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As an old editor I can recall always urging young reporters to gather more material than needed to write a particular story. The longer you’re in the business you learn to multi-purpose an interview as well. This post is an example. I interviewed Chaim Gur-Arieh about his wine delivery system for restaurants and published that column to my 18 newspapers a couple of weeks ago. (That column is posted below.)

Chain Gur-Arieh visiting Indy

But I also talked with the colorful creator of Capt’n Crunch about his win emaking philosophy and other topics. Often times I’ll enter an interview with three or four topics in mind for different pieces I might write.

Gur- Arieh is a colorful, enthusiastic man who’s led a very full life. He got into wine when he met his wife.

“My wife was a ballet dancer and she introduced me to wine,” the Turkey native explained. “I really didn’t know much about whine except what I learned in school. I had a Ph.D in food science, biochemistry engineering.  But all of that is very much involved in winemaking. I met her and we started tasting wine and I got intrigued. This drew me in, and I am a very passionate type of a guy, so I developed a passion for this.”

Though the passions have changed throughout his career, Chaim and his wife have been together 41 years. It was about 12 years ago he left food sciences and  opened G.C. Gur Arie winery in California’s Sierra Foothills.

Here is a video of Chaim talking about the Sierra Foothills – a region even most wine lovers may not be familiar with. You will have to excuse the camera bobble at the beginning of the vid – oops!

“I like wines that you can sip and be able to drink and enjoy even without food,” he said. “I like a wine that is fruit forward. I also like some attributes of an old world wine. I don’t like a lot of alcohol in my wine. I like my wines not to be astringent at all. I like a wine, that when I release it, it’s drinkable.

“I like a wine that has elegance. Before I started making wine, I wrote a profile for the wines I wanted to create and I had a guy I was working with, a consultant and veteran winemaker. We’d get together and drink many different wines from different winemakers. I told him what I liked and I developed a protocol over years.

“There are few things I do in the vineyard, but I’m very meticulous. I like my fruit to ripen evenly and that takes a lot of effort. I like to harvest the fruit when it’s ripe. I don’t look at numbers or sugar levels. I look at how it feels in my mouth.”

Throughout the interview at Pure Eatery in Indy’s Fountain square, Chaim used the word “fussy” a lot when describing how he does things in the winery. So, I teased him a bit about his use of the word.

“Some people tell me don’t be so fussy, be more relaxed. Be relaxed man. Qell, I’m very relaxed. But I like to pay attention to detail. You can’t commit too many sins with wine. You  commit a sin with wine it will show.

“I know these wines are good. They have a lot of depth, a lot of complexity but mainly they don’t have flaws. You can make a wine depending on the grapes, time and effort you want to spend in cellar but at least you should be able to make a wine that is flawless. But making a wine that is flawless takes a lot of effort and  a lot of people don’t want to make the effort.”

The winery produces about 15,000 cases of wine annually and Gur-Arieh knows he needs to produce more to make it more profitable. But he likes making wine the ‘fussy’ way which isn’t inexpensive.

I tasted his Syrah and Zinfandel at the Indy restaurant. Both wines perfectly matched the description of his winemaking style – big, soft fruit and a very understated finish that is good for sipping or with food.

The wines are available throughout Indiana.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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