Scott Klann Proprieter & Winemaker Newsome-Harlow Wines – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member
Mutineer first ran into Calaveras County winemaker Scott Klann when we did a feature story on the region in Issue 11. We quickly became hooked on the area, and his wine, and Team Mutineer moved to Calaveras for six months to immerse ourself in the culture of the small Sierra Foothills wine region that was just starting to make a name for itself. Calaveras County is a place that must be visited and when you do go, be sure to stop by Scott’s Newsome-Harlow tasting room for some of the best Zinfandel you’ll ever taste. We are proud to present Scott Klann, Proprietor and Winemaker of Newsome-Harlow Wines.
What first interested you in wine, or making wine?
It really wasn’t something I was interested in (or even aware of) until after falling into a crush job in my early 20’s.
How did you get started in the wine industry?
I literally fell into a crush job at a local winery. I had no idea about wine. I always thought Chardonnay was some guy that had his wine everywhere, but by the end of day one, I was hooked!
What is your favorite aspect of what you do?
The variety is my favorite aspect. The fact that every day is different is what I like the most. Some days I’m walking vineyards, some days I’m in blending trials, some days I am on the road selling wine.
Did you have any mentors who helped you along the way?
Yes, a few. My first mentor was Chuck Hovey, winemaker at Stevenot Winery in Murphys [California] where I got my start. He taught me the practicality of making wine and helped solidify my passion for this business. Another mentor was/is Brian Klassen, national sales director for Stevenot, I learned from him that this business is mostly about relationships. Finally, Tom Montgomery (currently winemaker at BR Cohn) helped me put the pieces all together and taught me to lose the fear.
Do you have any advice for people looking to become a winemaker or enter the wine industry?
As in most any industry, hard work and persistence is the key. Prove yourself worthy by paying dues.
How are job opportunities different in a place like Calaveras County, compared to somewhere like Napa?
Here in the foothills the industry is just now growing from its early days of small 1 to 3 person operations. Combine that with a smaller number of wineries than other regions and you end up with some challenges, although they are not insurmountable. Like many things in life, it is about creating relationships. I suggest seeking these wineries out and seeing where they need help. You might need to string together a couple of different part time jobs in wineries, restaurants, bars and hotels to stay afloat in the beginning but all of those jobs will lead to a bigger picture education.