Uncorked: Robert Betz MW
Bob Betz MW is the owner and winemaker at the Betz family Winery in Washington State. His wines include the Bordeaux-inspired Clos de Betz, and the Rhône-like Côte Patriarche from the oldest block of Syrah in the State.
What Vintage are you?
1948 and, like the 1948 wines of Bordeaux, I was stuck between 1947 and 1949 and had to scrap to make it through.
What bottle sparked your love of wine?
Wine was often on the table as a kid, but they were gallon jugs of Cal/Ital (mother’s heritage) and nothing special, but they sparked the fascination. Best single early bottle that convinced me of the New World was the 1968 Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ambition or talent – what matters more?
Ambition without talent is running in circles; talent without ambition is a waste. Both are essential.
What would you be as a wine?
All wine would be red if it could.
Where are you happiest?
At home. The refrigerator and larder are stocked, the wine plentiful, the company the best, and the dog doesn’t talk back.
What’s your greatest vice?
Too much ambition, not enough talent (see above).
Best advice you ever got?
There’s no single, silver bullet to making good wine. It’s a series of small things done at the right time the first time (thank you, Andre Tchelistcheff).
Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?
The last bottle of the first wine we made. Sadly, there are only two left.
What’s the best & worst thing about the wine business?
People make this industry the joy that it is: genial, generous and engaging.
But arrogance and exclusivity on the part of a very few is the worst thing.
Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)
Somewhere in the mid-90s; I’ve been blessed.
Desert island vine?
Grüner Veltliner, capable of taking the heat with enough cut in the resulting wines to be refreshing on a desert island.
Which wine would you like served at your funeral?
Great Sauternes. ALWAYS a perfect finale.