May 19, 2024

Episode #563 – How COVID-19 is forcing Boutique Winemakers to Sink or Swim

Featuring Imagine Wine and Lando Wines

What’s that old saying? “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all!” Sometimes you want to laugh. Sometimes you want to cry. But at all times, you want to survive. America’s boutique winemakers could never have imagined where just a short three -month journey would wind up taking them. It’s sink or swim for small producers. Thank goodness winemakers are a hearty and inventive bunch. Of course, that doesn’t mean outsmarting the
Coronavirus is a cake walk.

This week’s show begins with something of a reunion. It was about 560 shows ago that Ross Jay Rankin, co-owner with his wife LynDee Rankin of Imagine Wine, was featured on Grape Encounters. And thanks to a well imagined business model, this small producer of very big wines is actually weathering the Covid-19 crisis quite well. You’ll enjoy hearing how far things have come in a dozen years, and if you go back and listen to that first interview with Ross, it’s easy to see that he’s got that special something … including some gloriously big reds.

Also on the show is Sam Lando of Lando Wines in Sonoma County. Sam has worked for some amazing producers throughout his long and colorful career. There comes a time, however, when a family’s personal hobby starts to grow larger than life and the universe beckons you take that quantum leap and become a serious producer. Now, if only the universe would knock it off with all the natural disasters! No one said it was going to be easy, but you’ve got to want it bad to stay focused through all the challenges these world-class Pinot makers have had to deal with. You’re going to love the Lando attitude as much as you love their stunning wines!

Today’s edition of Grape Encounters is brought to you by Total Wine & More, where you’ll find thousands of wines produced by folks who started with a dream and never looked back. Be sure to spend a little time online at You’ll be very glad you did!

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