where highways 101 and 128 meet in northern Sonoma County, you’ll find the town of Cloverdale—population: 8,618.
Cloverdale is part of the Alexander Valley, home of Pick’s Drive-In and its red relish-topped hamburgers…the historic Gould-Shaw House Museum and its collection of memorabilia from the 19th and early 20th centuries…Cloverdale River Park, where you can launch a kayak or canoe…and Miroslav Tcholakov and his winery.
Because one of Tcholakov’s coveted wines will soon be featured in a shipment from the Élevant Society, I thought you might like to know a little bit about the man behind the wine.
Born and raised in northern Bulgaria, a region with many millennia of winemaking history, Tcholakov—who prefers to be called Miro—was exposed to wine and winemaking at a very early age. His grandfather had long made the family’s annual supply of wine, and as a boy, Miro was at his side during all phases of the process.
After completing his mandatory military service, Miro attended the Higher Institute of Agriculture in Plovdiv, where he studied viticulture and enology. Soon after graduation, in the summer of 1990, he was chosen from hundreds of candidates to participate in an international exchange program in agriculture set up by The Future Farmers of America. Destination: California’s Napa Valley.
After a few months in Napa, Miro was taken on as a harvest intern at Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Vineyard. What was supposed to be a temporary harvest job turned into a nine-year position as he moved up through the ranks from cellarmaster to assistant winemaker.
Then in 1998, Miro was hired as winemaker for Trentadue Winery—and that remains his “day job.” Miro has brought greater acclaim to Trentadue by crafting world-class, award-winning wines, and his duties include overseeing numerous “custom crush” operations for some renowned clients.
In 2001, Miro became his own custom crush “customer” with his inaugural bottling of Petite Sirah. Within a few weeks of its release, it received a 90-point rating from wine critic Robert Parker, and just like that, the brand enjoyed widespread credibility.
The Miro Cellars label, featuring “The Madara Horseman,” is based on a Bulgarian monument carved 23 meters above ground level in an almost-vertical hundred-meter-high cliff. This mysterious sculpture was created at the beginning of the 8th century during the birth of the Bulgarian nation, and the label thus pays homage to Miro’s homeland.
In his adopted homeland of northern Sonoma County, Miro searches the region for the finest grapes from a variety of vineyards in order to make his one-of-a-kind specialty wines. He considers the particular geology and seasonal climate variations of each vineyard when selecting the most interesting grapes the area has to offer.
Miro Tcholakov is a living, breathing, walking, talking example of the “American Dream,” a man who came to the United States eager to learn and with a willingness to work hard. He made an impact at Dry Creek Vineyard, he has taken Trentadue Winery to new heights, and he is achieving great things with his own brand.
(And here’s a culinary secret, little known outside of Cloverdale: Miro Cellars’ Piccetti Vineyard Zinfandel goes great with a Pick’s Drive-In burger…if you can resist the Pick’s root beer float.)
412 S. Franklin St.
Cloverdale, CA 95425