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Phil Coturri, vineyard manager

When he was a city kid kicking around San Francisco in the 1960s, becoming a rock star was a little more alluring than becoming a farmer. But when his parents bought land in Sonoma County and his family began spending weekends in the country, Phil got his first taste of how satisfying it could be to work the dirt and help things grow.

Now, with forty years experience farming vineyards throughout the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, nothing excites him more than the opportunity to push the envelope at Oakville Ranch, which he calls one of the region's truly extraordinary places.

Phil draws inspiration from a range of sources, including his longtime friends Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead. "They carved their own path," he says, paraphrasing Bill Graham. "They weren't just the best at what they did, they were the only ones who did it." He runs his vineyard management company the same way, farming both organically and biodynamically while refusing to cut corners for the sake of commerce. Each hillside and hollow in the Oakville Ranch vineyard holds its own original chord deep beneath the soil. Phil coaxes these notes to the surface, knowing that, together, they'll make music in the glass.

When he's not farming for his clients or working the various gardens that yield eighty percent of his family's food, he heads to Lake Tahoe to ski or mountain bike. He spends a few weeks each year in New York City visiting museums and listening to as much live music as possible. He collects books and wine. He's as passionate about going out for good food as he is growing his own.

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