One of my favorite things about writing my blog and for various publications is getting to meet so many different people in the wine industry. Although everyone shares a similar passion for wine, there are as many different personalities as there are wines. That’s part of the reason I started my Q&A series over a year ago — I wanted you as the reader to get to know the people I am lucky enough to meet, but in an easily digestible and fun way. Hence the start of the ’12 Questions’ format of the series. Up next: my Q&A with winemaker Dave Potter, the man behind Municipal Winemakers and Potek Winery in Santa Barbara.
Dave, who studied at UCSB before moving to Australia to obtain a degree in Oenology and Viticulture, has been in the SB wine scene for a while. He worked for such labels as Fess Parker, Epiphany, and Sunstone before venturing out on his own.
For his personal projects, Dave has cornered the market on cool with funky graphics, hip tasting rooms, and fun pop-ups and events. It’s no wonder the hip Municipal Winemakers is such a popular destination, at both its Funk Zone and Los Alamos locations. His newer venture, Potek Wine, is located in a beautiful industrial 3,500 square foot facility where he makes such wines as Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Grenache. The facility is part of The Mill, where neighbors include a brewery and bbq restaurant. Like I said, he has got the coolness thing down. Keep reading to learn more about the guy behind Municipal Winemakers and Potek!
12 Questions with Dave Potter of Municipal Winemakers & Potek Winery
What’s your current job title?
Owner / Winemaker for Municipal Winemakers and Potek Winery.
How did you get started in the industry?
I got a job working in the tasting room at Sunstone Winery while I was finishing up UCSB. After a few months pouring wine, I became friends with Blair Fox who was the winemaker there at the time. I transitioned into the cellar, started scrubbing tanks, and the next thing I knew, I was in Australia for a Masters in Viticulture and Oenology.
What is your most memorable wine or wine tasting experience?
I worked a harvest in the Southern Rhone and the winemaker I interned with kept is wine cellar in the dungeon of his Roman-built chateau. One of the cells had the last wines from his grandfather. One night, we pulled a Madera from 1873! that was still fresh, alive, and intense.
Do you have a go-to wine and food pairing?
This time of year, I’m cooking everything outside. I am into chilling down lighter bodied reds to gulp with just about anything that comes off of the grill.
What’s the strangest word/s you’ve used to describe the smell or taste of wine?
People always give me funny looks when I try to talk them into bottle aging my Rieslings so that they are rewarded with delicious kerosene flavors.
Which wine varietal do you think is underrated?
I think the average wine consumer underestimates Riesling.
Is there one person in the industry you really admire and/or has been a role model for you?
There are a lot of people in our local industry who I really admire. What’s cool about Santa Barbara being such a young grape growing region is that all of the pioneers of our area are still working in the business. I have a lot of respect for guys like John Belfy who has had boots on the ground and an incredible career developing and farming so many of our local ranches.
When you’re all wine-d out, what is your drink of choice?
Always nice to rinse out with a cold beer.
Favorite place in the world you’ve visited?
I have a soft spot in my heart for Australia.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Determined, genuine, calm.
Do you have a random talent or party trick?
Not really, but my wife has been known to read tarot once or twice – can I coast along on her party trick?
What 3 things would you take on a deserted island with you other than water?
My young family, seeds for a garden, and a pallet of wine (or maybe a knife – it’s a tossup).
Thanks to Dave for participating in my ’12 Questions With’ series! Read more about my visit to Potek Winery here.