Podcast Episode #63 – Grapes, Giggles, and Gratitude: A Cozy Chat with Hundred Suns

Renee and Grant of Hundred Suns

Join us for a heartwarming episode of the Weinnotes Podcast, where we uncork the stories of Renee and Grant, the dynamic duo behind Hundred Suns. Nestled in the comfort of their winery, this couple shares tales that are as rich and complex as their wines. From battling the elements to bring us their exquisite creations, to the whimsical adventures of winemaking with their children, this episode is a blend of laughter, love, and the labor that goes into every bottle.

Diving a little deeper into my conversation with Renee and Grant of Hundred Suns

As we swirl through their journey, you’ll discover how an ice storm turned into an unexpected family bonding experience, shared childhood memories of a dentist, and the role of classic 90s hip-hop in the winemaking process. Renee and Grant’s story isn’t just about wine; it’s about community, perseverance, and the joy found in shared passions. So pour yourself a glass, kick back, and let the warm, inviting conversation of Hundred Suns fill your cup with happiness and maybe a little bit of that dad pride in keeping the home cozy during a storm. Cheers to stories that bring us together, one sip at a time.

Be sure to also checkout other winemaker interviews!

Transcription of interview with Renee and Grant of Hundred Suns in Oregon’s Wine Country

[00:00:00] A.J.: Cheers 

[00:00:05] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to another episode of the Wine 

[00:00:06] A.J.: Notes podcast. I’m your guide, AJ Winesuttle, on this journey of stories showcasing the people behind the wonderful world of wine, where we dive into conversations ranging from terroir, viticulture, to favorite music, superpowers and more. Please enjoy this episode of the Wine Notes podcast.

Grant, Renee, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. So 

[00:00:29] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: pleased. Yeah, we’re stoked to be here. Yeah, we’re here in our place. 

[00:00:33] A.J.: I am definitely stoked to be here. I know that we were trying to do this last week, but with the ice storm and everything. Holy Toledo. That was 

[00:00:41] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: crazy.

Indeed. It was. It was very icy. Uh, extreme. It got down to 13 degrees at our house, which is the coldest it’s 

ever been than since I’ve lived here since 2006. And talking to some people that have lived there here their whole life, and it’s the coldest they’ve seen too. 

[00:00:59] A.J.: I’ve, I’ve been here since 2001 and I don’t remember it being this cold 

[00:01:03] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: either.

Yeah. Yeah. We’re in a time of extremes. 

[00:01:06] A.J.: Yep. I would agree. Shall I pour us a little bit of wine? Sure, please do. 

[00:01:10] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: I 

[00:01:11] Renee of Hundred Suns: mean, it’s never too early in the morning, is it? 

[00:01:14] A.J.: Never too early. I mean, it’s just a teeny bit. It’s not 

[00:01:17] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: too much. So, 

[00:01:20] A.J.: as I always tell everybody, you know, talk about it, whatever you want. Um, no pressure.

But I, uh, you know, I always try to find some sort of connection. I don’t know if I did a good connection on this one or not. So, we’ll see. Uh, but again, you know, please feel free to enjoy and whatever you want to say, just, you know, uh, the floor is yours for whatever you want to, to say about it.

[00:01:50] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Hmm. That’s my opening remark. I know. 

[00:01:55] A.J.: Oh. And yes, I, uh, I did not get this to room temperature. So it’s, it’s a little, it’s a little cold, but it’s not, it’s 

[00:02:04] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: not too, too bad. We’ve been, uh, we started watching this show called Drops of God and we were a couple episodes in and it’s It’s, it’s relevant because we’re watching it with like our daughter.

I think our son has taken no interest in it and he’s in, but our daughter, and it’s kind of, it’s relevant because obviously it’s, it’s female based and it’s a father son. And we’re hoping that 

[00:02:27] Renee of Hundred Suns: she’s the heir to the 

[00:02:28] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: hundred cents. Maybe. We sometimes think that, but she actually like, she enjoys it, you know, and she’ll smell the wines.

And like last night she was sitting there and, um, a friend of ours had brought over some underberg. Do you know what that is? They’re like little. It’s like. Frenette. Okay. You know, it’s like a digestive. Um, and they’re just full of like botanicals. So it comes in these tiny little bottles. Um, and so she’s like, what is that dad?

And I was like, it’s underberg. And she’s like, and I’m like, I don’t particularly care for it. I don’t like for net either. But so we opened it up and then she smelled it and then she dipped a toothpick into it and then she tried it and she was like, She went through, she got cinnamon, and she got clove, and like all these like, licorice, and it’s, it’s super powerful.

That’s why we say we’re 

[00:03:16] Renee of Hundred Suns: grooming her. Yeah, yes. She’s a future 

[00:03:19] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: winemaker. It was, 

[00:03:20] A.J.: it’s pretty cool. That is really cool. Yeah, 

[00:03:23] Renee of Hundred Suns: she’s pretty, she’s pretty good at it. Yeah. She’d probably have things more to say about this. She 

[00:03:28] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: would, yes. Yeah. No, 

[00:03:29] A.J.: that is fair. And I loved watching Drops of God. Normally when I watch TV, I am multitasking.

So I’m, you know, coding, having a glass of wine, and watching TV. And that is just something that with, uh, it was French, Japanese, and English. 

[00:03:47] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Yeah, you gotta pay attention, yeah. Definitely have to pay attention. 

[00:03:51] A.J.: But yeah, it’s, I really enjoyed it. 

[00:03:53] Renee of Hundred Suns: So far, we’re only a little bit into it, but it’s, it’s enjoyable, 

[00:03:57] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: yeah.

It is good. Okay, well, um, Aromatically, it’s, um, it’s pretty tight and focused. There’s not a lot of fruit, I got a little kiss of wood initially, not a ton. Just a little bit of, you know, kind of, maybe marshmallow brown sugar. And then there’s sort of, there’s a very cool climate character underneath it.

There’s a little bit of tomato leaf, um, there’s some sort of pepper. I mean, like a 

[00:04:31] Renee of Hundred Suns: white pepper y ness 

[00:04:33] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to it. Yeah, it almost, it reminds me of, uh, you know, it reminds me of his 2017, uh, Gamay from, um, uh, Pray Tell. That white pepper note. Oh, yeah. So much, yeah. Or 

[00:04:47] Renee of Hundred Suns: that’s like the 19s. Gamays. 

[00:04:50] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Sorry, 19, it wasn’t, yeah.

Yeah. Um. Evans too. 

[00:04:55] Renee of Hundred Suns: Are, are, all of, all of, for whatever reason that vintage, from that, all that white pepper in those gamets, yeah. Uh. I feel you on that. You think it’s got a little bit of age 

[00:05:05] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: on it? It looks like it. Yeah. It’s got, it’s, the color’s waning a little bit. Um, it could be that it was over vintaged in barrel, you know, for an additional six months, and that can do the trick as well.

Uh. It could be Oregon Pinot. It could be Oregon, um, Gamay. 

[00:05:33] Renee of Hundred Suns: I think it’s Pinot. I think it’s got a few years, like maybe 17.

Cool, a cooler vintage. It’s got some restraint to it.

[00:05:52] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: I get that tomato leaf, I we wait, should we tell you what we think now what it is? Or should we wait till the end? That is 

[00:05:58] A.J.: totally up 

to 

[00:05:59] Renee of Hundred Suns: you. Oh, tell us now what you think it is. And then you can say later on? I don’t have anything more definitive than that. 

[00:06:04] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: No. Yeah, it seems Oh man, that’s a tough one. If it’s 19 It doesn’t seem like 19 to me.

It almost seems a little older than that. I think it’s older than a 

[00:06:17] A.J.: 19. Yeah. Not like 1818. 

[00:06:21] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: That’s 

[00:06:21] Renee of Hundred Suns: what I said, 17. 16 would have been, doesn’t taste like a 16 to me. Those are a little bit more. Those are much bigger. We’re assuming this is Oregon, too. Which we could be way off base. 

[00:06:33] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: It’s probably safe 

[00:06:33] A.J.: to assume.

Safe 

[00:06:35] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to assume. Um, I think it could also be a well made 13. 15 or 

[00:06:40] Renee of Hundred Suns: 17. Sticking with that. 

[00:06:42] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: 15? 15 was hot. And those wines had they had a, um, They were sappy. That’s true. There was alcohol. There was richness. That was the second year in a row after after it was still kind of cooler. And then we had 14. And then 15.

And we were sort of reeling. I think we learned a lot from 14 by the time we got to 15. 

[00:07:10] Renee of Hundred Suns: 15 was our first vintage here though. I guess that’s the only the only context I have for it. 

[00:07:18] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: I’m going to go with 2013, uh, and I think it is,

I’m going to go marine sedimentary soil. Um. Although it does sort of taste like very Epsom woody. Um, yeah, I’m going to go 13, Pino, Oregon. Okay, 

[00:07:44] A.J.: that’s cool. And feel free to change your mind when we get to the end. Alright, alright. One of the things I love about doing these interviews is diving into stories, in your stories.

