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Growing Diamonds

CONTINUATION OF our interview with
Rudy von Strasser of von Strasser Winery

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PART 3: The von Strasser Reserve Wines. What makes them so special?

APJ: Let’s talk about your reserve wine. The one with all the Petit Verdot in it. It sure blew people away at MacArthur last month.

RvS: The reserve wine is kind of an interesting concept.

     As a winemaker, every time you sit down and make blends, there is a financial reality...you have to make enough wine for you to earn a living. I would never buy a bottle of wine from someone who said they’re not making any money on it. Just like I wouldn’t buy a car from someone who said they’re not making any money on the sale of the car.

     That’s the driving force in any business. There’s got to be a profit margin to make it interesting for someone. And if there’s not, then in my opinion there’s probably not enough emphasis in the long term for someone to produce a really great wine. That’s what drives a great wine. There are other things that go along with it, but I think there has to be an economic stimulus.

"When I make my Diamond Mountain blend...I already kick out at least 30% of my wine. But I still need to make a certain amount to make this property work."

     When I make my Diamond Mountain Cab...I already kick out at least 30% of my wine. Sometimes 40% doesn’t make it into my blend. Because I am trying to make the best wine I can off my property.

     But I still need to make a certain amount of wine to make this property work. So there are things that push me -- beyond the desire simply to make the best wine I can.

     And that happens at any winery. At Newton, at Trefethen, at Lafite --you don’t sit there and say "We’re only going to bottle ten barrels, because that’s the best wine, and the rest is going to go down the drain."

"Still, the other side of you is saying, ‘Gee, I’ve got this unbelievable lot here. What if...?’ Every winery does that, but most of them never get released."

     Still, as a winemaker, the other side of you is saying, "Gee, I’ve got this unbelievable lot here and another one there. What if I made just two or three barrels of this unbelievable wine?"

     Every winery does that, but most of them never get released. At Newton, we made a wine every year that internally we called "the Ultra Wine." I’m not sure if it was ever released or what it was called if it was. It wasn’t a marketing term, but that was the cellar name for it.

APJ: Actually, I think it’s a pretty cool marketing term!

RvS: It is cool. I thought about using it once, but I don’t know...too pretentious.

     Anyhow, that wine at Newton was invariably more Merlot-based than my wine here. Because at Newton, the focus was really on Merlot. But the first wine anybody ever reached for in the making of this Ultra...was the Petit Verdot.

     You have ten or fifteen bottles in front of you which represent all your favorite lots in the winery. And the darkest, the most concentrated, the most interesting of them all was always the Petit Verdot. Not that it necessarily would make such a great wine on its own, but...it’s just such a neat wine. And it’s so different than most of the other Bordeaux grapes.

     At Newton, even in the Ultra blends, Petit Verdot was a reasonably small percentage. Maybe five or ten percent.

     But my feeling always was, "Gee, I would like to make a wine based around this. Maybe not 50% of the stuff. But how about if we really try to capture this characteristic that always draws winemakers to this wine?"

APJ: So what is this characteristic?

RvS: Well...it’s like when you’re tasting Syrahs. The favorite Syrah of the tasting groups at wineries is always going to be the Sean Thackery Orion. Because it’s black and inky and thick. Maybe it’s not the greatest wine to drink. But if you’re a winemaker, you’ve got to appreciate that wine.

"So I took about 3/4 of an acre here -- a terraced, hillside block -- and planted Petit Verdot from cuttings I took from Newton."

     And that’s sort of what the Petit Verdot is like to me. So when we moved up here, I took 3/4 of an acre -- a terraced, hillside block -- and planted Petit Verdot from cuttings I took from Newton. And the goal was, really, to try and make a bottling based on that.

APJ: Did you plant the Petit Verdot in 1990 or graft it over?

RvS: I planted it in 1990. So it’s a pretty young vineyard. But Petit Verdot clusters are very small and the crop is very light. And it just has a certain intensity to it at a young age.

     By the way, I’m never against young vines. The concept that an older vineyard is bound to make a better wine is ridiculous. It’s something owners of old vineyards use in marketing, because they’ve got it.

APJ: Explain what you mean.

"The very fact that a vineyard is 80 years old is partially due to the fact that it was making good wine when it was 10, 20 and 30 years old"

RvS: It’s a theory I have. I don’t know if I’m right or not but...well, people always think that old vineyards make better wine. You look at these century-old Zinfandel vineyards, right?

