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About this Virtual Tasting

Denise Clarke, the winemaker for Altipiano vineyards in Escondido California joined John Sporing, founder of A Life Well Drunk for a virtual tasting on Thursday, September 10, 2020. Denise was among the first female winemakers and the only African-American female winery owner in Southern California.

Did you miss the live virtual tasting? No worries, watch it here:

In the tasting we sipped and discussed three of her wines:
• 2017 Altipiano Sangiovese
• 2017 Altipiano Primitivo
• 2017 Altipiano Petite Sirah

Meet the Maker

Growing up a tomboy in San Diego County, Denise Clarke never would have thought that one day, she would become co-owner of a vineyard and winery and ultimately become the vintner. Many experiences contributed to her new journey. The most significant being a trip in March 2007 to Italy and later the 2007 California Wildfires. She had always dreamed of having a vineyard little did she know that dream would become a reality.

As she toured Venice and Southern Tuscany, Denise fell in love with Montalcino. The tranquility of the countryside and the views of the vast beautiful vineyards started the dream; desire and passion to one day have her own vineyard. June 2008, Denise with her husband Peter planted the vineyard with 2600 Brunello Clone of Sangiovese Grosso vines, 640 Barbera vines, and with 240 each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah vines.

Coming from a long line of family farmers, Denise always loved having her hands in the dirt. There is a beautiful rhythm in the vineyard as the plants go through the cycle of bud break, flowering, fruit set, veraison, harvest and fall dormancy. It is the same excitement, anticipation, and anxiety she experienced as a little girl/adult before playing her first note of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Many mentors were part of her teaching and development. To join the company of fine wines is a privilege and a commitment that Peter and Denise approach with passion and humility. Nature provides the path, life provides the energy and tradition provides the journey. She hopes to always be a student pursuing the perfection that leads us all to experience the music of wine!

Lean more about Denise and Altipiano here.