5 Questions with John Alban...

5 Questions with John Alban...

March 18, 2022


5 Questions with John Alban about... 

A Conversation with Dr. Nick Dokoozlian 

Thursday April 21, 2022 | 4pm – 6pm
Ponderosa Pavilion – Paso Robles Event Center  


Hospice du Rhône founding director, John Alban answers five questions about his upcoming conversation with Dr. Nick Dokoozlian, Vice President, Winegrowing Research, E. & J. Gallo. 

Who is Dr. Nick Dokoozlian?  

Dr. Dokoozlian is V.P. of Winegrowing Research at E. & J. Gallo, Research Chair for the National Grape and Wine Initiative, an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology, and a former UC Davis Professor.  He oversees the single largest viticultural research budget in the world.  Put simply, Nick knows more about grape growing than the rest of us combined ever could.  


Have you met before? 

Nick and I became friends almost 40 years ago while attending graduate school at UC Davis.  I was immediately struck by his unique combination of practical viticultural skills and theoretical knowledge.  After graduating, I begged, then hired Nick to be my first, and to this day, only viticultural consultant for Alban Vineyards.  Evidently the Gallo family came to see what I saw in Nick early on: the greatest grape growing mind on earth.  It also appears Gallo’s research budget and opportunity exceeded my own and thus he works full time for them…


What kind of information will he be sharing?  

Dr. Nick will share his vision of applying Big Data, AI, and a multitude of specific physiological traits to determine cultural practices and harvest dates.  While that may all sound disconnected, futuristic, techy, or ‘Big Winery’ and inapplicable to smaller, high end producers, Nick farms the top end of Gallo’s amazing portfolio - Clarendon Hills, Gallo Sonoma, Orin Swift, Talbott Vineyards…using these same principals.  Whether you think it absurd or amazing, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to investigate and inquire.


What should I expect from the Conversation?  

A lot of what we ‘know’ and think we know about grape growing will be challenged or contradicted.  At a minimum it should be tremendously provocative.  For those who temper their reflexive responses with the fact that Nick really does know more about grape growing than anyone you’ve ever met, it could be revelatory.  We will budget a lot of time for questions: SO BRING IT ON.


Given that you and Dr. Nick have been friends since college, what are you most afraid he might ask you?

More worrisome than any question would be the pictures...and I think there's a very good chance he'll share them.



Admission includes one seat at an indoor table, set with individual cheese plates by Gayle Hascall of Di Raimondo's Italian Market and Cheese Shop, and wines from the Hospice du Rhône cellar.


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