Markus Niggli of Markus Wine Co.
How did you get started?
My first career was in tourism, which allowed me to travel the world. I was able to explore the wine regions in Australia, US, Europe, and South Africa. I came to the realization that different wines created in each location were fascinating, and I couldn’t wait to compare these wines with each other. The results were mind-blowing.
What’s your winemaking style?
Hailing from Europe, I think I have naturally adopted that Olde-World style. I tend to prefer food friendly, higher acid wines. After all, they are meant to be enjoyed together.
In the world of wine, who has influenced you most?
The small unknown wineries who bring their heart and passion to their wines. They all have a story to tell, and we all know how little we pay attention to them.
We all focus on the big brands, on wines with high scores, or wines that somebody else likes a lot. But we never look closer to actually discover what we ourselves like to drink. The unknown drives me forward…
Do you have a favorite wine you’ve made?
2016 Markus Nimmo – a Kerner-based blend aged in oak, is something you won’t see anywhere else. (Lodi is the only place the Kerner grape is grown in the US, and in Europe you don’t put it in oak.) Opening a bottle takes me back to my home country. The wine does exactly what it should do: put a smile on my face. It is a great bottle of wine and the vineyard performed great that year.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
When people come together, like on a river cruise. As they travel together and drink my wine at dinner, Markus Wine Co. becomes part of their memory. That is very rewarding.
What do you admire most about Lodi Wine and the recent progress it has made?
The way wineries are open to experimenting. We need to adjust to the constant changes the weather brings. We need to open our eyes to what direction the market is heading. I like to be one step ahead instead of two steps behind. If we can convince the consumer to look a little closer at Lodi, they will be pleasantly surprised with what we have to offer.