And it’s always difficult to find a place to start, right? But, this one was like, hands down, this is easy. Right? So, um, I’m curious, right? Should we start with, um, talking about Sandy the Well from the Natural History Museum? Or try to figure out who has a better impression of Dr. Poole? 

[00:08:22] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: The dentist. The two of them.

Legendary, man. Alright, you go. First impression. Dr. 

[00:08:29] Renee of Hundred Suns: Poole. Doctor, oh. It’s like a humming while working. That’s what it is. You’re much better at the impression than I am. We had the same childhood dentist growing up and so when we went on our first date and realized, you know, we knew we had grown up in the same hometown.

Right. And so that first date where we were really kind of going back through the memory bank of growing up in, you know, little Monterey, California town. Um, it was really fun, I think, to connect over the little details about like the cat. posters hanging on the ceiling of Dr. Poole’s office. Oh my gosh.

Grant did this, Grant did his Dr. Poole impression. I was like, this guy’s great. He’s funny. We have this shared history together. Right. Um, and then argued about who owned more of this natural history whale than, you know, than the other person. Um, but that, that shared history continues to really root us, um, in what we’re doing and our, our families are both.

It’s still, our parents are both still living in, within a mile of each other. Yeah. Um. And I think having that, having that understanding of place and where we come from has, has been a really special part of our 

[00:09:46] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: relationship. It has. I totally agree. And you, you don’t even realize how important it is, that, that sense of connection to you actually.

You get on in life, and you have children, and we’re obviously building a business together, and making wine, and doing all the things, but It is pretty special, because not only do, do we have that shared context, but so do our parents, and my sister, and her brother, so we’re both I have an older sister. She has an older brother.

So we’re kind of the second kids. But we both grew up in this Monterey Peninsula area. So we have a lot of shared history, shared stories. The whole family is is kind of conjoined and my sister lives up here now. Okay after she She left California, 

[00:10:39] A.J.: I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever made that cake. Yeah 

[00:10:42] Renee of Hundred Suns: killed your distilling.

Okay 

[00:10:45] A.J.: Probably have yeah. Yeah, 

[00:10:47] Renee of Hundred Suns: I probably have and so they both kind of migrated up here and you know, his parents They, they got a distiller and a winemaker and they couldn’t be happier about it. Wow. 

[00:10:57] A.J.: I’ll have to be sure to email her and, or interview her and ask, like, okay, so when you sent Grant the email saying that Renee was single, what, what did you tell him?

Oh, 

[00:11:08] Renee of Hundred Suns: she read the email at our wedding, I think. She did. Yeah. She had emailed Grant to say. Yeah, 

[00:11:16] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: I’ll never forget that. Well, I remember very distinctly that I, I was working a harvest in Australia in 2004, I think. Yeah, it was 04. It was 04. So I was over on the west coast of Margaret River, and I had made some friends working at a previous internship in the Bay Area.

And, um, so I was over there. It was perfect. The friend that I was living with, um, Ty, was a surfer as well. And so we were surfing and working, and it was a lot of fun. And I, I, you know, I, Assume that I was going to come home, but at that point I had no path really like I could have stayed in Australia I could have done anything if you know, I would have probably Traveled a little bit more but then Kate sent me that message letting me know that Renee was was you know Available to ask out on a date not that she you knew that no I didn’t know that this was going on so then I you know I hustled back home and got a job nearby so I could ask her out Wait a minute.

[00:12:13] Renee of Hundred Suns: You got in a motorbike accident and then you had to come home I I mean, let’s be honest about the You got in an accident and came home with like a brain bleeding. No, but I had, I had 

[00:12:23] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: the ticket and my internship, I had the internship set up. I was going to work at Testarossa. Uh, in the Los Gatos area, because I knew that she lived in the Bay Area.

I didn’t really know exactly where, but it turns out Walnut Creek, which is pretty close by, so, um, I’d gotten that job at Testerosa, and then I was doing some traveling, yes, and then I, I, I ended up flying off the road on a moped in the middle of a rainstorm, way high up in the mountains near Chiang Mai, and I, I hurt my head.

Yeah. Ouch. Anyways, I made it home. I had some, some minor brain issues, uh, fully recovered, 

[00:13:01] Renee of Hundred Suns: fully, 

[00:13:01] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: as far as I know. Uh, and, and then, yeah, I got, you know, got on the job at Testarossa and, uh, then not too shortly after that, I think. I invited you on a date, uh, well, Kate sort of said, my sister said, you know, Grant’s in the Bay Area and he’s sort of friendless and, and, you know, could, maybe you guys could hang out.

And so. Yeah, she gave me a real 

[00:13:28] Renee of Hundred Suns: sob 

[00:13:28] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: story. Yeah. And so we leaned pretty hard into that and then I took her. I had previously worked at a winery in Alameda called Rosenblum, a big Zinfandel house, and they did, they were kind of the archetype of the sort of big California wines of the, of the late 90s, early 2000s, and so they used to have these pretty epic open houses right on Alameda near, um, uh, Oakland, and they would pour like a, 20 wines and they were all in 14 and a half was considered low alcohol and and so so anyways It was a lot of fun.

We had a great time And and we that was the 

[00:14:07] Renee of Hundred Suns: first date that was It was a wine, a wine soaked, wine soaked adventure, which should have given me an indication of what was to come. 

[00:14:16] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Yeah. 

[00:14:17] A.J.: Yeah. Well, I thought maybe Peppers was your first date or something. Peppers, 

[00:14:21] Renee of Hundred Suns: we, Peppers is like our place in Monterey where we have to go and have margaritas there though, every single time.

We just came back from Christmas and we had multiple margaritas. I 

[00:14:29] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: do love that place so much. That’s our, that’s our favorite spot. Yeah. Yeah. It is, it has that hometown feel to it. It’s right next to Sandy the Whale. Right down from Lovers of, Lovers of Jesus Point, uh, in Pacific Grove. Everybody calls it Lovers Point, but it’s actually Lovers of Jesus Point.

Okay. And, uh, and then The Little Known Facts of Pacific Grove, and it’s just an epic place to grow up. 

[00:14:52] A.J.: It sounds like 

[00:14:53] Renee of Hundred Suns: it. It does. I mean, ironically, there’s, of course, there’s wine there, you know, so our parents are still baffled why we’ve come here. I think they understand it now. They’ve been visiting us now enough to, to realize that this is a special place to be a producer, I think, and at the very beginning, when you, when we had first met.

And you were done with your internship and you realized it was time to just sort of like plant your feet somewhere. There was a lot of conversation about where that would be, whether we would stay in California and do it, whether we would move down to somewhere like Paso or, you know, Lodi or Mendo Coast or, you know, we kind of batted around a lot of ideas.

Um, But at the end of the day, the idea of coming to Oregon, I mean, it’s kind of funny because you came up here to take a job with Eric Homaker, who also had roots in Monterey. So they had that as a touch point too, and it might be one of the reasons why you got that first job with Eric. But, you know, we, we really ended up deciding that even though we came up here and Grant spent 10 years, you know, making wine at Beaufrair and with Homaker.

I always knew that the end goal was to have a project of our own, and doing that in Oregon seemed more doable. And we were chasing, I mean, I think you came up chasing Pinot Noir. I did. 

[00:16:18] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: But, I think when I was trying to first figure out where I wanted to go, I always towards the fringes. I never wanted to go necessarily to Napa or Sonoma in California.

And at that particular point, um, in the early to mid two thousands, it was, uh, it was a scene that you kind of had to know people at certain levels to kind of move your way up the chain. And I was very much at the bottom. Right. And there was more opportunity in the fringes. So, you know, I thought of places like, you said Paso, and I remember borrowing her car because it was more reliable than mine.

She had this Nissan Xterra. And I took a stack of resumes, and I remember driving around, I think it was down in the Central Coast area, kind of near Sloan County, and, and just passing out resumes and talking. And I remember cold calling wineries, you know, just to see if anybody had positions open. And I, I had a A lot of people that just kind of said no and hung up the phone or don’t bother me kind of thing.

And I remember there was a, there was very, there was a couple people that were just like so cool. One of the guys that was the coolest was this guy, Clay, I forget his last name, and he was the winemaker at Zacca Mesa. At the time down in Paso area. And he said, look, I don’t have a job, but if you want to come by and chat, I’m I’m my door’s open.

And I remember he was very cool, calm character. And he just kind of talked to me and told me stories and, and maybe what I should do. And, and he was just like such an open. And it’s always kind of informed me to the future, like, you know, when somebody walks in with a resume in hand and I don’t have a job, at least I can help and push them in the right direction.

But we, um, I applied for a few jobs and I remember getting a job offer. A couple job offers, one of them was up in Washington, um, that was not a good fit, and then I remember, um, there was another winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and they were like, look, we need an assistant winemaker, and you would, you seemed like you’d be great, so I was kind of toying with that, and then I I had sent a, uh, a resume in, a blind resume to a winery in Oregon, and then I got a call from Eric Homaker, and it was right as I was about to accept that other job, he said, look, come on up, I’ll fly you up here, let’s chat.

