Interview with Winemaker & Grower Anne Moller-Racke

 After visiting Donum Estate a fabulous winery located in Carneros (read my Top 10 Carneros Winery post here) and falling in love with this Winery I thought it would be interesting to interview President and Winegrower Anne Moller-Racke. She has quite an incredible background and experience in the wine world so read more about this stunning and impressive winemaker, grower and Donum Estate President. See more below!

Anne Moller-Rocke & Emily Martin

Me and Grower & Winemaker Anne Moller-Racke touring Donum Estate. This was my second visit and it’s even more impressive than the first as the artwork collection has grown and their tasting room is now open. Stay tuned for coverage of the beautiful NEW Donum Estate Tasting room on the blog soon!

What was your first memory of wine and how did you know you
wanted to be a winemaker?

Coming from a wine region in Germany, wine was always a part of our dinner table. As a little girl my dad let me taste wine at a very young age and I guess it started my passion and pursuit in wine.
I love Rieslings and Pinot Noir as they have a lot in common, both so site-specific.
I always loved being outdoors. Winemaking includes the growing as well as the making. It is the epitome of farm to table.

What was your first wine job?

Data collection at Buena Vista Winery in 1982

What is your favorite wine?

Pinot Noir

What was one of the biggest mistakes you have made in your
winemaking career?

In 2011, I decided to let my best blocks hang through the rain as they were still not quite there. My reasoning: we would not get as much rain (normal in early fall is .5 inches, we got 3.5 inches in total in 8 days)

Who has been the most influential mentor in your career?

Phil Freese. We worked together for 10 years. He made an enormous impact on
me, and formed my understanding of wine growing.

What is something you’d like to share about the wines you make? I know in addition to Donum Estate, you have your own label, Blue
Farms Wine. How does the winemaking style of the two vary?

Both wines are mainly made in the vineyard. There is more that is similar than different about the two brands. A balance of crop level, correct exposure, correct picking decision are very important to me. The sites are different for the two brands. Working with the true Sonoma Coast for Blue Farm is very exciting,
while Donum is all estate grown. I work with two wonderful vineyards for Blue Farm, besides my own vineyard. It all enables me to learn the most I can every year. I watch nine (9) different sites very closely. It gives me a keen insight of each season and a better understanding of their differences and variations.

Can you share more about the extensive art featured at the Donum Estate? For those that haven’t visited it’s quite an elaborate collection with works from a wide array of artists? How does that shape a visitor’s experience at Donum Estate?

The owners of the Donum Estate, Mei and Allan Warburg, are big art lovers.  They fell in love with the wine first, then the property. Adding art connected them even more to the Estate. Our collection has grown organically and today we now have 40 sculptures on the estate. Mei is Chinese, educated in Australia,
while Allan is Danish, both living in China. The collection is international, stretching boundaries. The art brings our guests out to wander the estate, feeling Carneros and furthering a deeper connection with our wines.

What is your favorite after work drink?

I like a good Tequila, otherwise, I am very happy with a delicious glass of Pinot
Noir.

What is your favorite local spot in Wine Country? San Francisco?

I am a Sonoma girl, I love Café LaHaye, a small farm to table restaurant, delicious food with a small but well-selected wine list. Peter Lowell’s in Sebastopol is fantastic, with great local fare. Della Fattoria is a wonderful breakfast and lunch place in Petaluma. And, if you are looking for a cool bar with a big selection of local beers, the Tin Bar on Lakeville Hwy is worth a stop.

Tell us something that would surprise people about you?

Being an introvert has had its challenges working in a people business. I find my peace walking vineyards.

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