After a brief hiatus, my Q&A series with people in the wine industry is back! This month, which just so happens to be California Wine Month, we’re talking to Santa Barbara winemaker Ernst Storm. I first met Ernst when I wrote about him for my wine column in the Santa Barbara Sentinel last year. Originally from South Africa, Ernst has been on the SBC wine circuit for several years now, first working at a few well-known wineries before starting his own label in 2006, Storm Wines. For Storm, he produces about 2,000 cases of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. (Side note: Storm’s Sauv Blanc is one of my go-to whites when I see it on a wine list. It’s super clean and crisp). Just last year, Ernst co-founded another label, Notary Public, for which he produces Chenin Blanc and Cabernet.
Want to know more about this dedicated and talented winemaker? Read on to find out what Ernst thinks is a great wine pairing, his drink of choice when he’s off duty, and what the heck crushed ants have to do with wine!
12 Questions with Winemaker Ernst Storm
What’s your current job title?
Owner/winemaker/Sales Manager/Cellar Rat for Storm and Notary Public.
How did you get started in the industry?
I studied Winemaking in South Africa.
What is your most memorable wine or wine tasting experience?
A good friend and I opened a 1964 Clos De La Roche from Bertagna, it showed me how gracefully wine could age.
Do you have a go-to wine and food pairing?
Grilled meats with Northern Rhône styled wines.
What’s the strangest word/s you’ve used to describe the smell or taste of wine?
Crushed ants in more rustic Syrah and armpit in serious Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc.
Which wine varietal do you think is underrated?
Is there one person in the industry you really admire and/or has been a role model for you?
Fred Brander for his commitment to producing top quality Sauvignon Blanc.
When you’re all wine-d out, what is your drink of choice?
Gin & Tonic
Favorite place in the world you’ve visited?
Moremi in Botswana.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Motivated, dedicated, dreamer
Do you have a random talent or party trick?
I can make a mean baboon sound.
What 3 things would you take on a deserted island with you other than water?
Matches, knife and wife.