And so I did, and flew up here, and I had not been up to Oregon since my sister went to U of O for one year, so I kind of knew Eugene area, but I’d never been north of that. We met at the airport, uh, or rented a car, and then I met Eric, and then he picked me up with his wife, Louisa Ponzi. Uh, and they got in the car, and they, we drove around to vineyards.

We went and visited Betty Wall’s Vineyard, which is a, uh, At the, out in Yamhill Carlton, old vineyard, own rooted, been around for a long time, and they introduced me to Betty Wall, um, they were negotiating fruit contracts, and we got back in the car, and then we drove around, had lunch, and then they showed me the studio, and at the time they, they were co owners of the studio.

The Carlton Winemaker Studio. Yeah, sorry, Carlton Winemaker Studio. And then, uh, the next day, I think, the day after, so he offered me the job, and I came back, and I said, hey, You know, do you, you, you want to go? And she was like, yeah, absolutely. So she, 

[00:19:43] Renee of Hundred Suns: we’ve been dating for like three months or something like that.

Yeah. I mean, it was pretty quick. It was, it was pretty 

[00:19:48] A.J.: quick. 

[00:19:49] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: It 

[00:19:49] Renee of Hundred Suns: was, but it was very quick. You moved up here and I was teaching high school at the time. And so I waited and then came when that was all over. Yeah. But he was living in a, in a little house that Stuart and Athena Bodecker had in Carleton. Yep.

Um, this like little rental house in Carleton. Right. And Carleton back then, man, it was, it was pretty quiet. I can imagine. You know, it was different, it was a different world, kind of. Very much. It hadn’t quite, it hadn’t become what it is now. Nope. Um. Yeah. And you went up there and lived in, in the Bodecker’s house 

[00:20:20] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: until we, yeah, I shared it with Ray Walsh was a, was a roommate, Ray Walsh.

He was a long time wine maker, King Estates, and then he started his own wine recall Capitello. And then he had, he was. But he was kind of ahead of his time. He was the winemaker for a pretty ambitious sparkling project called Meriwether. And which everybody and their brothers making amazing sparkling wine up here, but he was like kind of doing it.

There was like Argyle and him and he was making these amazing sparkling wines. Um, but that kind of fell off. And so I had a shared space with him. 

[00:20:55] A.J.: going to probably get re I had heard 

[00:20:58] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: little, little buzzings in the world. Um, I hope he does. Yeah. Well, it’s, it’s, it won’t be 

[00:21:03] A.J.: him. Oh, it won’t. Yeah. Yeah.

Somebody else has bought the 

[00:21:05] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: IP for it. Yeah. Yeah. I had, I had heard. And that’s great because Carlton 

[00:21:09] Renee of Hundred Suns: winemaker studio, actually, sorry, I didn’t know. It was, that was a great place for you to land. And And I didn’t have a teaching credential when I moved up here, and so I ended up working a harvest with Patrick Reuter up there for Dominio 4.

And so when we first came here, the minute I moved here that summer, I, you know, kind of gathered myself together and then we started doing this harvest out in Carleton together. And so that was the first taste of production that I’d had, but at the studio at that time, you know, Andrew Rich, Kelly Fox. The Bodeckers, Lynn and Ron Penrash had just left there not too long before Ray Walsh was there.

It was kind of an incredible place to ground ourselves. In Oregon wine community in a way that was much less isolating than it would have been if you had taken a job as an assistant in somebody’s cellar and just been like sequestered in. So it was sort of the best thing that could have ever happened to us moving up here from nowhere.

I can imagine. And a lot of those friendships that we have. From the Carlton winemaker studio early days are, you know, still really really 

[00:22:17] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: close to us. Well, we were just chatting with Eric Homaker day before yesterday at Terry Castile’s memorial and And he was talking about Carlo and Mateo, who are going off to college, and when I got the job, Luisa was pregnant with Carlo and Mateo.

Yeah, it just seems so. And I was like, we were both sort of looking at each other like, wow, it’s gone by quickly. Uh, and it really has. But it’s very true, like, I was very green, uh, when I stepped foot into that studio. And because Luisa was pregnant with twins, um, and Eric had a lot going on, he was consulting for a couple projects, he really kind of, put me in this position and said, okay, go.

Uh, and so a lot of times he wasn’t around. And if I had questions, I definitely leaned on a lot of the people that were making wine there. And especially Andrew Rich took me under his wing and really helped me negotiate and navigate. And, um, At the time, there was kind of changing of the guard in terms of the general management and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, uh, I, we made some lifelong friends coming out of that place.

You know, Andrew’s still a dear friend of ours. I, I can 

[00:23:32] A.J.: only imagine. Yeah. And, just to back up a teeny bit. Mm hmm. So, the two of you knew each other for about three months before you moved up to Oregon. 

[00:23:42] Renee of Hundred Suns: We had known each other for a couple years. Well, I’m sorry, we had been dating, not 

[00:23:45] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: very long. 

Sorry, 

[00:23:45] A.J.: yeah, I meant dating.

Um. So, was it in that three months that Uncle Bob sent you, like, a, a vertical of Beaufrare? Like, that late 90s Beaufrare? Yeah, wow. When did 

[00:23:56] Renee of Hundred Suns: that happen? Bob, so my uncle was a, I’m trying to fill in the back story for people who don’t, haven’t got the back story, um, that I had an uncle who was deeply into wine, um, you know, for most of, since the early 90s, late 80s, early 90s.

And as soon as, I mean, even before it was appropriate for me to drink, frankly, he was trying to get my brother and I interested in wine. And so, the first sort of aha moment that I had was standing in my brother’s kitchen in San Francisco on Dolores Street doing a vertical of Calera wines, which I assume Steve had made, which is kind of funny now.

Steve Norder was probably the winemaker during that time, and now he’s our neighbor and friend and, you know, sort of, um, incredible figure here, but. Tasting those wines together was like an awakening for me. I can imagine. And Bob continued to send me wines that I had no right drinking. Um, and he must have sent those wines, I don’t know.

So he had been sending me wines for a long time, but I, that, that Beau Frere, I, I don’t remember when that happened. Well, he was, 

[00:25:05] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: he was sending us, uh, he was sending, I think he was clearing out some, some stuff in his cellar too. ’cause he sent us, or sent you a whole bunch of old Kissler Chardonnays from the nineties, early nineties in Darrell Vineyard and Kissler turned

They were all turned and they were all, all completely oxidized, you know, and they were just, they were, they were just, they, they, they should have been drank a couple years before. Anyhow, so. We were, we had those, and then, and then he knew that you had started dating me in my background. And then, and then he sent out that Is that when he sent it after?

He sent it out after, and 

[00:25:38] Renee of Hundred Suns: I remember Way before you were ever at Beaufrair, though. Way 

before, 

[00:25:41] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: yeah. Way before Oregon, I think. And I had never had Beaufrair, and I remember when I was, I did the analogy program at Fresno State, and we didn’t do a lot of, of Oregon wines, or taste a lot of Oregon wines, but I remember tasting some Archery Summit wines that I was impressed by.

Those are some of the firsts. Uh, and then he sent that. And I remember we had, we had um, We were in California, weren’t we? When we drank some of those. We went up to your friend Joel’s house. We were in Calistoga. Yeah, Calistoga. So we went up there and I have another buddy of mine, Matt Taylor. Really, he’s become quite the famous winemaker in California.

Um, he worked for Araujo, and then he, Pino, and now he’s working for, for, um, the guy who owns, uh, So we drank those Beauforts with him, yeah. I remember when, and he was like, he was a huge Pino head. Worked in Burgundy, worked at Dujac, and he was like, What, where’d you get these? You know, I think if I remember, it was like 96, 97, 98, 99, and he was like, this is incredible.

Right. And I was like, yeah, I don’t know, I know it’s like this winery, and like Robert Parker owns part of it, that’s kind of crazy. And so we drank them, and they were excellent and really fun. And that was kind of an introduction to Beaufort. Never in a million years did I think I would ever work there.

Right. Uh, but, and that was pre Us even coming to Oregon. Yeah, 

[00:27:02] Renee of Hundred Suns: I think that’s right. It was in that short window before we 

[00:27:05] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: got here. Yeah, yeah. I can 

[00:27:08] A.J.: only imagine. It was pretty special. You know, and kind of talking about Tears of God earlier, and like, having the hair, you know, like, take the reins at Hundred Suns or whatever.

I’m just curious, if Hundred Suns ever gets big enough? Like, that second interview, are you going to have them, like, do an essay about the, a human? Right? Yeah. 

[00:27:29] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Oh, you mean my interview with Mike? Yes! Oh, God. That 

[00:27:33] Renee of Hundred Suns: was at a really weird time, too, because we were just, we were living in Portland still, we were living in this tiny apartment up in Portland, and you had only been at Homaker for about a year.

Less 

[00:27:42] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: than a year. Yep. 

