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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
Attribution (3.0) 

Mar 31, 2019

When Tracy Nielsen -- Co-Founder & Assistant Winemaker of La Pitchoune -- came to Sonoma from Colorado and wanted to break into the wine business, she struggled. Despite her fantastic personality, life experiences in sales, marketing, and customer service (plus she kicks butt because she was a river raft guide in her home state of Colorado), there was little offer of help or employment. So she and her husband, Peter Joachim Nielsen decided to start their own winery.

They hooked up with the Andrew Berge - Master Winemaker, with a degree in agriculture from UC Davis and experience in making wines that express the vineyard in which they grew. The quartet was rounded out by Brett Van Ernst, marketing powerhouse to form La Pitchoune Winery, and they have been wildly successful, making Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rosé and Chenin Blanc in small lots from excellent vineyards. 

La Pitchoune means “the little one” in French and the name speaks to small production, small lots, and their small size. This crew has not been around that long but already they’ve received major recognition from the wine cognoscenti and you can find their wines at Michelin-starred restaurants, including The French Laundry and Auberge du Soleil in Napa. 

They will be at on April 6, 2019 (please visit the site for other upcoming events!)

Here are a few notes from the show with Tracy and Andrew: 

  1. We discuss the origins of La Pitchoune and how Tracy and Peter decided to form it.
  2. We talk about Andrew's journey from Germany to Minnesota, where he grew up, to Sonoma, where he took a degree in agriculture. Andrew tells us how his more practical, mid-western approach to the wine industry has been an asset. 
  3. We drill into terroir and the benefits of a more hands-off winemaking style -- natural yeast fermentation, few additives, letting the land speak through the wine. 
  4. We discuss Sonoma Mountain, the small, varied appellation from which very few people make wine. 
  5. There is a lot of nerding out about the various vineyards and winemaking
  6. Finally, we talk business -- how La Pitchoune approaches customers and how its partnership helps them to succeed in the very competitive wine industry. 



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