The Voice Behind the Vino: Kevin Morrisey of Ehlers Estate

The art of winemaking is easily tasted, but not easily understood. Over a bottle of wine, we get to enjoy the beautiful taste that someone worked hard at creating for us.

Winemakers, for those of us wine lovers, are some sort of fictional characters. We know they exist, we’re beyond thankful for them, but we don’t normally get a chance to really get to know them. Over a trip to Napa/Sonoma last year, I had the opportunity of meeting some of these incredible people. Their personalities, dedication to their art, and their passion for bringing joy to others through wine really stood out to me. This series will pinpoint some of California’s most joyous winemakers and help you get to know the voice behind the vino.

Pour a glass and enjoy!

Kevin Morrisey, winemaker/GM at Ehlers Estate, is our first featured winemaker.

Photocredit: Deborah Parker Wong

What part of winemaking are you most afraid of?

Fear does not enter into to the equation. I am not really afraid of anything as it relates to winemaking. Nature is bigger, more powerful, than we are, and she’s unpredictable. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I try to make the most of nature’s opportunities, and not look back.

What is the one wine you have always wanted to make?

Champagne! I love that the finished wine—because of the second fermentation–ends up revealing itself in the bottle. A magic happens in there under the cap, a total transformation. You bottle something that tastes nothing like it will taste when you open it years later, which is so brilliant, one of these days I’ll get around to it!

If you were running for office for the position of King or Queen of wine, what would your campaign slogan be?

Slow down, follow your bliss, raise a glass to someone you love.

Do you have a guilty pleasure in wine pairing?

Cabernet Sauvignon, Orville Redenbacher popcorn loaded with butter and salt, and Netflix.

What is your favorite food to cook at home on a Tuesday night?

In the summer, grilled veggies with pasta, huge salad.

What was your “ah-ha” wine that made you pursue this career?

A visit to Château de Pommard in Burgundy while on a trip running around France with a friend. I must have been in my early twenties. I remember thinking, “How could I ever afford to drink this wine?” It was so above and beyond anything I had ever tasted before. That experience planted the seed for me. Making wine—trying to create similar beauties that could be someone else’s wow moment, would become a part of my life one way or another.

Are there any superstitions you abide by in the winery/in your day to day life?

I’m super superstitious! I always have music playing in the winery during fermentation, so the yeast keeps on dancing through the night. Also, no tanks or, cellar work orders, or lot numbers can have the number 13, and I will not walk under ladders in the cellar.

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