     But how did they get so old? Well, I think the reason is -- they were making great wine when they were 20 years old. So when the owner had to decide whether to keep them or not, he kept them.

     If that vineyard wasn’t making good wine when it was young, it would have been pulled out! And if it wasn’t making good wine as a younger vineyard -- the fact that it got older wouldn’t help it make good wine.

     So the very fact that a vineyard is 80 years old is partially due to the fact that it was making good wine when it was 10, 20 and 30 years old. And I’ve made many wines in my years in California from one or two-year-old vines that are unbelievable. In fact, sometimes the first couple of crops off a vineyard are the best.

     And sometimes the quality goes down as the vines get older. Sometimes as vines get older, or find their own water in the ground, or the root systems become very developed, the wine quality goes down. That’s why you’ll see a great estate dip in quality sometimes. As a vineyard manager, you have to analyze and farm vines differently as they age.

APJ: Getting back to your Reserve wine. Do you think the soil in that block has anything to do with its character?

RvS: Something. This block was an odd spot on the old vineyard. When Bill Roddis originally cleared the hillside, rather than burning all the scrub, he just pushed it into one corner of the vineyard and just left it there.

     So when I bought the property, there were these huge piles of brush which were years old. And all the topsoil around the piles had been eroded away. Because he just never bothered to seed it or terrace it. You walked this stuff and it was hard, it was white ash, it was rocky -- it was just nasty looking.

     So we took that area, we burned the piles, we ripped the soil, we picked up rocks and we terraced it. And we planted into it. The vines took a little while to get established, but they’re doing quite well up there.

APJ: Your trellising there looks a little unusual to me.

RvS: Petit Verdot is a very vigorous variety in general. And to grow it in most soil conditions, you have to leave a lot of buds to slow down the vigor of the vine. It’s a lot like Cabernet Franc in that way. So I put a special trellis system into this spot. It’s called TK2T and it’s a New Zealand system designed to leave a lot of buds on the vine.

     But you know what? I found the soil was so poor up there that I can’t leave half the buds that a TK2T trellis allows to grow. So I’ve got this weird trellising system up there that isn’t really doing me justice, because I’m cutting off half the shoots anyway. It’s too big of a trellis system.

     So, what I’m saying is -- the site is very important, because it’s a de-vigorating site. My Petit Verdot is one third to one quarter of the vigor that Newton or anyone else has from the same variety.

"I only try to make about 100 cases of the Reserve. It’s not a culling of all the best lots."

APJ: What’s the size of your production for the 1997 Reserve?

RvS: I only try to make about 100 cases of the Reserve. I don’t want to ever take away enough wine to interfere with the Cabernet blend. The von Strasser Estate Cabernet is what we’re here for, it’s what we’re known for and I don’t ever want that to change.

     The Reserve is not a culling of all the best lots. It’s a special winemaker goal of taking this Petit Verdot and building a wine around it. To highlight some of the characteristics of the Petit Verdot, but make it complex and elegant.

     The blend that I used in the last few years is 40% Petit Verdot, 40% Cabernet and 20% Merlot. So it actually has as much Cabernet as Petit Verdot.

     And I only make 4 to 6 barrels of it, because I don’t want to take very much of the best stuff away from the Cabernet blend. Plus, the Petit Verdot is an important part of the Cabernet blend, although a smaller percentage, and I don’t want to use it all up in the Reserve.

Part 4. What makes a wine ageable?

APJ: How do you think your Reserve will age?

RvS: We are trying to make the Reserve elegant. All of my wines have a certain balance and drinkability.

     One of the things I learned at Lafite is that a wine that ages well is not necessarily a wine that hits you over the head with tannin when it’s young. It’s quality of tannins, balance, acidity, length of finish -- those things are important.

     And a little bit of luck. You know, at Lafite, we drank a lot of old wines when I was there. Whenever Eric Rothschild had a party, the head of the kitchen would bring us all the partials that were left over. This is going back to the 1800s. And half the wines were great -- and half the wines were over the hill, even at 15 years old. Same vineyard blocks, made the same way.

     The ageability of a wine is always partly a matter of luck. I’ve bought plenty of wines thinking they’re going to age well and they don’t. And I’ve opened up plenty of bottles wondering "what the heck is this thing doing in my cellar," and they were great. As I’m sure you have.

