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New Crop of Winemakers is in Bloom -- Including Those in Napa Valley

Wine Enthusiast names “40 Under 40” tastemakers in the world of drink

If you’ve never heard of Jesse Katz, Matt Taylor, or Marko Karakesvic, you will. That’s the message of the feature article in the new Wine Enthusiast magazine, published online yesterday, introducing the “rising young stars who are changing the way the world drinks.”  

Though the list is national and includes wine directors at New York oyster bars and wine educators in Chicago, local interest is sure to focus on the North Bay starts recognized by the article – the most familiar of which is probably the influential author of Artisan Cocktails, Scott Beattie.

Beattie learned his chops at the late Cyrus in Healdsburg, and later helped launch Spoonbar and Mateo’s drinks menus. Now he’s bar manager and partner at Goose & Gander, St. Helena’s newest hot spot. He’s 38, practically a senior member of the “40 Under 40” list.

But 39-year old Marko Karakasevic, also of St. Helena, also makes the list, master distiller at Charbay Distillers. It’s the family business, but young Marko keeps it fresh with such innovations as Hop Flavored Whiskey, distilled from Bear Republic’s Racer 5.

More traditional is Matt Taylor, 35, winemaker and vineyard farmer at Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, who has also worked at Joseph Swan, Reuling and Araujo. Of course he’s branded his own label, Taylor Cellars of Forestville.

Jesse Katz, a spry 29, is the son of Healdsburg photographer Andy Katz who rubs shoulders with celebrities already: He made the wedding cuvée for Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, and oversees  the growing Roth Winery in Healdsburg as well as Lancaster Estate in Chalk Hill.

Sonoma’s Morgan Twain-Peterson, 32, comes from winemaking stock – his father Joel Peterson founded Ravenswood – and he now is winemaker and proprietor of Bedrock Wine Co. His mission is to produce heirloom wines from the old field blend lots that remain, which is how winemakers used to blend wines before separate lots became the norm.

Who could forget Hardy Wallace? He hit Healdsburg with a bang as winner of the Murphy-Goode social media job contest in 2011, and has kept up the blogging, tweeting and posting for his own Calistoga-based brand, Dirty and Rowdy Family Winery, as well doing social media for Napa’s more traditional Corison.

This is just a taster’s flight of the 40 names on the list, with an emphasis on local names. But that’s not all – there are other locals, and soon-to-be famous names from Cazadero to Brooklyn. Read the full article on Wine Spectator.

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