Grower Spotlight: Goldschmidt Vineyards
Nick Goldschmidt moved from his New Zealand home to Healdsburg in 1990. Says Goldschmidt, “Dry Creek Valley was ideal for us. We can’t be as close to the ocean as we were in New Zealand but at least we have the river. It’s a magic spot.” Twenty-five years later, Goldschmidt has now lived half his life in Sonoma County, though he’s such a world-traveler that one can hardly say “home” is any one place. Goldschmidt grows grapes and makes wine in Sonoma, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and other locations, as consulting winemaker for dozens of wineries worldwide.
Though Dry Creek Valley has historically been best-known for its zinfandel, Goldschmidt has long championed the region for its merlot. His Dry Creek Valley vineyard is seven acres, all planted to merlot clone 337. Goldschmidt explains, “The soil is really loam over river gravels. What I find is that there is really good water holding capacity which seems strange for this area but I am a big proponent of not having dehydration in merlot and so this works well. The grapes we pick are fully-ripe with fresh fruit elements and soft tannins.” His Chelsea Goldschmidt Merlot–named for one of his three daughters–earned a 92-point score in Wine Enthusiast in 2006, its first year of production.
Goldschmidt at the White House
This year has been a big one for Goldschmidt. The Kiwi got a rare American honor when his wines were served at the White House. The event was even more memorable, since Goldschmidt is an old friend of White House sommelier, Daniel Shanks. In other honors, Sonoma Magazine spotlighted Goldschmidt in their “Top 100 Wines” issue and included two of his wines among their favorites.
Goldschmidt is a dedicated educator, inspiring other winegrowers in Sonoma and beyond. He is a frequent guest lecturer at UC Davis, Fresno State, and Cal Poly, has written multiple articles for the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, and is a regular speaker at American Society of Viticulture and Enology conferences and at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.
Goldschmidt’s favorite part of globetrotting are the people he encounters. “I get to work with the best winemakers in the world,” he says. As humble as he is generous, Goldschmidt explains, “They hire me to consult but actually I think I learn more from them. It is really fun and working with different cultures is what winemaking is all about.”