[00:27:43] Renee of Hundred Suns: And then that job came up, and you were like, You’ll never believe this job that just came up. 

[00:27:49] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Well, and it was, uh, so a friend of mine, actually, Brian Irvine, he, at the time, he had, uh, he was working at Shalem, and he was like, hey, did you see this job that came up? And, and he said something about, like, are you going to throw your hat in the ring?

Um, And I said, I hadn’t really thought of it, but I should. And so, I did, I wrote, I wrote a, sent a resume, and, and, you know, sent it to, to Mike. And, and then I got a call from him a couple days later, and we chatted on the phone. He says, well, why don’t you come on in for, for an interview? You know, we’ll just have kind of a walking, talking interview.

Um, so I did, and Was that the first time 

[00:28:30] Renee of Hundred Suns: you’d ever met Mike, 

[00:28:30] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: too? You didn’t know him from the industry you’re in. In fact, you know, you go down North Valley Road. Now there’s a big sign, but back in, it was 2006. There was no sign, no nothing. There was, well, there was. There was a little sign, but it was hard to see.

And I zoomed right by it, and I was like, gosh, I passed it, and I had to turn around and come back. And I went up the driveway, and I rolled up to this place, and I’m like, Whoa, this is very farm y. This is pretty cool. But no pigs back then, either. No pigs, no pigs. Pre pig. Or there was pigs before, then no pigs, and now there’s pigs again.

It’s BP and BP. So I got up there, and, uh, You know, there’s Mike on the phone talking to somebody up in this old hayloft that they turned into an office and you know, about four rifles sitting behind him, um, in this broke down chair. And I was like, okay, here we are. And, you know, I had been going to school in the Central Valley, California, so it was There was characters out there just similar, so I wasn’t too shocking, but I was like this is interesting.

And, um, so we chatted and tasted, and he talked about what he was looking for. And, yeah, and then he gave me an assignment, which was, you know, write a, write an essay about something, somebody you admire. And so I wrote about my father. Um, who I love dearly and who’s like a super hard worker and, you know, taught me a lot about working, and so And Renee was very much pushing on me, like, because I was kind of dragging my feet, and so it’s really her You know, come on Grant, like, get to it, like, write that essay.

And I did. And anyways, long story short, um, he’s like, I like the essay, can I call your dad? Okay. So he called my dad, um, and they had a chat and, and he says, okay, well he gave you a thumbs up. . . I would hope so. 

[00:30:15] A.J.: I think that is so funny of all people to call. Yeah. Like 

[00:30:19] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: I think my dad, I was like, what’d you say?

He is like, well, he says, I like you fine. And you know you’re a good kid. I was like, thanks dad. . 

[00:30:26] A.J.: Thank 

[00:30:27] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: you. Something to that effect. But I think the real, really the what, what sealed the deal was after that he asked us to meet in Portland. After an auction, and so he was staying up in Portland. With his late wife, Jackie.

And Jackie really wanted to meet the two of us. And, cause they’re really about family. And, and so, She, Jackie met Renee, and I think Jackie really liked Renee a lot. Um, and I think that was also like, well, you know, you guys are, You guys are not, you’re a good guy, and she’s amazing. And so that was, that was part of the, part of the deal.

Right. Um, and so yeah, that, then in 07 I moved from Homaker over to, um, to Beau Frere. My first job was sitting on the back of a compost spreader spreading compost at the Upper Terrace. Very 

[00:31:13] A.J.: nice. Yeah. How much red ink did Renee put on your essay on 

[00:31:18] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: the first draft? She edited it. Yeah, she did. That’s good.

I mean. There’s some 

[00:31:21] Renee of Hundred Suns: editing. Yeah. I would hope so. But, no, you’re actually, you’re a great content producer. Like, your story was there. It was really all about Parvo, which is this terrible dog disease where they get diarrhea and about how Grant had to clean the cages, but that his dad would also clean cages if he had to, or whatever they’re called.

Yep. 

[00:31:38] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Right? Yeah, it was pretty funny. I was a kennel boy for my dad for many years, and I cleaned up a lot of stuff. Bad stuff. But 

[00:31:46] Renee of Hundred Suns: actually, if you think about it, it’s, I mean, I think part of the essay that you wrote was about how you did not, that you were not afraid of working really hard and doing those things that, you know, you’re, you were not just going to be the kind of person who wanted to prance around and loafers swirling and snowing, that you were there to do the work too, which is kind of funny because I mean, at the end of the day, here we are.

And the one thing about having your own small winery is that you. You have to clean the kennels, you know, you do not get to just do the fun stuff and have white burgundy lunches. You’re still, you know, Grant is still, when he’s here, he’s still topping barrels and doing the cellar work too. You too. And yeah, but I mean, it’s, it’s not that, that tenant of just being willing to work really hard to make something happen.

It is a foundation of your, your, you know. Yeah. 

[00:32:49] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: But that’s just now, you know, fast forward, here we are sitting in front of you, you know, uh, in our own, our own winery and making our own wines and yeah, it’s, it’s. When you’re first starting off and your job is, you know, vineyard winery and your head is down and and you do those jobs there is You don’t realize it at the time you’re working so hard, but it’s just it’s kind of one narrow path in a way Whereas once you own a place then there are so many paths on a daily basis, you know from you know Renee doing Uh, compliance in New Mexico to getting ready for sales on Friday to, you know, hosting a tasting and then everything in between and swim practice afterwards.

Right. Yeah. 

[00:33:42] Renee of Hundred Suns: That’s the fun stuff. 

[00:33:43] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:33:44] A.J.: Most definitely. Yeah. Um, you know, and that’s one of the things I’ve loved about watching the two of you, your energy. It’s just, it’s positive, it’s high energy, and it’s, uh, it’s contagious, and it’s wonderful. Thank you. You’re welcome. And I’m curious, you know, so, Uncle Bob, he, you know, had teachings about wine, about it being a portal into companionship, community, conversation, and feeling alive.

Mm hmm. You know, did that kind of play into your ethos when you started Hundred Sons? I 

[00:34:19] Renee of Hundred Suns: mean, I feel like you embody this in a lot of ways, in a, better than I do in some cases. It’s ironic because Uncle Bob himself was, and my uncle, was an incredibly awkward individual who had very few close friends, um, and so at the end of the day, you know, for him to be imparting that advice too is, I guess hearing you say it makes me kind of sad because I think he had that as an ideal.

Um, but he didn’t ever get to embody it in the way that I think that we And are able to, in the sense that we have an incredible community of like minded people who love wine and who love food and are anxious to share it with us. And he actually didn’t, and so maybe one of the reasons he wanted so desperately for my brother and I to become wine lovers was so that he would have the people to share it with and that’s not to say he didn’t have anybody, but he did have people, but not in the same way that we do, but it is definitely for us, it’s, Um, it’s, it is a, a way to have community, um, and to, to have conversation for sure, and to just enjoy, enjoy life with the people that we care about.

Um, and the community here is like nothing else. I think, you know, having been just Coming out of the, of, of Terry Castile’s service, like Grant was saying, you know, you realize how much, um, the Oregon wine industry in general has that as a, as a bedrock of this community, which is like, we’re in this together.

This is a joyful thing that we get to do. And what an honor that we get to do it in the company of all these other amazing people. And it feels still like there’s a real, um, Gratitude. On behalf of the people who are at least in the industry here. And that, that value I think is shared across the valley and, you 

[00:36:23] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: know.

Yeah, and that was, that was something that very much attracted me to it and, and thinking of, you know, kind of going back to like community and drinking wine and hanging out with friends. Like, I remember in the early days of our relationship, you know, when we would entertain, um, For us, as kind of like, uh, newlyweds and pre kids, you know, we would kind of try and pull out all the stocks.

We didn’t have any money, and we had very few nice bottles of wine, but we had a couple here or there, and we would have friends over, and we would spend all day cooking, and we would, it, we would have a lot of fun, and we thought we had to put on a, you know, a, uh, a white tablecloth, uh, event every time. And as we’ve gotten older, we realized that, you know, as long as you have the bread and cheese and, uh, and some, a simple meal and a few good bottles of wine, they don’t have to be spectacular.

That means just as much. So we’ve taken some of sort of the pressure off of ourselves of trying to be, you know, some, you know, gourmand, you know, because life is quite busy for us. Um, with other things outside of, of winemaking and, but it’s, for me, it’s very exciting too because I, I think of somebody again, like Uncle Bob, who had collected all of this wine and had all these ideas of sitting down and, you know, that he was a musician and he talked about how all he wanted to do was, you know, play his organ and drink aged champagne.

Well, he got cancer and he died. And so all of that went away and he passed that collection down to us. So we actually have a bunch of his wines that he collected over the years. And we have been very much opening these wines in, in, in the presence of friends and family and enjoying them. And if you actually, you know, talk to some people around here, they’re like, Oh, is this Uncle Bob?

