June 9th 2018-Top Drop Vancouver Part Two & Chateau Wolff is alive and well



How much do I like the Top Drop wine series?

Well, I really only needed half a dozen interviews to make a one-hour special.

However, Kurtis Kolt and Jeff Curry always bring together some of the very best winemakers and owners in the World.  How they manage that, year after year, is amazing.

Of course, I ended up doing almost twice as many as I needed but when you see the guest list below I think it’s clear why I got carried away.

The wineries are in all cases organic, sustainable, terroir driven, just pure fruit and the work of time.

No additives, no tricks. Honest wines and winemakers.

Today’s guests are:

David Amadia – President of Ridge Vineyards  (Sonoma)

Since 1885 one of California’s leading wineries.  Paul tells a great story about how  Ridge came to be poured at The Judgement of Paris and what they’re pouring at Top Drop.


Beth Novak Milliken – President of Spottswoode  (Napa)

“Spottswoode Vineyard is one of Napa’s most well-known landmarks, and its winemaking team, owner Beth Novak, and assistants Rosemary Cakebread and Jennifer Williams, represents a trifecta of talented young women. When the history of Napa’s great vineyards is written, the 40-acre Spottswoode Vineyard, tucked behind the quaint town of St. Helena, will be counted among the finest grand cru vineyards of the region.”

Robert Parker


Emil Mehdin – Marketing Director Stina Wines. (Dalmatia, Croatia)

Croatia has been making wines for some 2500 years. If you listen to the pride on Emil’s voice I think you may understand how they became one of the World’s true wine countries.


Wendy Vallester –  pouring Wines of Spain.

  The last time I saw Wendy we were sitting on a sidewalk in Ribera del Duero Spain.  She was living in Spain with her husband, a Spanish wine educator.  They were guiding myself and Jason Priestley through the region’s vineyards for Hollywood and Vines TV.   Who better to tell the Spanish wine story than Wendy?


Mark Vlossak – Owner and Winemaker at St. Innocent Winery.  (Willamette Valley, Oregon)

The interview with this utterly charming man was 9 minutes.  I think I asked 3-4 questions..and he told 10 stories and walked me through his portfolio.

Once again I ask – if the winemaker is this interesting, surely the wines will be equally interesting and fine?  Well, they are!



Matt and Natalie Riga  – Chateau Wolff (Nanaimo)

That’s not a typo.  This small winery is tucked into the south facing hills above Nanaimo, Vancouver Island.

If you listen, you’ll hear how this winery was planted by Harry von Wolff in the early 90’s.

When Harry passed away..his vineyard was left to fend for itself but somehow survived over the years.

It now means that Matt and Natt (and daughter Sienna) are now the proud owners of 25 year old vines. Some of the oldest on Vancouver Island. Very small lots but very interesting wines. The Pinot Noir is sublime..if you can get your hands on it.



The Wickinninish Cook Book

Saanich in an hour, featuring

  • deVine
  • Sea Cider
  • Deep Cove (with Pascal Madevon)
  • Church and State.