Hardy Wallace (Dirty) and Matt Richardson (Rowdy) met in Atlanta some 15 years ago and bonded over a shared love of funky wine and spicy fried chicken. In 2009, Wallace got laid off from a job in technology sales and moved to California after winning a social media contest.
Today they run one of the great upstarts in American winemaking, focusing on small production, vineyard-designated Mourvèdre and Semillon, working with sites from Mendocino to Monterey, bottling small lots from the top vineyards and blending the early-drinking lots into a pan-California blend called Familiar.
Q&A WITH HARDY WALLACE
Q: Describe the “aha” moment when you first fell in love with wine.
My biggest aha-moment happened more than 10 years after getting into wine. I was poured a skin-fermented Chardonnay served out of a metal canteen — It was like nothing I had tasted before. It was the first time while drinking that I ever said, “I have to meet this person.” A year later, I moved to CA from Atlanta and was working for that winemaker in a warehouse in Santa Rosa. That wine completely changed my life.
Q: Do you have a philosophy of winemaking / about wine you strive to share with others?
I have very strong beliefs when it comes to winemaking, but my philosophy is to keep my head down and let the wine explain it.
Q: What led you to select/favor Nomacorc PlantCorcs?
Many of our wines are made in tiny 50-100 case lots. We sell them very quickly and leave a tiny library for ourselves. The idea of having a 5% failure rate on lots so small and that we were unable to replace, made me think hard about alternative closures. Everything we do from farming to our packaging is done with ecological impact in mind. PlantCorc™ exceeded our expectations in terms of performance and ecological impact.
Q: Who inspires you personally — in wine or any endeavor?
Q: What is the most overrated trend in wine today?
Q: What new winemakers/industry leaders are you most excited about, and why?
Q: If you weren’t a winemaker/wine business leader what would you be doing?
Wizard stuff. Yep, definitely wizard stuff …
Q: What, if anything, do you leave to chance in the cellar or in life?
Q: How has the perspective of time changed your approach to wine?
Q: What is your idea to perfect happiness?