Give the Governor a Harumph!
(Yep, that’s the real) Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles

Before we even had a name, we had bottled our first wine and were anxious to see how it would stack up. So we gathered some friends from the wine biz and held two blind tastings. Facing wines in the $125-$250 range, we knew our wine was up against some serious competition. So when we finished first in one tasting and second in the other, we were surprised and anxious. We knew we had something special. Now we needed a name.

Fast forward a couple months. We had tossed around a boatload of names, but nothing stuck. Then, while at a dinner party in St. Helena, our host and friend, James Leahy, said something spectacular…something that stuck: “Give the Governor a HARUMPH!”

It was like home…a line from Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. We took one quick look at each other, and we knew we had our name. Born out of our shared appreciation for the comedy of Mel Brooks and some random movie quote at a dinner party, our wine got its name. HARUMPH. While we’ve got great taste in wine, our taste in movies is undeniably awesome.

Since that night at the dinner party, we’ve had the good fortune to speak with Mel Brooks on several occasions and have even tasted him on our wine. He is quite the oenophile, and he loved our wine. Harumph…it’s perfect.

For nearly twenty years, Scotti has made a career out of his passion for wine. From teaching and tasting to production and promotion, he loves everything about wine and is always thirsty to learn more. With his gregarious personality and penchant for all things fine, Scotti is eager to share his knowledge and experience with people just getting into wine, as well as with collectors who know their way around an extensive cellar. Working in restaurants to pay his way through college, Scotti had an epiphany when his mentor first gave him a taste of a 1982 Chateau Leoville Las Cases. Incredible! Not only was it the beginning of a true fascination with and appreciation for wine, it was also the turning point in his career. Moving up and making a name for himself, Scotti became Wine Director at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston, Texas where he developed the wine program and earned a Best Sommelier award from Food and Wine Magazine in 2000. In 2004, his talent in both sales and hospitality brought him to Napa Valley to join Revana Family Vineyard as host to their top clients. From there, Scotti went on to Crocker & Starr Wines and Fisher Vineyards to develop and maintain their hospitality programs. In 2012, Scotti branched out on his own to start Stark Advantage. Whether developing partnerships with local wineries or creating custom itineraries for wine country visitors, Scotti is always looking for new ways to show off Napa Valley and connect great people to great wines. In his ten years of hosting people in Napa, Scotti has created a network of awesome people both locally and globally. If there is anything you need in Napa, Scotti can connect you. To introduce someone to great wine is, to Scotti, pure joy. So it’s with great pleasure that he embarks on this adventure with his friend and partner in this monkey business to introduce you to Harumph.
Michael grew up in small town Oregon and found his way to Sonoma State University to play NCAA basketball and study chemistry…a fine pairing. Although he always dreamed big, he never imagined he’d wind up using his degree in chemistry to make wine in Napa Valley. Wowzers! At SSU, a group of basketball boosters in the wine industry first introduced Michael to the world of wine and he took interest right away. Building a career in medical sales, Michael quickly became an avid collector and consumer of great wines throughout the world. The 2000 vintage of Bordeaux was a catalyst in taking his fondness for wine to new levels. He began to read, read, read. Always interested in the production side of the wine business, he never had the guts to try it himself. Over the years, he took classes at UC Davis, Napa College and Chemeketa College in his free time. And after many years of “I should do it” talks to his other half, Casey, and to a whole slew of Napa Valley friends, he finally said, “Fuck it!” And so it began. Michael made the jump and started his ascension into the wine world. Good fortune and great connections have afforded him the distinct opportunity to work with a who’s who list of winemakers: Thomas Rivers Brown (Schrader Cellars, Outpost, Maybach, etc.), Benoit Touquette (Realm, Hartwell, Fait Main, Kata, etc.), and Martha McClellan (Sloan, Levy & McClellan, Checkerboard). And now, with buddy and business partner, Scotti, he’s ready to storm the court on his own.
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