Q: One word that describes the reason you are making wine?
A: Money. Well, okay, let’s face it, no one gets rich in this business, so, not money. Lunacy. It helps if you are slightly crazy, which I am way beyond, so that’s out. Okay, maybe not lunacy. Hmmm, maybe Debauchery. No, that seems a bit too Dionysian. Okay. Passion, or possibly Dedication. That really sounds too rote and slightly corny. I guess the one word that I would pick would have to be Family.
Q: Ok, explain that one word, just a little.
A: I got into winemaking because of my father and his pioneering efforts pursuing grape growing in West Texas. I realized at an early age that the wine business is a very cool lifestyle. This lifestyle revolves around agriculture, and agriculture revolves around the seasons. The seasons remind us of our place on this planet and our relationship to nature and what’s important. Family. Throughout all of this, your friends, co-workers (who become like family) and family, all whom you have around you and are part of the process, evolve. They share the work, the rewards; the good times and the bad times. Thus, they become entrenched in what the end product actually represents. A small piece of history in a bottle. Which truly gets better with age, and when it is opened and consumed, it is done so with friends and family and those moments that were shared throughout the process are relived and remembered.
Q: Why should someone visit you at your winery?
A: We are a family owned winery operation and the sense of ownership is actually something that we (the employees) all share. We are proud of what we have to offer and believe it to be the best in the valley. Our commitment to service and delivering a wonderful experience is always our primary goal. So come to South Coast because you can expect the best.
Q: What’s your favorite varietal?
A: There are just too many to pick only one. Grape. Is grape okay? It is a flavor, so I choose grape. Vitis Vinifera.
Q: What’s your favorite wine that you make? Why?
A: When you make as many wines as we do here at South Coast, it is hard to have a favorite. Because if it is sunny and warm, a crisp white may be my favorite, or if it is hot, maybe a rose or sparkling wine. Is it cloudy and cool? A nice red is in order. Am I eating a salad or having tri-tip? Am I happy or introspective? Is it daytime or nighttime? Mood, time and place are everything when it comes to deciding what to drink and if it is my new favorite thing. I will have to remain decidedly non-committal on this. I plead the fifth. Or I’ll take a fifth, preferably un-opened…..
Q: What part of your personality do you put into your wine?
A: This is kind of interesting to think about: there are over 600 identified personality traits. Check out this link: (ideonomy.mit.edu/essays/traits.html). After reviewing the list, I would have to say respectful. I try to respect the grape, its origin and history, as well as the wines that are made from it. There is so much to consider when you select a varietal and endeavor to make a wine. Obviously, there is nothing new under the sun, and when you think that making a sweet Chardonnay or sparkling Touriga Nacional is a new quite possibly for centuries. Certainly you can put your own twist on it, and your region will give a certain character to the grape, but understanding the grape’s potential and what the consumer will ultimately accept as a wine style is the one thing that you must always bare in mind.
Q: Your name and title.
A: Jon C. McPherson, Master Winemaker