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The unconventional winemaker

March 1, 2011 |  9:58 am

Tarlov Here's an early peek at what's coming in this week's Food section:

Like most outsiders who get into the wine business, Mark Tarlov, the guiding force behind Evening Land Vineyards, had much to learn about the ins and outs of running a winery. So he surrounded himself with smart people, learned the lessons he needed to learn and then, almost immediately, seemed to forget them.

Instead of one winery, for example, Tarlov now has three, in two states (Oregon and California) and on two continents (the U.S. and France). He makes mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay — two very crowded varietal categories — with an ever-increasing number of cuvées, an amount that seems to have more to do with Tarlov's insatiable curiosity than his business acumen. The end result is one of the more unconventional winery models ever conceived in this country.

Then again, Mark Tarlov isn't exactly conventional. This is a man who went from writing speeches for Warren Burger to practicing law in Washington, D.C., to producing John Waters films — in other words, a man who has worked with a chief justice and the director of "Pink Flamingos" — suggesting a skill set that's a bit more elastic than most.

Click here to read the rest of the story by Patrick Comiskey.

Photo: Mark Tarlov. Credit: Jean Yates