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A Biweekly Conversation.

The Wine Road provides the Wine, When and Where of Northern Sonoma to locals and visitors with tips and news on events, wineries, restaurants, outdoor activities, and places to stay.

Hosts Marcy Gordon and Beth Costa share their insider stories about the places to check out when you're exploring along the Wine Road.

Thank you to County of Sonoma, Board of Supervisors - District 5 for their support.

Sep 15, 2022

Wine Road Podcast Episode 158
Sponsored by Ron Rubin Winery


Episode 158 | Nikolai Stez Winemaker and Co- Owner, Woodenhead Winery

Nikolai tells us how he got into winemaking, the origins of the name Woodenhead, and the wines made at Woodenhead. We sip on the Woodenhead 2017 Pinot Noir, Buena Tierra Vineyard, E Block, Clone 115.

Wine of the Day: 2017 Woodenhead Pinot Noir, Buena Tierra Vineyard, E Block, Clone 115
Book of the Day: Concise Guide to Blind Tasting by Neel Burton.
Fast Five Recipe: Vinegar Chicken with Crushed Olive Dressing by Marcy Gordon

Podcast Sponsor: Ron Rubin Winery


0:52 Wine of the Day –2017 Woodenhead Pinot Noir, Buena Tierra Vineyard, E Block, Clone 115. Will be released soon.

2:27 The meaning behind the name woodenhead – it’s both a vine term but also more about Nikolai’s stubbornness. ;-)

4:10 Born and raised in SF and Nikolai’s parents used to come to the Russian River when he was a child. He had a variety of jobs and then while working at Spears Market in Forestville he met Ed Selyem and he started working with Ed and his partner Bert. Nikolai ended up working at Williams Selyem for 17 years.

5:54 Entered the Greenwood Ridge World Wine Tasting Championships coached by Ed, Nikolai came in second place tasting competition with his tasting partner.

7:12 Book of the Day The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting by Neel Burton.

8:10 Nikolai started Woodenhead in 1999.

10:55 Woodenhead tasting room is on River Road a rustic and welcoming spot with flights of the day for tasting. Experience the chill and kicked back vibe at Woodenhead. Portfolio is focused on Pinot Noir but Nikolai likes to experiment and play with other grapes. Makes Sparkling too. Wines usually in barrel 17-18 months, which is not typical.

Wines made to age.

16:42 Woodenhead does open top fermenting, which is apart from most others.

18:53 Ask Nikolai his opinion on natural wine if you dare… ;-)

20:46 Nikolai says you don’t need a degree to make wine –it’s intuitive and you can do it if you follow your instincts.

22:22 Fast Five Recipe –Vinegar Chicken with Crushed Olive Dressing– From Marcy Gordon, Wine Road co-host

Ingredients: 3 pounds Chicken Thighs (bone in) ½ cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons ground turmeric, 8 tablespoons olive oil, 1 ½ cups mixed olives (pitted).

Directions: Heat oven to 450. On a rimmed baking sheet toss the chicken with olive oil and turmeric and place the chicken skin side up and then pour the vinegar around the chicken and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Then take the chopped up olives with the remaining 2 tbs. olive oil and stir into the juices from the sheet pan. Spoon olive mixture over the chicken and serve. Garnish with parsley. Great with Chardonnay, Rose or Bubbles!

26:01 ONE MORE THING—It’s a great time to visit the region go to wine road website for list of harvest events. Also Wine and Food Affair tickets are now on sale! And No Reservations needed this year!


Woodenhead Wines

Concise Guide to Blind Tasting by Neel Burton

Ron Rubin Winery


The Wine Road podcast is mixed and mastered at
Threshold Studios Sebastopol, CA.