Having listened in awe to his grandfather’s enthralling stories of flying B52s during World War II, Sonoma-born Trevor Durling harboured dreams of becoming a fighter pilot and applied to the US air academy in Colorado Springs. But life had other plans, and an introductory winemaking course at UC Davis sent him down a different path that led to a fruitful career in wine.
The course proved to be a light bulb moment for Durling, who spent late summers working Pinot and Chardonnay harvests in the Russian River Valley, moving to Rutherford to make Cabernet in 2010. Receiving the ‘golden tap on the shoulder’ in 2016, he was appointed the fifth winemaker in Beaulieu Vineyard’s history, making him custodian of cult Cabernet Georges de Latour Private Reserve.
For episode 103 of The Drinking Hour, Durling chats to host David Kermode about Latour’s gutsy desire to make New World wines that could rival the best of Bordeaux, the challenges of running a winery during Prohibition, why Napa is such a perfect breeding ground for high-end Cabernet, the pioneering clonal research going on at Beaulieu, and why it’s important to craft wines that are both approachable young and can also age gracefully.