Slideshow: Ask A Winemaker: What Do You Drink When You're Not Drinking Your Own Wine?

Italian Wine, Burgundy, Sonoma Pinot Noir
Italian Wine, Burgundy, Sonoma Pinot Noir
"To be honest, I don’t drink my own wine very often. I taste it a lot, but I am usually way too critical to sit down and enjoy a glass of my own wine. I liken it to an author sitting down and reading his own books. So what do I drink? It is very important for me to keep an open mind and taste wine from all over. Right now I am drinking a lot of Italian wines, Burgundy, and Sonoma Pinots."—Gavin Chanin, Price Chanin Vineyards & Chanin Wine Company (California)
Pinot Noir, Champagne, and Gin
Pinot Noir, Champagne, and Gin
"We mostly drink Pinot Noirs from all over the world but I also enjoy small production Champagnes and locally produced gins, like Aviation, Bend Distillery, New Deal."—Lynn Penner-Ash, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars (Oregon)
Not My Own Wines!
Not My Own Wines!
"In all honesty, I try to avoid drinking my own wines as much as possible. There is a world of wine out there and I need to experience as much of it as possible to continue getting better in our own pursuit of excellence. We tend to gravitate to the Rhone on many occasions. Whether it is a densely packed and intense Chateauneuf du-Pape of the South or a lean minerally, gamey, meaty Syrah of the North, there is so much to be enjoyed there. This becomes extremely insightful when making Rhone style wines in Washington State."Corey Braunel, Dusted Valley (Washington)
Desert island wine: White Burgundy
Desert island wine: White Burgundy
"I love wine from all over the world because every bottle has a story attached to it and, even if you don't particularly care for the wine from an organoleptic point of view, it has something to tell about the region that it is from and the winemaker who made it. While Burgundy and Barolo are my favorite wine regions, give me a rosé from Corsica, a white from Slovenia, a Nero Davola from southern Italy or a riesling from Alsace. Closer to home, give me an old Cabernet from the Napa Valley (before they started to irrigate when alcohols were 12.5%!) or a Zinfandel from Dry Creek. But, seriously, if I were to find myself on a desert island and I could only have one type of wine to drink, the answer would be White Burgundy. When these wines are good I think they are perhaps the greatest wines in the world and they are incredibly versatile going with an array of food. And when you are fortunate enough to drink one which is 10-20 years old... Vincent Ramonet, Marc Collin, Comte Lefon, François Jobard...well, it will rock your world!"—John Paul, Cameron Winery (Oregon)
Chardonnay
Chardonnay
"I cast a wide net, but I always come back to Chardonnay. I know, not the geekiest answer for some guy kicking semi-carbonoic, whole cluster, concrete egg fermented, birds out of trees. But whether it is Blanc de Blancs grower Champagne, Chablis, Chards from the Jura, or some of the domestic examples that come off of Heintz Vineyard and other great sites, chardonnay from the right place and in the right hands beats me with a stick. I mean that in a good way."—Hardy Wallace, Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery (California)
A Perfect Margarita
A Perfect Margarita
"Winemakers can't always drink wine, especially after a hot, long day of harvest or a grueling week of bottling. A well-made Margarita is one of those perfect cocktails that is just plain satisfying in almost every way. However, I do not buy into the viewpoint that average "well-grade" tequila makes the best Margarita. As in food, as in wine, better ingredients and raw materials always yield a superior end result. Thus, I always find that when using a better, smaller-batch tequila the drink is simply more interesting and enjoyable. That does not mean being silly and using $100-200/bottle tequila, just something more carefully made. A current favorite for this is the Partida line."—Hugh Chappelle, Quivira (California)
Wines from the Rhone
Wines from the Rhone
"I taste many wines other than my own, notably those of the Rhone Valley. I draw inspiration from these wines. They have a completely different vinification technique than ours in the Beaujolais, and sometimes I use this technique when I think it would be beneficial to my wines. It was a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape that first sparked my taste buds at 16 years old, and today I still remember it. After that, I tasted wines from all over the Rhone Valley. The Côte-Rôtie’s of Jean-Michael Stéphan really made an impression on me. The Cornas from Thierry Allemand as well. I could, of course, reference many others…Gramenon, Marcel Richaud, etc."—Charly Thévenet, Beaujolais, France
Savoie, Corsica, Chablis...
Savoie, Corsica, Chablis...
"When I am not drinking Arnot-Roberts I love to drink wine I have never had before. I have been enjoying Savoie (Belluard) and Corsican (Abbatucci) whites lately, and always Chablis (Piuze). Cru Beaujolais (Julien Sunier) and Cotes du Jura (Gahier) reds as well."—Nathan Roberts, Arnot-Roberts (California)
Cabernet
Cabernet
"Cab is king in my book. I enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon from around the world, as well as from other Washington wineries."—Mike Januik, Januik Winery and Novelty Hill (Washington)
Lots of Tea
Lots of Tea
"I drink other Oregon wines, Burgundy, Italian reds, Alsatian whites, and Steve Smith Tea. In fact, I should have put the tea first. "—Dave Paige, Adesheim (Oregon)
Cru Beaujolais, Jura, and California
Cru Beaujolais, Jura, and California
"Oh, there are so many wines to go with so many moods! But I must say, my wife and I love the wines of the Loire Valley; the great Grand Cru Beaujolais wines (Morgon, Flurie, etc.); wines from the Jura; well-made wines from Italy; Burgundies (when we can afford it); great rieslings from Austria and Germany; and of course many wines from the US whose winemakers choose to make balanced, complex, multi-faceted wines (rather than blockbuster wines). Arnot-Roberts, Windgap, Nalle, Hirsh, etc. Ridge Montebello Cabernets, which I have a lot in my cellar."—Michael Dashe, Dashe Cellars (California)
Off the Beaten Track
Off the Beaten Track
"When I look at what's in my cellar, it's comprised mostly of old world wines, primarily from France and Germany (my mother is from the Pfalz). I have a keen interest in the varieties that we grow (at Paumanok), so, as much as I can, I drink Bordeaux reds, Loire whites, German Rieslings, white Burgundy. But, I also try to expose myself to the great world of wine and will frequently explore varieties off the beaten track (e.g., Ramisco, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Melon de Bourgogne, Sylvaner). I have worked harvests in Chile, South Africa and New Zealand and so I also follow the wines from those parts of the world as well. And the wines of Lebanon (where my father is from). And of course I drink the local wines of my peers on Long Island and the Finger Lakes and other domestic wines from the East Coast and West Coast. I think it is vital for me to experience a wide variety of wine styles and terroir. It's a tough job but someone has got to do it!"—Kareem Massoud, Paumanok Vineyards (New York)
A Glass of Bubbles Each Night
A Glass of Bubbles Each Night
"The nature of my experience makes me want to experience more. I drink a wide range of both producers and regions that make up the wine world. My only constant is a glass of Champagne every night to remind me to celebrate a pretty remarkable existence."—Joel Peterson, Ravenswood Winery (California)