     Our society always wants to define everything, because we’re scientific. But the reason a wine ages is very hard to define.

APJ: What’s your typical production size for the Diamond Mountain Cab?

RvS: We’re up to about 2,000 cases a year now, with the ‘97 and ‘98 vintages and beyond. The vintage we’re selling now is 1996 and that’s a tiny vintage. Only 1,200 cases.

APJ: So the ‘98 vintage was bigger than the ‘96 vintage.

RvS: Yes, 1996 was very small, but our first vintage was just 700 cases. So look where we were!

APJ: What’s your goal?

     We cleared 5 acres last year. But at full production, our property would have had the ability to make about 3,000 cases even without those 5 new acres. So maybe, with this new acreage, we’ll be able to make closer to 4,000 cases. And if we do, the Reserve blend will get a little bigger also. But at this point it’s very tiny.

Part 5. Where do you stand on hillside planting regulations?

APJ: I wanted to talk a little about hillside planting regulations.

RvS: I’m all in favor of it. Very important. At the same time, I’m all in favor of hillside farming.

     If you don’t have a hillside ordinance, what you get is a lot of people who just go out there and doze the land. And they don’t have deep enough pockets or a long enough game plan to be able to take care of that property in a husband-like manner.

     A hillside ordinance forces you to have an erosion control plan -- which you never had to do in the old days. And it forces you to have one that works. With the right sized pipes. And the right-sized inlets. And the right-sized slopes on the terraces. And that’s expensive.

"A hillside vineyard is a thing that you’ve got to be out there taking care of every winter."

     So the ordinance effectively takes anyone who can’t afford it out of the clearing business. In a way, that’s not very American. But a hillside vineyard is a thing that you’ve got to be out there taking care of every winter. Making sure your drains are open. Making sure your cover crop is planted. Instead of discing, which is cheaper, we have to go out there and weed-whack by hand.

     You have to farm it differently and it’s more expensive. But it takes more care to keep it from sliding away. If a hillside is taken care of properly, there’s very little negative impact to the environment.

APJ: That being said, does the ordinance limit you from planting any areas on your own property where you’d like to be growing?

RvS: No, not really. We’ve gotten what we need through the process. We did that last year and got permission to plant. And I’m glad I put money into it and did it right. Because we had pretty bad winter this year and virtually no problems.

APJ: I notice that you’re planting in between some of the old rows now. Are you doing that everywhere?

RvS: Yes, we plant the inside and outside of each terrace. In the old days, people used to plant only on the outside. Now we plant both sides. And on the flat spaces, where you don’t need terraces, now we plant very tight rows.

APJ: What kind of spacing are you looking at now?

RvS: My favorite spacing is six feet between the rows and four feet between the vines. I’ve got a four-foot tractor and six feet is the narrowest I can farm. If I had a small block somewhere, it wouldn’t hurt to go tighter, but at some point you have to have equipment to deal with it.

Part 6: What’s so great about unfiltered wine?

APJ: Let’s talk about winemaking now. I know you make unfiltered wines. Why? When did you develop that philosophy?

RvS: I developed that thinking at Newton. To make red wine the way I think it needs to be made, there’s just no reason to filter.

     Sure, sometimes you have to filter. If you make a white wine that you want to release early, like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling, or something else that’s only going to be in the winery for five to six months...there’s no way you’re going to get that wine to be not cloudy without filtering out the suspended particles. So filtration is great, for those wines.

     You can’t really make a Riesling without filtering. Just about every great Riesling in the world has been filtered.

"I really don’t think filtration hurts a wine. That’s a myth. But the way we make red wine, there’s no reason to filter..."

     And, by the way, I really don’t think filtration hurts a wine. That’s a myth.

     But we make red wine in a style where we rack every 3 months. Racking is important for a red wine for many reasons. And it’s in barrel for basically 2 years.

     By the time the wine is ready to bottle, there’s nothing left to filter. The last few racks, for that matter, are basically brilliantly clear. You’ve removed all the sediment by racking.

     And because of that -- if you make red wine the way we make red wine -- there is no reason to filter.

     Now if you felt there was a bacterial problem or a potential refermentation later down the road -- you gotta filter! It would be terrible to have a wine start fermenting in the bottle.

