Family Vineyard in Russian River Valley — Viszlay Vineyards

There are some real special things
happening in Sonoma and you need look no further than
Viszlay Vineyards [opening music] [opening music continues] [Martin] Well, thanks for having us out to
arguably one of the prettiest spots we’ve ever been to, but you’re not from
here so walk me through how this all came about. [John] Oh, sure Martin. Well thanks
for coming out it’s a pleasure to have you here. I remember when we first met a
little over five years ago I was in Chicago and decided to make a little
life change, change course and decided that I was going to leave the corporate world and come out and start a family brand and so I spoke with my son, my oldest son, and mentioned to him that was kind of what I wanted to do and he’s
like ‘absolutely I’ll do it with you’ and we partnered up right then and there and
it’s been a five year journey and things have been going quite well. [Martin] Well, and you were in the corporate world for a long time and got exposed to some great
wines and is that where the the love of wine really was planted? [John] Um it was, it was an evolution.
[Martin] Okay. [John] Um, you know I’d always enjoyed wines. Um, started off being a bit of a Pinot-file
[Martin] Okay [John] And uh, would always make trips out to buy Pinot’s out to wine country and that just kind of led into discovering all kinds of other wines that I enjoyed. And uh, we used to have to host dinner parties for clients [Martin] Sure
[John] And generally speaking as a host you end up ordering the wine and so I always
enjoyed that part of it and seemed as though most of the guests did enjoy the
wines as well. So I’m like, you know what maybe I have a decent palate
[Martin] Mm-hmm [John] And I’m gonna go try this wine thing. [Martin] So you make the journey out west and you pick a location and the location you’ve picked is really unique and just amazing but also what you have here with regards to the number of varietals in one location
is astounding. Share that with us. [John] It is. Well when we started on this journey we knew that there were a couple of things that were on our list. And one of them was to be in the Russian River Valley that was high for us We wanted to be able to produce premium Pinot’s and Chardonnays as well as a lot of other varietals.
And so discovering Healdsburg, and literally it was, I came out and would talk to people everywhere I went and said, ‘I’m thinking about getting into
my business who should I talk to’ and Joe would see go, say ‘go see Bob’ and Bob
would see, say ‘go see James’ and the next thing I knew I was pulling in the
driveway here, and found this was like coming home to me. [Martin] So everything is small lot, everything is estate fruit and you do it all yourselves? [John] Yes
[Martin] Very very impressive [John] Two chardonnays, we have the Pinot of course, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel.
I’ve got all five Bordeaux varietals growing here and we also have a little
bit of alicante bouchet which is a really fun grape, it’s one of the few that actually has red juice when you squeeze it. Um, and we also grow Prosecco, so a rare Italian varietal that I don’t believe is grown in very many places here. And we make a wonderful sparkling out of it
and uh, it’s quite nice. [Martin] well I think one of the things that is amazing in addition to the number of varietals
and the location, is that there’s still that that sense of place here and also
with your passion of giving back. So I know you’re involved in a couple
different programs and that’s one of the things that you liked about the Cellar
Angels format is the charitable component but also some of that, what is
it, the Vineyards.. [John] Vineyards 2 Villages is a program we got involved with last year. A group of us in the.. actually right here in the neighborhood got together and decided we’d try to make a difference in the world.
You know, we are so fortunate to be here to be able to do what we’re doing
and to be able to give back that’s pretty critical for us. And you know, it
helps me keep this big smile on my face. [Martin] Well good, that’s very very special. Should we taste some wine?
[John] Love to. [Martin] Awesome. Really a great time today to see everything that John is doing at Viszlay Vineyards. Do yourself a favor, come out
and see this special property. Thank you so much for all your support. [closing music]

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