William Allen of Two Shepherds: The Surprising Life of a Winemaker

Posted on: February 4th, 2014 by


You ever wonder what it takes to become a winemaker? And then decide to go pro? I had a chance to chat with William Allen, who is the Owner/Winemaker/Chief Barrel-washer, etc of Two Shepherds in California. I got to know William originally through the world of blogging and have had the chance to hang out with him IRL. His tiny production wines, inspired by France’s storied Northern and Southern Rhone regions, should be on your radar if you want to break out of a Napa Cabernet and Chardonnay rut. And you can learn more about William and his wines on my Wine Without Worry podcast. The show, and my conversation with William, raised many questions that you will find the answers to:

  • Tasting, blending, driving all over the place to pick up grapes. Is he crazy to go it alone?
  • What does it take to turn your hobby into a commercial venture ?
  • What is Troussau Gris and why is Two Shepherds’ pink in color?
  • What is it about France’s Rhone region that inspired William?
  • Would William disrupt my romantic date if I had a bottle of his Grenache Blanc in an ice bucket?
  • What makes for a good breakfast wine?
  • Why am I spitting out so much wine? Where’s the swallowing?
  • How can cold soup help you appreciate the complexities of white wine?

Two Shepherds

The second part of the show is dedicated to trying four of William’s wines that he generously sent me to sample. Wines tasted:

2012 Grenache Blanc (Saraloos Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley)

2012 Trousseau Gris (Fanucchi Vineyard, Russian River Valley)

2011 Syrah (Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley)

2011 Syrah/Mourvedre (Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley/El Dorado)

Check out the color on the Trousseau Gris. It’s a white grape, but (spoiler alert!) gets its hue from extended contact with the grape skins:

Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris

Probably not the start of my new career as a hand model.

So, without further ado, here’s the show:

Get Wine Without Worry on iTunes.

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