     But we have quite clean winemaking. And we’re very sure that all the fermentation is finished. By the end of harvest, even. So why should I filter?

     I think if I had to filter the wine I could probably do it in a way that didn’t affect the wines adversely. But filtering definitely isn’t going to help my wines, so why do it?

     Unfortunately, I think people are just looking at the act of filtering. And they make too much of it. You won’t make better wine by simply not filtering.

"When you’re striving not to filter...it leads you to a winemaking style where you make better wines. The important thing isn’t the filtration. It’s the winemaking that gets you there."

     But when you’re striving not to filter...it leads you to a winemaking style where you make better wines. The important thing isn’t filtration. It’s the winemaking that gets you there.

APJ: Can you ever ruin a wine by filtering?

RvS: Occasionally. No question about it. But I think the majority of filtrations add a characteristic that for most people would be unnoticeable. Most of the great wines of the world are filtered.

     It’s also unfortunate that the word "unfiltered" has become a marketing term. It’s buzzword. They’re using that now to sell wine that isn’t very high in quality.

Part 7: How do you tame those famous Diamond Mountain tannins?

APJ: Before I tasted your wines, I frankly didn’t have the patience to buy Diamond Mountain wines. The tannins were just so ferocious. What do you do that makes your wines so supple?

RvS: It comes back to tasting the fruit. We don’t pick our vineyard until we feel that the tannins in the grapes are mature.

     When I taste the grapes, I actually spit out the middle of the grape -- because that’s where the sugar is and 24% sugar can mask a lot of things. But you spit out the sweet part and chew and chew and chew the skins as you walk along. That’s where all the tannins are. And you can tell the difference between a very green, immature tannin and a mature tannin -- which has a much softer, rounder feel to it.

     So we only pick grapes when we’re sure the tannins are mature. Regardless of pH, regardless of Brix, regardless of any other variable in the vineyard. Because those other variables can all be dealt with in one way or another.

     Too many people in the ‘80s and ‘70s were picking because of pH. They thought the acid would make sure you had a stable wine. That may be the case, but you can always add acid to the must, or to the finished wine.

     But if you’re going to pick your grapes when the tannins are immature and the flavors aren’t developed -- what do you have? You have a good pH but nothing else!

     So that’s a major part of making an elegant wine. The other part is aerating the wine a lot when it’s young. Both during fermentation and when its aging in barrels. We add a lot of oxygen and aerate the wine a lot.

     And the maceration period -- the length of time we keep the wine on the skins during fermentation. That’s very important. The tannins definitely develop while in the tank. So you have to taste all the time it’s there.

     But I don’t taste every day -- I taste every other day. The changes are subtle and if you taste every day, you don’t notice the difference. It’s kind of like, you never see your kid growing, but if you go away for a week and come back...wow, that kid is big.

"I’ve developed a system where I can drain my free-run juice without ever touching the skins."

     I’ve also developed a special way of draining our tanks so that we can extract the free run juice without ever touching the skins.

     Because, when you’re checking the tannin levels, what you’re tasting is the free run juice. And if you don’t drain the tank the right way -- well, you’re not getting what you tasted.

     So I put a stainless steel screen mesh behind my bottom valve -- and I’ll drain my tank for 24 hours by gravity. Just letting it drip, drip, drip into another tank, without ever disturbing the skins.

     By the time the tank has drained for 24 hours, I’ve actually extracted the same free-run fraction as another winery would by doing it the old-fashioned way.

APJ: Okay, what’s the old-fashioned way?

RvS: In the old-fashioned way, a winery would just drain the tank for an hour or two, until it stops flowing quickly. Then they push the skins into the press with some of the free run -- and they press lightly. And any juice they squeeze up to a certain pressure would still be considered free-run.

     But my feeling is, after 3 or 4 weeks in the tank, the skins are ready to fall apart. They’ve been in an alcoholic solution for weeks. If you touch the skins they’ll pulverize in your hand.

     So if you shovel, sluice or even touch those skins, you’re going to extract hard tannins. So that’s why I’ve developed a system where I can drain my free-run juice without ever touching the skins.

APJ: What do you do with the press fraction?

RvS: Almost all of it goes into Freestone. The von Strasser is initially only free run. Later on, when I evaluate the wine, I may add a barrel of press wine to the blend.

APJ: How much new oak do you use?