Oh, they all know Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob? All our friends know Uncle Bob. You know, and that is because we’re sharing those wines with those people and they’re wines that we could never have afforded. And that’s pretty special. And, and then I was having a chat with another friend the other day, and he, this person had, had started collecting wine and was sort of scratching their head, I got a lot of wine now, maybe I should just, I don’t know if I’m gonna drink it all, I’m gonna sell it.

You know, don’t sell it. Just, just enjoy it. Not in excess, and then have people over and meet new people and enjoy it with them. And that is what, at the end of the day, this is all about. 

[00:38:55] A.J.: It is. I completely agree. You know, you’re talking about life is busy, I mean, getting 100 sons off the ground, going to school, practice.

I’m curious, when was the last time y’all were able to get on the couch, toe to toe, and just tell stories about the day, and just kind of relax? 

[00:39:15] Renee of Hundred Suns: Actually, the ice storm was great! Okay, yeah. I mean, you know, that’s the thing, I think, is that there is always, there is, there are so many demands. And it, there, there is a thing too, which is that when you own a business with your partner, and we’re lucky that we have lots of friends who are doing the exact same thing that we are.

Right. That it gets really hard to draw boundaries around that, your time and conversation, so that when we are toe to toe to resist the temptation to talk about. Yeah. It’s really hard. I can imagine. And we have to put, do better at making boundaries around that. But during the ice storm, it was really nice because we were kind of stranded at home with our kids.

And, you know, we played some Settlers of Catan 

[00:39:57] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: and got that fire rage. We have this fireplace, a wood fireplace. I love building the fire and keeping it going and I have it’s like my new thing during the winter when it’s really cold to go and check and see what the temperature of the house is, you know, because without the heat on, you know, we, we, it’s like dad pride.

Yeah. It’s dad pride. Like, I’m like, we are at 70, 69, 70 degrees and it’s 13 degrees outside with our wood fired stove. And I’m like, Hey. And everybody else is just sort of like, yeah, dad, like, we 

[00:40:26] Renee of Hundred Suns: spend a lot. We have, we do spend a lot of time just sitting in front of the fire together, chatting or hanging out with our kids.

And that is pretty regular. I think we’re pretty good at that. 

[00:40:38] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: And I think when you talk about, like, when we have to, sometimes we’re talking about the business and drawing the lines, there’s kind of two sides to it. There’s a lot of times it’s. There’s the negative and the positive and the positive being like oh my gosh this person wrote to us And they had this bottle of wine, and they want to get some more or this distributor from so, you know New Mexico just got in touch with us and they’re super excited about the wine So that makes you feel you know you want to share that with your partner and be like look there people are are enjoying what we’re doing and want to want to Be a along for the ride and you know And then there’s sometimes the negative things where you’re just like I just spent three days It’s building the Missouri, you know, compliance stuff and then they canceled it on me.

Now I’ve got a whole other week in front of, you know, where you’re just like, I’m pulling out my hair. Right. So there’s the negatives and the positives. Um, so they kind of balance each other out, but yeah, they’re, they’re, I think in the beginning of this whole journey, you know, we used to be more sort of toe to toe figuring out like how we’re even going to get it started.

And now we’re like in the middle. We’re deep in the logistics of it 

[00:41:43] A.J.: now. That is 

[00:41:44] Renee of Hundred Suns: very true. It’s gone through cycles where in the beginning there was so much conversation about where, what it might be. Yeah. And that’s really exciting to start those conversations. And of course, the entire time that we’ve had 100 Sons, Grant has always had a day job.

And so ultimately. The only time we do have, I mean, you know, really to have these conversations has been in the edges of the workday. So it is at night and on the weekends that we’re doing a lot of the work. Just mental work and cellar work here. You know, forever, it’s bottling dates are always on the weekends because that’s when Grant’s around.

Um, and, and just sort of, you know, stuff like that. And so, I don’t even know where I was going with that. 

[00:42:27] A.J.: Yeah, no, it’s good that the two of you can, like, sit down and just chill and, like, enjoy each other’s companies. 

[00:42:35] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Oh, yeah. 

[00:42:35] Renee of Hundred Suns: Yeah, not as often as we would like, but someday. We’re getting there. Yeah. I feel like we’re getting closer to finding that balance, um.

We 

[00:42:42] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: are. But we also run the risk of two, you know, there’s a lot of engagements that happen with this industry Oh, yeah, whether you’re traveling for work You know presenting your wines in other states or countries or whatever And then dinners and all that stuff and you know, some of them are very fun Some of them are far away and take more away from you but at the at the end of the day if there’s a lot of demands and so one of the big things is is trying to to legitimately You know, balance that out with the kids and make sure that, you know, we’re not just like, okay guys, like box of macaroni and cheese, we got to go down to this thing.

And so we, we have become more aware of that. And that’s, that’s, it’s important to balance that piece out. It is very important. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:43:29] A.J.: Yeah. And kind of on that number, I mean, so your mom was an English teacher. You were an English teacher. Is there any future of like, Your kids being an English 

[00:43:40] Renee of Hundred Suns: teacher?

I don’t think so. I think the buck stops here. 

[00:43:44] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Ty, Ty is pretty good at, at language arts. I think he’s used to do 

[00:43:48] Renee of Hundred Suns: engineering stuff. Quincy likes to write. Um. You know, I think she’s more, the more, he’s definitely like the, the computers, engineering sort of STEM. He’s in a STEM program. She’s a more of the sort of artistic.

She loves to write and paint and music and she’d whine and dance, you know. And so she’s, she’s got a little bit more of that and he’s got a little bit more of that. And there’s overlap, of course, with both of them. But I don’t, I think that the English teaching is likely to stop. But we’re, you know, you never know.

Maybe there’s a winemaker 

[00:44:21] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: in our midst. I would more likely see one of them being a veterinarian. Because my dad was a veterinarian. Right. And then, you know, I think sometimes these things skip a generation. Because I saw how hard and how Just how hard my dad worked and and it wasn’t the most glorious of all jobs, right?

But you know then as a grant, oh my god, that must have been so amazing So maybe because they we have a dog and they just absolutely adore this dog So who knows maybe that could be in the future. 

[00:44:50] Renee of Hundred Suns: It is true when we talked to them jokingly We’re always joking with them. Obviously if they if neither of them care about wine, we’ll be totally fine with that But at one point we were we were It’s asking our son, like, what do you think?

You want to take over a hundred sons someday? And he was like, God, no, you guys work way too hard. Right. And we were like, fair enough. Yeah. Fair enough. Work pretty hard. You got to be able to do it. You got to be able to do it. 

[00:45:18] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: You got to be willing to 

[00:45:19] Renee of Hundred Suns: and love it. Yeah. Cause if you don’t love it, then it’s.

Yeah. It’s not worth it. That’s gotta 

[00:45:24] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: be hard. Yeah. And that is, it is, uh, it is so gratifying to start something from the ground up and, and, you know, now going into eight years and like having people follow us and continue to purchase the wines and enjoy them and, and tell us they, I mean, that’s, that’s amazing.

You know, when we were first starting that, that’s the dream. But, you don’t, you don’t know where your dream will go. And now we’re in the middle of it. And sometimes you have to take a hot minute just to sit back and be like, Wow, okay, this is, even though we’re working hard, it’s paying off. And it’s, it’s an amazing ride.

Yeah, 

[00:46:00] A.J.: it is. Um, in the spring of 21, I was trying to compose a, uh, a writing piece for Janice Robinson’s, uh, yearly writing competition. Uh huh. And I came upon the Bednarak. Am I saying that right? Bednarek? We say 

[00:46:18] Renee of Hundred Suns: Bednarek, but who really knows? I don’t 

[00:46:20] A.J.: know. All right, so I’ll say Bednarek. Yeah. I came upon the Bednarek Vineyard, uh, and I don’t know if you remember, but you and I had a Zoom session.

It was April 14th, 2021. Uh huh. And I loved how you When you first came upon the vineyard and just seeing it you were just kind of blown away by how it looked and everything How how did you like come upon that 

[00:46:43] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: vineyard? Well, it came through the mora family. So, um When I was at beau fraire, um There was the, the Mora family that helped farm it.

So they did a lot of the hand work in the vineyard, so from pruning to pulling, tying, all the things in between. So, um, it was One Valentin and Chewy, the three brothers, and they had a sister as well that worked in, two sisters that worked in the vineyard as well. Um, and so, um, They left and kind of went off on their own around 2015 or so.

And they started leasing properties, farming them, and then selling the fruit. Uh, and so somehow, and I don’t know how, they met William Bednarik, uh, and they were helping him with the farming. And he was, he was getting into his 70s and had some health issues, but and then eventually They he when he got sick and eventually passed away Then they took over full kind of lease and farming of the vineyard and but in 16 Oney called me up and said, Hey, look, I’ve got this vineyard, um, called Bednarek and it’s out near Cherry Grove, Oregon and, um, do you want it?

Are you looking for any fruit? And I said, look, no, I mean, we’re, we’re pretty full up and our, you know, our bank account’s pretty low, but it was 

[00:48:05] Renee of Hundred Suns: really early days. It was, yeah. We started in 15 and we were making 450 cases and so Bednarek, we came, we brought that on in 16. So we hadn’t sold anything yet. We were at the point where we were just outputting.

