Randall Grahm and Natural Wines…On Oprah?

In the past few months Bonny Doon winemaker Randall Grahm has been popping up quite a bit, from the blogging community all the way to the New York Times. Now, his pursuit of a small scale winery has truly hit the bigtime, landing him the biggest marketing oppurtunity imaginable, The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Note: This will air the 21st of May

Grahm has been described as a lot of things, from innovator of California wines to crass marketer whose ideas on branding hurt wine in California. His newest venture has come under discussion as well, is his new focus on biodynamics and natural winemaking simply another marketing ploy to be abandoned when it falls out favor from overexposure, or a genuine attempt to reclaim California wine from the invasive techniques that have rendered it so sterile? Does it even matter? Now that Grahm is taking his new philosophy to the mass market are we about to see a sea change in winemaking in America for the better, or is “natural wines” going to become the next marketing jargon that is thrown about with little respect to actual farming and winemaking, and more importantly the quality of the wines.

i would love to know what you think so if you haven’t commented here before, please feel free to do so. (i’ll keep my thoughts to myself for now, i would rather have some good feedback first)

Twitter feedback:

@nebbiolata “yes, I wonder if it’ll look something like industrial organic?”

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~ by Cory Cartwright on May 19, 2009.

7 Responses to “Randall Grahm and Natural Wines…On Oprah?”

  1. his wines are bullshit, that’s how i feel about that guy talking about biodynamic and using selected yeasts, oak chips and whatever else he feels like using to produce a very californian, boring fucking wine!

  2. oh, and it’s of course not a surprise that he’s ending up on oprah, i mean, what the fuck does she understand about wine? probably nothing….what does she understand about marketing? probably a lot more, just like mr Bonny doon….

  3. I think that the only seachange we’ll see will be in the wines of Bonny Doon. I think that Randall has gone in this direction because he thinks that it’s what he SHOULD be doing. I think it was during a Q/A session 3-4 years ago that Corie Brown impertinently asked him why he talked a better game than the resulting wines would indicate (or words to that effect). I think that the question resonated in his head for awhile and then he commenced to downsize Bonny Doon and make it manageable (and biodynamic).

    Nowadays, I think that Grahm is walking it like he talks it and the wines are improving (the Albariño is definitely off to a great start). It will take awhile for the vineyards to sort themselves out and his winemaking regiment to come into play, but I like what I’ve tasted since he’s begun making the changes.

  4. [...] Randall Grahm and Natural Wines…On Oprah? [...]

  5. the guy is an open book. he talked openly to us about winemaking and gave us tons of pearls or wisdom. he cringed at the thought of hungarian oak. my guess is that he is genuine in his pursuits of good wine and money. he knows his shit and he’s a good egg. he’s not dogmatic like a lot of the naturalites (sounds like a beer).
    this does not take away from the fact that oprah is a fat fucking cow who has too much money and no clue.

  6. It’s through the efforts of opportunistic marketing buttheads that little guys have hope for their “real” products in these obscure marketing corners. There’s a place for everyone. Love ‘em for being on national TV explaining something to the masses that wasn’t previously understood. Next the true artisans can step forward, however un-skilled at marketing, to the podium of conflict the media craves and they can voice their case to a world that will listen to their rebutals.

    Heck, it got a blog post here, didn’t it? Now we have something to comment on. The natural wine movement has very valid side. Check it out.

  7. [...] be selling it to us, right? Right!? Wrong. It makes money, it’s a fad, it’s been on Oprah, so they sell [...]

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