RvS: For our main Cabernet blend, we use 50% new barrels every year. And for the Reserve, we use 100% new barrels. It shows how intense the fruit in the Reserve is, because that wine is not at all oaky.

APJ: No, it isn’t. What kind of flavors are you driving for?

RvS: One of our goals at von Strasser is to have the fruit and the vineyard terroir characteristics to be the predominant aroma and flavor.

     I want our wines to smell like cassis and brambles and blueberries. All those wonderful things. I don’t want it to smell like toast. Wine writers tend to like toast, but we make wine for consumers.

Part 8. The 1998 vintage...and coming soon, The Diamond Cartel!

APJ: Describe the ‘98 vintage for us.

RvS: The nightmare vintage. Well, it’s funny.

     During the last two weeks, I’ve done a lot of tasting of the ‘98s with other winemakers. And I’m finding that I had a bleaker image of the wines than they really deserve.

APJ: The tastings I did last month convinced me that ‘98 is pretty darned good.

RvS: Well, it was a very hard vintage. It was a very late bud break. Just like 1999 -- we’re just starting to see bud break now [note, the interview was conducted on 4/14/99].

     It was a vintage of mixed fruit set. Some vineyards set really well, but some vineyards set terribly. Some people will tell you they had very low yields -- and some say they had pretty good yields. I don’t think anybody had exceptionally high yields.

     The summer had some unbelievable heat waves. I think we had one heat wave which hit about 115 degrees [Fahrenheit] in most of Napa Valley. And it stunted and scorched a lot of vines. Shriveled a lot of leaves. Sunburned a lot of fruit.

     I mean, the average temperature for the season was pretty normal. But this one particular heat wave did a lot of damage.

     And the Cabernet harvest was unbelievably late! For whatever reason, the vintage never caught up. You would think that the heat waves might speed things along, but the fact is that vines shut down after 90-92 degrees. They just don’t do anything.

     Up here, we picked most of our property at the end of October to the beginning of November.

APJ: But isn’t a late harvest supposed to be good?

RvS: The problem is, by that time, the nights are very cold. And there was a little water on the ground, from some of the rains we had.

"Cabernet doesn’t get rot -- but at some point the vines start shutting down. You have a hard time ripening the fruit. What scared me was that it took an awfully long time to get there."

     Now Cabernet doesn’t get rot, so you don’t have to worry about rot -- but at some point the vines start shutting down. And you have a hard time ripening the fruit.

     We did finally reach the sugars we wanted here. We picked pretty much in the low to mid 24s [as measured in degrees Brix]. But what scared me was that it took an awfully long time to get there. And we kept asking ourselves, "are the vines going to make it?"

     Rather than picking in the cool of the morning, we picked in the heat of the day to try to allow the sun to boost the sugar a little bit higher. And we were under the gun, trying to get it in before winter really hit.

     That’s very untypical for us, because we’re on a relatively hot spot on Diamond Mountain. We’re south-facing. And normally our vines just fly to ripeness.

     Anyhow -- as I tasted the wines early on, they didn’t seem to have the intensity of color or character that I remembered in the fermenter. And that was my early impression of the vintage. It was okay, but not super.

     But now I’ve done four blind tastings with other winemakers. I’ve taken my Cabernet and my Reserve from ‘96, ‘97 and ‘98 -- and I’ve tasted them all in a setting where I don’t know which is which. And I can’t pick them out.

APJ: Well, that’s kind of how I felt too.

RvS: Yes, and that’s why I do blind tastings. When I taste lots that are identified, I find that my same comments often come up every time. But some of that probably comes from my preconception of the wine.

     So you see, it’s not easy for us either sometimes!

     I still wouldn’t say 1998 is the best year we’ve had. I’ll say it’s a good year -- on par with the average we’ve seen in the ‘90s.

APJ: What do you think your best vintages have been?

RvS: My favorite wine I’ve ever made is the 1991. The ‘94, ‘95 and ‘96 are all super.

     I don’t know -- you know, they’re all pretty good! The ‘93 is a pretty light wine for us, but it’s a wine I just love having with dinner these days. It’s not our most intense wine, but it’s a wonderful wine on its own.

     Again, it all comes down to this. If you put wines together -- as a winemaker or a wine judge -- we always pick out the darkest, most intense wine as the best wines. But is that going to be your favorite wine to drink for dinner? I don’t know.

