This summer, we are so pleased to welcome Daniel Baron as the Signature Host on our July 16 Athens to Istanbul sailing! Daniel is a celebrated winemaker from Silver Oak Cellars who began his career in the luscious vineyards of Sonoma County. He then traveled to Europe, further honing his craft in France while working for the legendary Chateau Petrus. In 1982, Daniel returned to Napa Valley to share his talent, knowledge and passion as a winemaker at Silver Oak. We had the opportunity to ask Daniel some questions:
1. What is your approach to winemaking at Silver Oak, and how does it distinguish your wines from others?
Our approach at Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars is to make wines that accompany food and fellowship. We believe that wine has always been the beverage of moderation and as such it should express fresh fruit, subtlety and nuance. Our wines are distinguished from others by their seamlessness, ageability and drinkability upon release. We use only American oak in Silver Oak wines and have a longer aging program than most of our colleagues. Our goal is to make wines that warrant inclusion in special life moments, celebrations and intimate dinners.
2. Many wineries produce several varietals of wine, why did Silver Oak decide to focus its attentions on just one? Why Cabernet Sauvignon?
Our founders, Justin Meyer and Ray Duncan, were inspired by the sustainable excellence of the first growths of Bordeaux to focus on one type of wine rather than a wide range that was popular in California in 1972 when they started. They felt that Cabernet Sauvignon made the best wine in the North Coast of California and decided to concentrate on making a fine example of that varietal.
3. We heard you traveled to France to study viticulture. What was a highlight from your experiences working with vintages in Bordeaux?
Helping to make the 1982 Petrus in Pomerol and developing life-long friendships with members of the winemaking fraternity from the other side of the world.
4. There is no question you are passionate about your trade. What is it about winemaking that continues to inspire and impassion you?
Growing grapes and making wine is a fascinating vocation because you never stop learning. The more vintages you experience, the more confident you become, but also the more humble you become. Ultimately, the reward is the pleasure our wines bring and the passion they inspire in the people that pull the cork.
5. From your start in Brooklyn to your current life in Napa – that’s a big change. Did you know back in Brooklyn that you would eventually end up on the West Coast in general, or in winemaking specifically?
Short answer, no. But I was always afflicted by a keen sense of smell and a quest for a vocation that combined history, culture and science. Wine was a natural fit.
6. When most people think about wine in Europe, they usually think about Italy and France, but there are some amazing wines that come out of the Aegean. Is there a local wine you are most looking forward to sampling as you sail from Athens to Istanbul?
I am very excited about tasting the dry white wines of Santorini made from native varieties like Assyrtiko and the wonderful Vin Santos. The fact that wine has been produced there since 3500 BC is particularly interesting.
Introducing the Signature Hosts to our blog readers before sailing with them is one of our favorite things about planning these Enrichment Voyages. We cannot wait to hear and learn more from Daniel Baron in July, while tasting many more wines in the Aegean. Want to join us? Check out the July 16th itinerary from Athens to Istanbul, or discover more Enrichment Voyages on our website. See you onboard!