Tony Soter – the quiet consultant

Tony Soter and harvest crew, 2020

From Napa names such as Dalla Valle, Eisele, Spottswoode and Shafer to his own label in Oregon, Tony Soter has shaped the definition of great wine on the West Coast. Above, Soter surrounded by his harvest team in 2020. See also yesterday's article and tasting notes: Soter Vineyards – a retrospective.

The title ‘consultant-winemaker’ has become charged with tension, followed by whispers of ‘standardisation’, ‘sameness’, and – vilest of all – ‘marketing’. But it didn’t begin that way. When the legendary Bordeaux oenologist Émile Peynaud began consulting for wineries in the 1950s, his teachings focused on things that...