MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As a kid growing up in Edina, his dream was to be a rock-and-roll drummer.
He didn’t quite make it. But, that’s a good thing for thousands of people who love wine.
This week, Jason DeRusha met the man behind a California winery that includes a bit of Minnesota in every bottle.
David Ready Junior is not your typical winemaker.
“Grew up in Edina, graduated from Edina high school,” Ready Jr. said.
In high school he was a drummer, and he was obsessed with music.
“When I graduated from high school, I actually just followed The Grateful Dead around the country. And at the end of the summer tour I was in Berkley, Calif. so I went up to visit my dad. We were having a glass of wine and he suggested I get a job,” Ready Jr. said. “I was shocked.”
His dad was a wine importer in Minnesota who helped open Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma County, California.
Ready Jr. worked his way up to making a different kind of music.
“We went from making two wines back in 1985, [to] today I’m making 22-23 wines,” Ready Jr. said.
Those wines all have Minnesota in them — the purple foil and label.
“We’re so Minnesotans, it’s why we’re purple. It’s Vikings colors! That’s our passion,” Ready Jr. said.
And they’re all aged in barrels made out of Minnesota oak trees.
“Does the Minnesota oak have a different flavor to it?” DeRusha asked.
“Absolutely. There’s different compounds that are in American oak,” Ready Jr. said.
The wood comes from a mill in Caledonia, way in southeastern Minnesota.
“There’s this toasted nut character that’s more prevalent in American or Minnesota [oak] than there is in French oak,” Ready Jr. said.
And you can taste that in the Murphy-Goode Zinfandel.
Ready Jr. even created a Minnesota Cuvee. It’s a passion project. He only sells that Chardonnay in Minnesota.
“That’s a really nice Chardonnay,” DeRusha said.
“Thank you. You could pair that with a tuna noodle hot dish,” Ready Jr. said.
Murphy-Goode sells 11 different wines in Minnesota, and you can find them pretty much everywhere.
The winery turns 30 this year. However, heir birthday party isn’t going to be in California, David wants it to be in Minnesota.