And so I’m sure that I was like, what? 

[00:48:22] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Yeah, and I went out and checked it out, and it was, we didn’t buy a lot, but I, I could tell, you know, like, okay, this is an old vineyard for Oregon, it’s own rooted, it looked like it was in really good condition, uh, it, it just seemed like a real diamond in the rough, and I know that, Uh, Panther Creek had worked with it in the past, um, and made some, some pretty nice, uh, I hadn’t had any at the time, but some, I’d heard some very nice single vineyards off of it.

So, see this is really, this is the kind of stuff I like. Right. You know, finding this, this cool gem. 

[00:48:53] Renee of Hundred Suns: You’re also like a big feeling guy, like you get onto a site and you’re just like, this feels right. Right. I mean, I, part of that is scientific and you’re in the back of your head. You’re like, the aspect is right.

The temperature feels good. Like you’re thinking about all the things, but you also sometimes talk about the feelings that you get when you’re standing on a vineyard. And when you came back from that vineyard visit, you were like on fire. I just remember being like, okay, there’s, we are going to obviously be getting this fruit.

[00:49:23] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Yeah. Yeah. So we got a little bit of fruit that first year. Um, and then we’ve gotten more sequentially over the years and it is a really special site and it always. never ceases to kind of amaze me. It really is somebody who, people who love more delicate Pinot Noirs, who like more floral Pinot Noirs, that, that comes from that site.

Um, it’s never particularly powerful in terms of its weight or fruit profile, but it’s, you know, there’s a lot of mystery kind of woven into that wine, and, and every time we open a bottle, I’m always, even when I was like, like, even the 19s, you know, we put them in a bottle. I was like, okay, that was a really nice bottle, you know, it was light and fresh and I really enjoyed it.

And then we opened a bottle maybe, I don’t know, maybe two months ago, and it I, it floored me. I was like, it put on weight and the fruit was so much more broad and it was so pure. And I was just like, oh my god, this may be the best bottle of wine that we’ve ever made. You know, at that, that night. You literally said that.

At that night. I think this is it. I think this is it. And it was, it was, when it went in the bottle, I was like, yeah, that’s a, you know, 90 point wine right there. And, and I’m like, that’s a hundred points. Of course. In my head. Yes, yes. But anyways, like, yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s a pretty awesome site. Yeah, 

[00:50:47] A.J.: no, I vividly remember that conversation.

And again, thank you for taking the time. 

[00:50:52] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Oh, of course. Yeah. Yeah, no. And I love it when people take a unique interest in site and there’s a lot of single vineyards. Um, I, when I worked in California, I remember when I was at Testerosa, they were making. So many single vineyard sites and they were all really good.

There’s certain ones that were in certain areas. And I remember they tasted very similar. I would go to, I would go to Sonoma and I would taste at wineries and there’d be 15 single vineyards and they all kind of tasted the same and they’re really good. But here I, I really find such amazing. Vintage and site variation.

That is really the beauty of Oregon is you can just be like, wow, I want to follow that site, not just from, not just from Hundred Suns, but, you know, Martin Woods or Project M or whatever, like all are making incredible Bednarks. They show the signature of that place, right? Yeah. Yeah, 

[00:51:45] A.J.: that that is cool. Yeah, 

[00:51:48] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: that’s 

[00:51:48] Renee of Hundred Suns: an advantage to I mean, part of it.

Yeah. It would be great if we were gazillionaires and had the money to buy a huge estate vineyard somewhere. But because we don’t have a huge estate, we have, you know, three tiny acres that are under new vines now. They were old vine, you know, that we ended up pulling out because it was phylloxerated. But, you know, because we only own a tiny bit of dirt, it allows us to go and source fruit from all of these different vineyards.

All of the different sub ABAs here in the Valley. And that has been really gratifying for us. I don’t think we would ever want to stop doing that. And people ask all the time, too, well, what’s the difference between the wines that you were making at Beaux Frères, the way you were making the wines, or the wines that you’re making for Flaneur, versus what you’re doing at Hundred Suns.

And it’s not that our practice is very different. I mean, some things were more, maybe a little more experimental here in some ways. Because, you know, it’s us, if we You know, if we screw something up or don’t like something we have we don’t feel guilty about it. It’s ours to lose Yeah, but there is a there is a real benefit to being able to source from all of these incredible sites that are Scattered all over the 

[00:52:59] A.J.: valley.

Yeah, and you have a ton of stories 

[00:53:00] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to go with them. Yeah as well It is really fun. And there is something to getting to know in a state and you know I think of a Beaufray or a brick house and they’re mostly working With one particular site and getting to know it and there is the the year to year story that you tell and the farming and just the true intimacy that you grow with the site, you know, but in Burgundy, there’s, you know, oftentimes domains that have you know, multiple vineyards that they’re sourcing from all over, you know, north and south.

And some of them are five rows of this and three of that. And they’re, you know, they’re in, they’re in different zones and they’re on different, you know, bits of soil. And, and it’s not dissimilar from that where we get to work with all these different terroirs. And I, I’ve learned a lot. I really have like.

I suppose, when I was at Beaufair, we were definitely working with different vineyards. Grand Moraine, Zena Crown, uh, I worked with Carabella, Shea, all these, a lot of different things that went into the Willamette Valley wine usually, and then we did do some single vineyards as well. So I did get to kind of like, um, scratch that outer itch of like, what’s the Eola Hills about, or what’s Yamhill Carlton about?

But with us, like, we’ve been able to work with some pretty incredible sites and, we’ve Like I’ll use, we have the Carson Phillips Vineyard, which we’re working with in the Dundee Hills. And I think of it as very classic. You know, it’s basalt based soils, uh, deep jory. You get this like, very rich, but sort of red fruit in that sort of raspberry, cranberry.

It is just absolute joy to drink. Um, and then we have this other vineyard, Lone Feather, that we’re working with now. This is our second vineyard, second vintage of working with the Pinot, we haven’t released any yet. But it’s old vine, own rooted as well, planted right around the same time that Bednarik was.

But it’s in very rocky basalt soils, um, in the McMinnville aviate. So it’s actually in the town, it’s, it’s in Sherwood, but it’s in the McMinnville aviate. Sheridan. Sheridan, sorry. Okay. Sorry. Um, and, but you couldn’t, Bednarik and Lonefeather are completely different. The Lone Feather is dark and brooding, and in 23 it’s like, it has incredible acidity, natural acidity.

It’s like, you know, pH of 3. 3 on a finished, um, you know, Pinot Noir. But so much richness and incredible depth, it’s just like, it’s a skyscraper of a wine. Right. And, but it’s You know, you bring this fruit in, tiny little clusters, scraggly, and it made this incredible wine, both in 22 and 23. So, you know, you’ve got basalt soils in two different areas, and they’re so, they have similarities, but so different.

And that’s, that is, uh, that’s really fun, and it’s taken me a long time to learn areas, and for us to, like, understand what What’s, what we like and what’s Those are gonna be 

[00:56:03] Renee of Hundred Suns: really fun side by sides to taste Bednarek and Lonefeather. Yeah. To get, like, with people going forward because they are both. So old, you know, organ 

[00:56:12] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: old.

Yeah. Oregon old. Don’t read it is 

[00:56:14] Renee of Hundred Suns: a way of putting it. I like that. They’re, they are, they’re organ old. I mean some of the older ones. And so, and then there we have a bottling that kind of joins forces, um, from all of our own rooted vineyards. And so we get to take those favorite barrels that we have of all of our own rooted sites, and we put together a very small special Kube for that.

So there’s. It’s fun to taste them in their own right, and then also really interesting to see what happens when you take both of those profiles that Grant was talking about, and then you get to kind of incorporate them. It’s a whole different kind of beautiful. It really is. 

[00:56:51] A.J.: Yeah. So I have a, like a random question that I always ask couples when they’re side by side.

Um. If you want to say no, I don’t want to answer, it’s totally fine. Oh, but the question is, and I’ll start with you Renee, I’m going to ask you the same question. It’s the middle of the night, and you get a phone call, and it’s Grant on the other end of the phone. Okay. He’s in jail. Okay. What crime has he committed?

Oh wow, 

[00:57:20] Renee of Hundred Suns: God, you’re so straight and narrow, it’s really, really hard for me to imagine you being in jail for anything. Drunk in public?

[00:57:32] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Probably. Yeah, I mean, that would be the best. 

[00:57:34] Renee of Hundred Suns: No, but you’re not really a big drinker like that either. Oh, let me think about that. 

[00:57:39] A.J.: Maybe surfing after hours when he’s not supposed 

[00:57:43] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to be? No, I don’t think you can get locked up for that. 

[00:57:45] Renee of Hundred Suns: Okay. I mean, it’s really hard. You are such a, you are very, you’re a law abiding kind of guy.

