Q&A: Tim Irwin on Napa Valley’s wine culture

What is the best part of your job?

Discovering new wines, developing new brands, educating people on wines and ultimately sharing it with others.

Name three pioneers in your industry who inspire you and who you look up to.

  • Nigel Kinsman – brilliant creative winemaker for Araujo in Napa.
  • Phil Sexton – always cutting edge and creative.
  • John Duval – legend of the industry.

Who is the greatest winemaker you’ve worked with, and what do you think makes him/her great?

David Lowe (Lowe Family Wines) produces organic wines and is always taking wines to the next level.  He is a great communicator and educator.

What is the greatest bottle of wine you’ve ever had?

I think wine is always about the experience and who you share it with, so I have had many great bottles.

What are three vineyards and wines in the U.S. that blow your mind?

  • Peay vineyards
  • Pahlmeyer
  • Futo

What are three vineyards and wines in Australia that blow your mind?

  • Wendouree
  • Jasper Hill
  • Yarra Yering

What is your favorite vineyard (other than your own), restaurant and B&B in Napa?

Regusci on Silverado Trail, Redd or BarberQ — and my house is the best B&B.

What’s one thing about wine making everyone must know?

It takes a lot of beer to make a good wine.

What’s the best $10 bottle of wine you can buy?

The d’Arenberg Stump Jumps are always good value.

Tim Irwin with wine tasting colleagues in the Napa Valley, California.

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