     All of our wines are well-balanced, they’re all still very fruity and none of them are even close to being over the hill. Some are big and broody, some are elegant and full of finesse, and it’s okay to be either.

APJ: Before we let you go -- are there any exciting plans for the future you’d like to talk about?

RvS: Yes! Let me tell you about The Diamond Cartel project.

     Now that we’ll have an AVA, we are hoping to make more Diamond Mountain designated wines. We feel that we know this area very well and that we’re as suited as anybody, if not more so, to make great wines from Diamond Mountain.

     So we increased our winery permit to 10,000 cases this year, just for that goal. This November, we’re going to be digging a cave behind our hills, which can hold 10,000 cases worth of wine.

     We want to attract some of these smaller, high quality plantings from Diamond Mountain. We’re trying to get them to bring us their grapes -- either sell the grapes to us or do something with us as a partnership. And we’ll make wines out of their vineyards and give their vineyards a designation.

     I want to keep the von Strasser name separate from that. We’ve spent 10 years building up the von Strasser identity and I think people know that von Strasser is our estate wine. So I don’t want to take my existing label and all of a sudden have 5 new vineyard designations under it.

     At the same time, my Freestone label doesn’t demand a high enough price or image to bottle these new vineyard-designated wines.

"The new label is going to be called The Diamond Cartel and it’s a ‘cartel’ of small Diamond Mountain vineyards. We have three vineyards that have already committed to us..." The Diamond Cartel and it’s a ‘cartel’ of small Diamond Mountain vineyards. We have three vineyards that have already committed to us..."

     So I’m creating a new label. And the new label is going to be called The Diamond Cartel. I’ve already trademarked that name. And it’s a "cartel" of small Diamond Mountain vineyards. Kind of a play on the diamond business -- a fun name.

     We have three vineyards that have already committed to us for The Diamond Cartel. There will be two levels of wine. The top wine for each property is going to be vineyard-designated -- and that will be 30%-40% of that particular vineyard.

     The second level of Diamond Cartel is going to be a Diamond Mountain bottling. And that wine will be a little less expensive. More of a restaurant concept. You see, as Diamond Mountain becomes an AVA, we’re going to see a lot of Diamond Mountain wines in the $50-$60 price range. And my feeling is, I want to have the top wines competing in that range. But what’s going to be missing is a price-range that’s a little more accessible -- especially for restaurants.

     So that’s the plan for The Diamond Cartel. Depending on how many people come to me, I could have as many as 5 or 6 or 7 different designations under that.

"When you give someone the vineyard designation, you put a lot of equity there. If they take the grapes away, I have nothing. So you gotta pay well and you gotta treat people well."

     One important thing I realize is -- when you give someone the vineyard designation, you put a lot of the equity into their name. Because if they take the grapes away, I have nothing.

     So you gotta pay well and you gotta treat people well. And that’s part of being a small winery -- the personal relationships you can have with people.

     When I’ve pitched people, I’ve been very open about where the profit margins are, how I can share it with them and I’ve offered some of these people to come into partnerships. If they bring the grapes, I’ll bring the winemaking and we can split the profit.

     And therefore they will make much more than if they just sold the grapes. At the same time they won’t get anything until the wine is sold.

APJ: They share the profits and the risk too.

"I’m trying to create a system where someone would never want to leave me and start their own winery."

RvS: Right. It’s a neat project from a wine label point of view -- but also from a business point of view. I’m trying to create a system where someone would never want to leave me and start their own winery. Hopefully they’re never going to leave me, because they’ll be doing well with me, without having to do all the work.

     At the same time, if somebody builds a house on Diamond Mountain and has 3/4 of an acre of cabernet in front of them, well, I can bottle all that if I feel the wine is good enough. That’s the fun thing about this label.

APJ: What will the first vintage be for The Diamond Cartel?

RvS: We’ll get two vineyards in 1999 and a third vineyard in 2000.

APJ: Best of luck!


NOTE TO THIRSTY WINE LOVERS: von Strasser wines are hard to find but not impossible. They're distributed in New York and New Jersey by Michael Skurnik Winesand available in Washington D.C. at Bassin's MacArthur Beverage. I've seen them for sale in Napa Valley at one of my favorite stores, Oakville Grocery. If you want to learn more, click here to link to the von StrasserWeb site.


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