Like you’re a, you’re a good person and a good citizen. I’m just trying to think about all of the things because you’re not, you’re not so much a risk taker outside the lines like that. You’re, you’re a huge risk taker in. You’re very entrepreneurial and you have no fear about going forward because you have confidence in what you do.

So you’re very risk taker y in that way, but in other ways, you’re not. But why 

[00:58:20] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: am I in jail? Tax fraud? What did I do? 

[00:58:23] Renee of Hundred Suns: Um, I don’t know. Come back to me. I gotta think about that. 

[00:58:28] A.J.: Okay. I mean, when I first started asking these questions, the first time I asked it, the wife was like, murder. And I’m like, oh, damn.

Wow. And then, you know, there’s been arson and baby stealing and then other people have been like, uh, Mountain biking on private 

[00:58:45] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: property 

[00:58:46] Renee of Hundred Suns: Yeah, 

[00:58:48] A.J.: so now your 

[00:58:50] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: turn grant it’s the middle of night middle of the night Middle of the night your middle of the night and Renee is in jail. Yeah And there’s no walkable coffee anywhere.

Yeah, right? Right? I think, I think 

[00:59:07] Renee of Hundred Suns: you’ve fallen asleep in a public place that you’re not supposed to be. Okay. 

[00:59:13] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Maybe. So 

[00:59:14] Renee of Hundred Suns: Trespassing style, like, found a bench, exhausted, couldn’t get home, fell asleep. 

[00:59:20] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Well We like to play this game sometimes in our, when we drive, I drive the kids to school. Okay. And it’s, we give three items, um, and so like a squid, a pen, and a ball of twine.

Okay. And then we’ll say like, okay, are you gonna be the robber or the thief? Um, and you know, so the kids will say, okay, I’m gonna be the robber. And I’m like, okay, what you have to do is somebody has a golden statue of a kitten, and you have to use those three items. And then you have to come up with the story of how you’re, you know, stealing this item.

So where is this going? I have no idea. I can only think of making up a story because I can’t think of any reason why you would be in jail. We are 

[01:00:01] Renee of Hundred Suns: so boring. Well, I think it would have something to do with my driving. Yeah. I’m not a very good driver. You are very fast. 

[01:00:08] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: I’m like a way too fast fast driver.

My problem, I would probably be in jail for going too slow. 

[01:00:14] Renee of Hundred Suns: Too slow. Yeah. I thought of that, but I was like, they 

[01:00:15] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: wouldn’t put you in jail for that. I drive, and I’m, as Renee likes to call it, I, I begock. Oh my gosh. So, so when I’m driving, I’m like. I cannot be in a car with that. Oh, I’m looking all around.

It’s infuriating. Especially when I, when we’re in like wine country, and I’m just like, so I probably would. You know, I would have, like, pulled into a ditch and, you know, and gone. Trying 

[01:00:36] Renee of Hundred Suns: to see, you’re trying to see what’s happening in a vineyard as you’re driving by and, like, ran a car off the road. And they might be driving related because otherwise I think we’re pretty law abiding folks.

Yeah. But, you know, I maybe would be going too fast, but you would definitely be off the road, maybe into another car, bogawking to see what How much Verasian has occurred in the middle of them trying to 

[01:00:59] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: see. And for you, I think that you would be in jail because, um, you went for a work trip to Missouri. Uh, and you actually didn’t realize that there was a warrant out for your arrest for tax fraud because you didn’t know it.

Because you just hadn’t paid the taxes on the Missouri 

[01:01:17] Renee of Hundred Suns: State License. It all comes back to my inability to do compliance well. I think that’s what he’s saying and I own that 

[01:01:24] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: 100%. And then they would throw you in jail and they’d be like, you owe like five years of back taxes. That’s, that’s possible. But, um, that’s about, I think that’s where we would be.

That’s fair, that’s 

[01:01:34] A.J.: fair. Well, I have some rapid fire questions, I’ll reveal the wine and I’ll get you out of here. Okay. Favorite artist to listen to during Harvest?

I know you like 

[01:01:49] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: jazz. I do like jazz. Um, I’m, I guess I’m pretty generic. I love Miles Davis, um, you know, his kind of blue album is a very calming thing for me. So, when I come in, like, in the morning, like, especially if I’m by myself, it’s usually, like, super, super mellow. I would say the other one is a, is a, um, he is a jazz trumpeter, his name is Matthew Halzall.

I think he’s Canadian. Uh, but, like, extremely, like, ethereal, and It’s super, like, just balances me out, so if I’m ever stressed, um, he, he’s got a couple albums that are pretty incredible. So I would say Miles Davis, Matthew Halsall, and then it like moves later on in the day, you know? Then I kind of move into sort of like classic 90s hip hop, which is always.

Everybody has fun with that. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. 

[01:02:46] Renee of Hundred Suns: That’s true. We do listen to a lot of 90s hip hop in here. I think my, when I’m in charge of the DJing. Right. I. I mean, it’s kind of, it syncs up because there’s an age difference. I kind of grew up in the, in the 80s and he grew up in the 90s. And so, as is just true for so many people, we sort of get stuck where we were in high school.

And so I am stuck solidly in the 80s. And so if I’m at bat, it’s definitely like, yeah, some like 80s. Yeah, general public and English beat and like the cure and wooden tops, obscure eighties band. The, the, like, those are my, those are my go to’s in Harvest. I like it to be really high energy during Harvest.

Right. Like there are times when we’re just doing punchdowns and like morning work where we’ll start and it’s just, but if we’re on the processing line, I got 

[01:03:39] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to be hyped up. Oh yeah. You don’t want Miles Davis. No. 

[01:03:42] A.J.: Yeah. Mama 

[01:03:44] Renee of Hundred Suns: needs jams. Like that’s where the 90s hip hop comes in. Or good, good 

[01:03:48] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: 80s jam, um, you know, put like Prince on or something like that.

Yeah. There you go. There you go. Very nice. 

[01:03:55] A.J.: Favorite indulgent food. Mm. Oh. 

[01:03:59] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Oh 

[01:04:01] Renee of Hundred Suns: god, it’s so depressing. 

[01:04:04] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Because I Oh, wait, wait, wait, let me, can I guess? Can I try and guess? Yes. I would say your, like, the number one, like, it’s, it would be chocolate malted crunch. Uh, from the Thrifty’s ice 

[01:04:16] Renee of Hundred Suns: cream. Okay, that is very high up there, yes.

Yeah. That is, that is definitely a good answer. But what were you gonna say? I, I mean, like, I just love any, I like love It’s like a pasta carbonara or like a fettuccine alfre I love carbs and cream sauce any day of the week. Is yours pizza? Your indulgent 

[01:04:36] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: food? Just cheese in general. Like cheese is my desert.

Like I love cheese more than anything. But you 

[01:04:41] Renee of Hundred Suns: allow yourself to eat cheese. I do. You don’t allow yourself 

[01:04:44] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: to eat a lot of pizza. I guess indulgent. I don’t eat a lot of pizza, but that’s my favorite. I love it. That’s your jam. Yes. Pizza. 

[01:04:51] A.J.: Yeah. Very nice. Uh, if you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

[01:04:57] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Oh, definitely move objects with my mind because it would make moving barrels so much easier. 

[01:05:03] A.J.: So much easier. Yeah, there you go. Yeah. Mine would be 

[01:05:08] Renee of Hundred Suns: to understand accounting. Is that 

[01:05:11] A.J.: a superpower? Yes, that is a superpower. Uh, harvest notes. Are they digital or handwritten? 

[01:05:19] Renee of Hundred Suns: Wait, you’re supposed to take harvest notes?

Oh, 

[01:05:21] A.J.: I don’t know. Maybe, I mean, some people They’re 

[01:05:24] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Not even 

[01:05:25] Renee of Hundred Suns: written. They’re all up there. They’re all on a piece of painter’s tape on the barrels. Okay. That’s kind of where the harvest notes are. Harvest notes. They’re Or on placards. 

[01:05:32] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: We do have placards. And then we stuff them away, and you were for a long time pretty good about putting harvest data back in, but I digitize 

[01:05:40] Renee of Hundred Suns: them eventually, like I try to.

I’m a, I’m a vintager too behind right now, but I, you know 

[01:05:44] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: what, I really, to that note though, I remember at Beau Frere, one of my jobs was to keep a log. Like a daily log. Right. So every day, or, you know, if it was a week, sometimes I’d condense it into a week, or harvest, I wouldn’t do it all every day, but like We had log books of, we called the lab books, so it had all of our, you know, analysis from, from Harvest and Sugar Bricks and all that stuff, and then we would have notes.

And, so, you know, for my nine years there, I, every day, I wrote something down. And then, before me, Steve Goff, and then James Cahill, and, and then Mike Goetzel himself. Right. And so, we had this huge, like, tome of all the just random, and it would be like, You know, Rogelio and Grant pruned in the Upper Terrace today, and we tasted through barrels, and barrel number 55 The point being, we do not do that anymore.

