Twisted Cedar Winery: Interview with Phillip Anderson
A Wine Wanderings Premier Newsletter: Twisted Cedar, a Utah Native-owned winery located in Lodi, CA
Introducing Phillip Anderson, DipWSET®, Master of Wine candidate, Vice President, Twisted Cedar Wines
Phillip Anderson started out selling wine in a tasting room and discovered a true passion for wine. Since that time he has explored all aspects of the wine industry. He was partner in a South African wine importer where he learned to blend wines. In Texas, he served as general manager and wine maker for a 20,000-case winery. He has worked for producers from around the world and headed up sales for distributors in Texas and California. He is currently Vice President of Sales for CBC BevCo, producers of Twisted Cedar Wine. He is also the International Wine Specialist for Beach Box Ibiza a 5 Star Hotel by the sea in Cala Xarraca, Spain. Let’s plan to visit him there! Welcome, Phillip Anderson.
An online Interview With Phillip Anderson, Twisted Cedar Winery - Transcription below.
About Twisted Cedar Winery
The Twisted Cedar Wine brand is wholly owned by the Cedar Band of Paiute Indians, one of five constituent Bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.
“The Cedar Band of Paiutes people are ever conscious of our relationship with the earth and are proud of our sustainably grown and farmed Twisted Cedar wines. Twisted Cedar wines produce a tremendous benefit to the Band’s community, by providing employment opportunities and socioeconomic programs on the reservation. Twisted Cedar wines truly are a tribute to a proud people, the Cedar Band of Paiutes”. - Laurel Yellowhorse, Board of Directors, Cedar Band Corporation.
Twisted Cedar: Portfolio of Wines (Find the Wines)
The Interview (Transcription): Tricia Conover, DipWSET® and Phillip Anderson, DipWSET®
Along the way, Phillip and I passed the British-based Wine and Spirits Education Trust’s (WSET®) Diploma program, one of the elite certifications in wine. He moved to the even more demanding and exclusive MW Master of Wine program where he is currently a candidate. There are only 400 MW’s in the world! Phillip’s specialty is organic and biodynamic wines. He has been an instructor or guest lecturer on wine and viticulture at several universities. He has traveled extensively in wine regions around the world but loves to be home in California with his wife and two daughters.
Phillip was one of my five tasting group ‘buddies” as we studied for our numerous WSET® Diploma of Wine exams.
Tricia Conover (TC), Wine Wanderings: Hi, this is Tricia Conover with Wine Wanderings and today Philip Anderson is joining me from Twisted Cedar winery. Hi, Philip, thanks for joining.
Phillip Anderson (PA), Twisted Cedar Wine: Thanks for having me.
TC: Let's tell the audience what you do generally and more specifically for Twisted Cedar, and then a little bit about the winery.
PA: I'm Vice President of sales. So, I go around, try to sell the wine! And what's cool about the wine is that it is owned by the Cedar Band of Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. So it's 100% native-owned, and 100% of the profits go back to the Cedar Band, and they're used for various social programs like after school programs for kids and family counseling.
TC: I was wondering how the wine brand benefited the tribes. Are some of them perhaps employed in the winery?
PA: We really don't have anybody employed in the winery. The winery is actually located near Lodi, CA, and the reservation is located in Utah. We do have a lot of people who are involved with the brand, and who have worked with us on different projects. These members had input into the back label, for instance. I don't know if all 257 tribal members gave me their thoughts on [the label], but many of them did!
TC: That's fun that they were so involved. I'm drinking your Twisted Cedar Cabernet Sauvignon as we are sitting here. Tell me about some of the wines you make and some of the press you've received.
PA: We make seven different wines these days. There are four reds and three whites. We are proud of the Cabernet, which won the gold medal and the Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition. It has done well for us. We also have a Malbec which is kind of unusual for California. We have a blend of Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah. That's one of my one of my favorites.
“And, we have Zinfandel because you know if you're gonna have Lodi wine, you kind of have to have Zinfandel, I think it's the law!” - Phillip Anderson, DipWSET®, Vice President of Sales, Twisted Cedar Wine.
For white wines we make Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and we also make a Moscato. But, we source those grapes from Clarksburg because it's just a little cooler there due to the breeze coming off the canals.
TC: Very cool, I actually tried your Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah blend, and it was wonderful. It had really smooth, ripe tannins and spicy flavors and aromas …a lovely wine. So, you source your grapes from Lodi? What is your target market? And how do people find out about you?
PA: You know, we want everyone to drink [our wines.] But I won't say that there's a specific market we target. We're pricing the wines at $15 or less in most places. And so, you know, we're actually trying to beat that value. [This is] more of an everyday wine, not just a special occasion wine. During the COVID era, we were probably a little bit more available in restaurants, because we're priced well for “by the glass wines” menus. And we always make sure we have enough acid in the wine to pair well with food. We want our wines to be accessible. Currently we are selling a lot wine more in retail stores.
Phillip Anderson on Sustainability
TC: I understand, Philip, that your wines are sustainable. What does that mean for a customer?
PA: Well, lots of people say these days,” Oh, this wine is sustainable.” What's important is how that certification is determined. Our wines are certified through Lodi Rules, which means that there are 120 different specific things you have to do to qualify. What's cool about [this certification] is that [the criteria] ranges from everything from not using a lot of pesticides, to making sure that the people who pick the grapes get paid a living wage to using renewable energy in the in the field and in the winery facility.
To me the Lodi Rules program is the gold standard of sustainability. I think it's something that every winery should want to do. Because the goal is to be able to keep minds healthy for longer and to keep the land healthy for longer. For some [industrial] agriculture, the idea is to grow as many carrots as you can on the smallest amount of land.
“But you and I both know that growing the most grapes per acre doesn't equal good wine. I think it makes sense to move towards sustainability.” – Phillip Anderson
TC: That's certainly true. I'm [currently] enjoying your Cabernet Sauvignon. I could see drinking this paired with steaks and hamburgers. It seems very approachable for food. My last question for you: Some of our readers are not in California. Where can they buy [your wine]? Online? Directly?
PA: You can buy directly from us at TwistedCedarwines.com. So that's, that's easy enough. We're available in some stores in Texas, Oregon, Montana, and New York just started last month. So, we're slowly getting the wine out there. In the United States, as you know, it's not just one market, it's 50 plus different markets [due to state regulations.] Never underestimate the ability of somebody to go into their local store and say, “I want this wine.” That makes a difference for our distribution.
TC: Yes, we all need to do that here in Texas, Phillip. Thank you for joining me on Wine Wanderings today.
PA: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
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