Steve Zeller and Paul Kibbe – “The Art of Making and Selling Wine”

Steve Zeller, Brian Balestri, and Paul Kibbe - The Extraordinary Friends Show

Steve Zeller, Brian Balestri, and Paul Kibbe – The Extraordinary Friends Show

“I’m quietly tenacious.” – Steve Zeller

My guest in this episode was Steve Zeller – a friend I met about four years ago when he and I worked together on a data center project at Donaldson Company. Besides being the Global Facilities Director at Donaldson, Steve is the founder and owner of Parley Lake Winery in Waconia Minnesota. My co-host is one of my oldest and best friends – Paul Kibbe. Paul and I started working together at the same company 28 years ago and we hit it off right away because as you’ll see, he has a great sense of humor.

In this episode we cover a lot of great topics including:

  • the difference between making wine and making beer
  • the University of Minnesota mafia (my words not Steve’s)
  • why “screw caps verses corks” was the toughest decision he’s had to make for the winery
  • and what happens to the juice from the grape stomping competitions that they have at the winery

We also talk about “ladybug taint” and what Steve would do if he had three arms.

As always, the podcast has bonus material not shown in the public access show and in this episode there are extra lightning round questions.

Please enjoy

PS. If you get a chance, leave some feedback in the comments below.


Listen to Episode #6: Steve Zeller and Paul Kibbe – The Art of Making and Selling Wine | The Extraordinary Friends Show


Show Notes

  • 03:44 How Steve got into the wine business
  • 04:53 Steve is a winemaker not an enologist
  • 07:44 difference between making beer and wine
  • 10:00 dealing with the different variables like weather, sun, wind, etc.
  • 12:00 licensing grape vines from the University of Minnesota
  • 13:00 industrial espionage related to grape vines
  • 15:00 the U of M agriculture mafia
  • 16:09 cold climate hearty vines
  • 17:00 first winery in Minnesota – Alexis Bailly
  • 18:00 Steve is NOT pro-global warming, but he DOES like the weather
  • 19:00 Steve explains the revenue breakdown of Parley Lake Winery
  • 20:00 what’s the difference between a vineyard and a winery
  • 21:00 Steve explains wine tasting competitions
  • 22:00 San Francisco chronical wine competition – the Super Bowl of wine competitions
  • 23:00 California’s perspective of Midwest wine
  • 24:00 Minnesota wine is less than 1% of the wine consumed in MN
  • 25:00 Steve explains why he’s jealous of the brewery guys
  • 28:00 Wine is the king having no clothes
  • 30:00 Steve explains how they name their wines
  • 31:00 the importance of the label
  • 36:00 75% of onsite purchases are made by women
  • 37:00 Halludination wine and beer combination
  • 39:00 we talk about the future of the wine industry
  • 40:00 US is the biggest consumers of wine –  but not per capita
  • 42:00 we talk about the pros and cons of getting your wine in restaurants
  • 44:00 Steve explains the grape stomping
  • 47:00 steve explains “aromatic fatigue”
  • 48:00 corks vs screw cap – the most important question
  • 50:00 Steve explains Ladybug taint
  • 52:00 lightning round

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