Yeah, but I wish that I, I need to do that. We don’t have the 

[01:06:39] Renee of Hundred Suns: time, we don’t have the time to take copious notes on things. But we do keep notes on each fermenter, and then on barrels, and then those, those fermenter notes get transferred digitally. But other than that, the data You are so intuitive about the way that you make wine.

And so that is also part of it is that it’s not super lab heavy. It’s not like you’re running juice panels to decide how to ferment things. You’re tasting things and smelling things. And a lot of the practice, I think, is like that, actually. I mean, you do do, you know, we do send things to the lab when we need to, but it’s very sensorily 

[01:07:17] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: driven.

Yeah, and I always talk about You know, sometimes, you know, people are so, they’re looking at numbers, you know, and you forget to, you know, it says it’s red, it says it’s doing this, and then you look up and you’re like, that’s not doing that. You know, you gotta, you gotta look at the patient and see what’s going on and feel the heartbeat.

So we, we’re not, we’re not very tech heavy in terms, we do look at sort of what I call the heartbeat of the wine, which is, you know, the, the acid levels and the sugar, sugar levels. Right. Um, but in terms of. You learn from certain vineyards over time, like that’s going to be a nutrient deprived vineyard.

That one’s not going to ferment. That one’s going to come in with a really high pH. Yeah. This is going to come in at you. have that to kind of, um, and that usually takes about three years of working with a vineyard to start to understand that. That makes sense. 

[01:08:09] A.J.: Last book you read? It could be audible, it could be a podcast, it could be anything.

I know that you’re busy, so trying to actually read a book is, can be difficult. 

[01:08:18] Renee of Hundred Suns: I just read a book called The Midnight Library. Okay. I can’t remember what the, who the author is. Our neighbor gave it to me and it was wonderful. It was sort of a, um, alternate reality time bending escapism with a, with a, uh, great book.

Message about the way to live your life. That sounds fun. It was actually, it was, it was a great read. Okay. Liked it. 

[01:08:40] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Alright. It’s been a long time since I finished. You’re reading! You’re reading! I’m in the middle of a book right now. Okay, what are you in the middle of reading? What’s it called? It’s called Fourth Wing.

Fourth Wing. Oh, did 

[01:08:50] A.J.: you? That’s like the second book. 

[01:08:52] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: It’s the first one. Okay, it’s the first. Well, cause they, so Ty read it, our son read it first. And then he was just like, and then she read it. And so there, and then I was like, I really want to read this too. And so I’m in the middle of it, but they can’t not talk about it.

But I’m like, hold off. Don’t talk about it until I get through it. So they’re kind of waiting. I might have 

[01:09:10] Renee of Hundred Suns: loose lift a couple of details that I shouldn’t have, but it’s okay. 

[01:09:13] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Anyhow, you’re going to still enjoy it. That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. And, um, and then a friend of mine gave me a. A book about the poisoning of DRC, so that’s my next on my nightstand.

Nice. Yeah. Yeah. No, 

[01:09:28] A.J.: I gave the fourth, fourth wing to my daughter for Christmas. Oh, you did? Cause I heard, you know, it’s like one of those books that you start reading, you can’t put it down. Yeah. And, you know, I heard that it’s very 

[01:09:38] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: sexy. Oh, yeah. I haven’t gotten there yet. Okay. There 

[01:09:42] Renee of Hundred Suns: was, there were, there were some definite parts where I had to, Explain some things to my 14 year old.

We got out some biology, you know. Right. We, we got, we went on the interweb to look at some diagrams. That was over at Chris big age. Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m doing this right 

[01:09:57] A.J.: now. 

[01:09:58] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Oh my goodness. It was hilarious. That’s awesome. I loved the conversations because you guys had both read and I was like, Okay, well, I gotta read this thing now.

Yep. 

[01:10:08] A.J.: Alright, shall I reveal what the 

[01:10:09] Renee of Hundred Suns: wine was? Oh, please do. I think it’s older than when I originally thought. I said 

[01:10:13] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: 13. Uh, wait, hold on. Let me. Okay.

I’m going, okay, I’m going to move away from, uh, Yves Chambois and I’m going to say Adelsheim. I don’t know why. It 

[01:10:31] A.J.: just tastes like an Adelsheim. Okay. So, it’s a loose connection here. Okay. Um, when you came up to interview with Eric Homaker, uh, Erica from Walter Scott. Give you a bunch of directions and stuff down.

Oh yeah, she was working at the Bistro. Right? So I brought a Walker Scott Gammay. 

[01:10:51] Renee of Hundred Suns: Oh it’s Gammay! You were right! 19 Gammay! Oh my god, you were right about that! You were all over it. You got that! Wow, unbelievable! 

[01:11:01] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: You said we had editing power on this? Yeah, that’s all the discussion 

[01:11:06] Renee of Hundred Suns: about what we were talking about.

Wow, that is great. That makes me want to go and open some other 19 Gammays. Well, I’ve never had 

[01:11:14] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: that, by the way. And then I went to J. L. A. Mountains with, uh, with Adelsheim, so I’m feeling Yeah, it’s 

[01:11:20] A.J.: practically right across the street. Yep. 

[01:11:24] Renee of Hundred Suns: Wow! Well, I was way off on that. But, that’s 

[01:11:29] A.J.: delicious. Yeah. Well, that’s all the questions that I have.

Do you have any questions or comments for me before we wrap up? 

[01:11:38] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: Um No, just 

[01:11:42] Renee of Hundred Suns: Okay. What are the through lines for you as you’ve sat with people, um, from, you know, the, the valley? Are there any things that just sort of to you seem like common echoes in people’s stories or experiences? Oh, boy. 

[01:12:00] A.J.: That is something that I haven’t really thought about.

See, it’s hard 

[01:12:02] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: being on the other side. 

[01:12:03] A.J.: It is hard being on the other side. No, you know, and I’m, uh, no, I think it’s turned off now. Through lines, I mean, there is, uh, a lot of hard work that goes into everything that you do. And, one of the things that I try to show is that, yes, there’s a lot of hard work.

And, in general, we kind of put winemakers up on this pedestal of like, they’re gods. But, y’all are just normal people. And I really want people to see that. And, you know, as far as, as far as a through line is, these are humans. And everybody over here is just a human doing the best that they can. In this life that we have.

[01:12:51] Renee of Hundred Suns: Takes a lot of hard 

[01:12:52] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: work. Yeah, I think. One of the distillations of everything we do at the end of the day, and I try and, you know, if I’m like up in front of a group, and I’m talking or I’m at a more intimate wine dinner, I say like, at the end of the day, like, you know, we’re hoping that you will buy our bottle of wine and take it home and enjoy it at what is probably one of the most precious moments of your day.

Right. You know, and, and, for certain people, absolutely, a hundred percent, you know, the food and the wine is the most precious point, because you, you work your day, you work hard, and then at the end of the day, the moment that you’re able to, you know, pull that cork and have that food, and it doesn’t have to be extraordinary food, it doesn’t even have to be an extraordinary wine, but if it’s our wine, it’s on your table, and we’re shi we’re like, kind of at the table with you.

Yeah. And. That’s pretty special, and a little voyeuristic in a way, because we’re like at the moment, you know, there may be a conversation. And also we put 

[01:13:55] Renee of Hundred Suns: little cameras in our bottoms, so we can actually 

[01:13:57] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: see what your reaction is. It’s getting really expensive, the bottoms. I can only imagine. Jeez. But that, that to me is When you kind of extend yourself all the way forward into the line, and then just think about it, you know, maybe somebody opens it many, many years later, and they’re with people who, who’ve never heard of you, and they’re drinking a bottle of your wine.

Um, it’s special. In a very unique way, what, there’s very few food products or, or things in general, there’s tangible items, I suppose, you know, you could hand somebody, you know, your grandfather’s war medal or something like that, but this is something that you actually imbibe, which is, and, and shows the place and time and the people who made it.

Couldn’t agree more. 

[01:14:40] A.J.: Yeah. Yeah. Well, again, I appreciate your time and this has been a great, great 

[01:14:47] Renee of Hundred Suns: time. Thanks for 

[01:14:48] A.J.: sitting down with us. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you for joining me on this flavorful voyage through the world of wine on the Wine Notes podcast. I’ve been your host and guide, A.

J. Weinzettel, and it’s been an absolute pleasure sharing these captivating stories with you. But alas, 

[01:15:04] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: like the last sip of a 

[01:15:05] A.J.: fine vintage, our time together. Mustard. But don’t fret, my wine loving friends. The cellar doors of the Wine Notes podcast will always remain open, waiting for you to return and explore 

[01:15:17] Grant Coulter of Hundred Suns: new conversations, 

[01:15:18] A.J.: stories, and musings from the captivating people behind the magical world of wine.

Before you go, hit that subscribe button on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify, and don’t forget to leave a sparkling. I star review to help spread the word into our glasses. Clink again. Remember to savor the lights moment and let the spirit of wine and camaraderie linger on your palate. Cheers. And as always, may your wine glass be full, your heart be light, and your journey be delightful.

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