Fred and Carol Schrader are ground-breaking winemakers. Their California Cabernet Sauvignon is the first wine in history to secure two 100-point ratings three years in a row from critic Robert Parker and two 100-point ratings from Wine Spectator, an honor that had never been given to an American wine. The Schraders have a widespread portfolio, and First Republic has worked to comprehensively understand their business, their needs and their growth, allowing Fred and Carol more time to enjoy wine!
Advice for aspiring winemakers
Our advice to a young winemaker, or someone starting in the wine industry, is to come in and love it. It’s farming, there are risks, and there is hard work and no guarantees, so at the end of the day you have to be doing it because it’s your passion and the path you want to pursue. Also, if you really want a product you make to ‘knock it out of the park’, remember that 90% of it is the vineyard source that you have and how you control that vineyard source. It all starts with farming and with the fruit; from there, you can take the genius that you have in your mind for winemaking and apply that and see what the outcome is. But remember, 90% is the vineyard.
Find your wine sensibility
Find the vineyards and the appellations that you like, and really research producers in that area so you gain an understanding of that winemaker’s profile. That really helps you find your sensibility in wine. Rather than following what other people are saying, you find your own compass in it, which is very important.
Art and Wine
There is a lot of continuity between art and wine. Art is a visual product because you soak it in with your eyes. With wine, you soak it in with your nose and then you soak it in as a drinking experience. Both give you the pleasure of enjoying it with other people. Enjoying art is the same as enjoying wine – you may be enjoying what you’re drinking or you may like to drink something else, but you still have an opinion about it, and that’s the fun.
For wine aficionados
A word to wine collectors who are just starting to pursue their passion for wine: don’t worry about buying trophies and don’t worry about trying to impress your friends with the bottle that no one else has. Go out and seek the type of wine that you enjoy. Look at those dimensions and find out what it is about that type of wine that you like and then pursue those flavors. At the end of the day, make sure you would enjoy drinking every bottle in your cellar if you had to. And if those wines become more valuable down the road, then you are pursuing your passion in the right direction. It’s a lot of fun. Make it fun. Share it, enjoy it and have a good time!
The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.