I’ll Drink to That: Winegrower Lee Hudson

Episode 448 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and features Lee Hudson, the owner of Hudson Ranch and Vineyards, in Carneros, California.

A great bottle of wine is never the result of one person’s work. There is the winemaker, who of course is important. But there is also the barrel cooper, the lab tech, the bottle maker, the cork supplier, the office manager, the distributor, and not at all least, the grape grower. Lee Hudson’s work as a grape grower is a keystone of the success of several famous winery names, and this interview intersects with several other previous I’ll Drink to That! episodes, especially John Kongsgaard’s discussion in IDTT 327. Lee was a pioneer of the Carneros sub-appellation within Napa and Sonoma, but before that he was harvesting in the rain in Burgundy, and this episode captures the whole scope of his career from Texas farmhand to living in Provence to cellar rat in Morey-Saint-Denis, and then on to California and the University of California, Davis. Lee has a knack for telling a good story, and there are plenty of amusing anecdotes involved in his meetings with now legendary wine names. But beyond the funny moments, Lee has plenty of insight to share, gleaned from decades of harvesting Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Grenache. He has something salient to say about each of those varieties, and it is the type of information that you can only discover by working with the grapes firsthand. If you want to know more about those grapes, ask Lee. If you want to know about a life well lived, you can ask him about that as well.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine