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20 Not So Penetrating Questions with Sam Spencer

I am a fan of Spencer-Roloson winery, so I sought out Sam Spencer for our “20 Not So Penetrating Questions for a Wine Craftsman.”

Sam and his partner Wendy Roloson produce high-end, affordably priced, small lot Rhone and Spanish style wines, mostly reds and a couple of delightful whites. 

Simply, these people get it. 

They sell in Indiana, which always engenders a boutique producer to me, because most others eschew distribution in the state without understanding the opportunity.  They sell Direct-to-Trade, a program that I helped initiate with Inertia Beverage Group; they are starting a blog and their positioning to market is, “Provocative Wines Evocative Dirt.” Oh, and this is on top of their wine line-up being fantastic from top to bottom.

But, Sam doesn’t stop there, in fact he has side projects, too.  His most recent project is the current Cameron Hughes “Hughes-Wellman” Cabernet.  As a wine club selection and a slight one-off from the CH model, the $50 Cabernet with just 199 cases produced should go extremely fast.  Available now at this link.

Fortunately, Sam found a few spare moments to interview with us and our 20 questions … an economy of words and a spareness of detail makes this interview kind of like the subject—smart, to the point and without a lot of artifice.  Though, as a child of the 80’s and a viewer of late night Cinemax as a young teen, I do have to chuckle at his favorite movie genre.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you most guilty of?

Sam: Lust mostly, pride in the balance

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Sam: Poor diction and improperly spoken English. Although I speak Spanish terribly and mangle that language daily.

Sam: Failing to keep your area/station clean

What is on your nightstand?

James Salter: Last Night
John Mcphee : the founding Fish
Luca Turin: Perfume: the Guide

What is in your refrigerator or pantry that you would not openly admit?

Sam: Nothing

What do you drink when you are not drinking wine?

Sam: Tecate, Campari or Patron silver-rocks and lime

What type of music or radio station is played most often in your car?

Sam: KQED for news and KCRW via satellite for the best music in CA

In what era would you live if you transport yourself?

Sam: 100 years in the future

What is the best wine-related book you have read?

Sam: The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr and Assembling California by John Mcphee

The former is about the science of olfaction, scent and the perfume industry the latter is about the geology of CA put into lay terms with explanations

What is your favorite movie genre? 

Sam: 1970’s Soft-Porn

Is your desk messy or organized?

Sam: Both

Are you always early or terminally late?

Sam: Late

Whom would you want to play you in the movie about your life?

Sam: Jack Nicholson

What super-power would you most like to have, and why?

Sam: Super strength and endurance—Get more done with time to spare for hanging out with my family and friends

What do you do if you have a spare hour? 

Sam: Ride my road bike

What was the last great restaurant you ate at? 

Sam: Justus Drugstore in KC, MO and Momofuko-Ko in NYC.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Sam: Coffee

What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Sam:  You are doing good work.

For additional reading, check out Alder Yarrow’s post on Spencer-Roloson.


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