Sabrine Rodems from WRath, Scratch, & Wines of Danger
Up in the Tahoe forest I had a chance to catch up with the woman behind the gas mask. A winemaker who omits the easy details in an effort to draw you in.
Enter, Sabrine Rodems, winemaker for Wrath Wines, Scratch Wines, and the woman behind the curtains of Wines of Danger. With two feet in the winery and the phone on speaker, Sabrine is not interested in conventional winemaking. The word “experimentation” came up constantly during our conversation about her endeavors to dial-in the vineyards that she is working with.
“I’m a roller-out girl.”
After a career at the San Franciso Opera House, Sabrine felt an urge to pursue a more intellectual passion. One the would call on her creativity and at the same time require a pair of gumboots. This took her, mid-career, back to school, and then south to Santa Cruz when her colleagues were heading north to more proven winemaking grounds. As “as artist that wanted to be a scientist,” Sabrine recognizes that winemakers occupy dual lives as cellar rats and as “showmen.”
During our conversation Sabrine guides us through her background, why she chose to move south to Santa Cruz, the struggles of growing Bordeaux varietals in the cool Monterey climate, how stems contribute to wines’ acid profile, experiments with the white Italian varietal, Falanghina, its fermentation in dolia (“expensive terra cotta flower pot”), and why she took the risk to start her own brand, Scratch Wines.
Recognizing the need that independent, small brands need for attention, Sabrine formed Wines of Danger, a group of passionate winemakers coming together to show the San Francisco market what bootstrapping can do when unbridled by the reins of employment. Each year Wines of Danger is gaining attention and highlighting unearthed winemaking talent from California. Their next their next showing for trade is August 17th in San Francisco.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Wrath Wines, Sabrine’s primary winemaking post
- Scratch Wines, Sabrine’s personal brand of wines
- Wines of Danger a spectacular group of small wine brands, including Scott Sisemore’s Waxwing Wines (Scott’s podcastinterview here), and Matt Reid’s People’s Wine Revolution (Matt’s podcast interview here)
- Bit of background on Kelly Wheat, winemaker and creator of much-discussed grapejuice acid model
- Dolia, expensive Roman flower pots that Sabrine uses underground
- Falanghina, that Italian white, phallic grape
- To Sell is Human by Dan Pink. Awesome book with the thesis that we are all selling all the time even without the label of a salesman