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Winter Sports Enthusiasts

February 20, 2018

Have the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang inspired you to hit the slopes, carve up the halfpipe, or attempt a quad? It sure has for us!

Discover how some of Paso Wine’s winter sports enthusiasts spend their winters! Niels Udsen, Castoro Cellars and Eric Ogorsolka, Zenaida Cellars, talk heli-skiing, shot-skiing, and what pairs best after a long day on the mountain.

Niels Udsen, Castoro Cellars

What winter sport/sports do you partake in? Skiing – alpine, cross country, backcountry, and heli! I have been skiing as long as I can remember. After Bimmer and I got together, we went skiing and she was a natural. Before long there wasn’t anywhere she wouldn’t follow me on the mountain!

What is the most adventurous excursion you have been on? When my 50th birthday was approaching, my big wish was to go heli-skiing. Heli-skiing is a bit like a surf trip. You choose your days and hope the conditions are perfect. Needless to say, you have to put in some time to get those amazing days and once you get them, they stick to you, and you are addicted. My birthday trip had some down days due to weather and avalanche hazards, but when we got out, it was amazing. We spent the beginning on the lower part of the mountain but kept hearing about the endless terrain in the alpine. We were thinking it was a sales pitch but on our last day the sky cleared and we got a taste of it. 5000 vertical feet of fluffy top to bottom powder and an abundance of face shots! Needless to say, we were addicted! We haven’t missed a year since!

How does working in the wine industry allow you to get your winter sports fix?  We work hard all year but the wine industry has a little blip at the beginning of the year where things are a tad slower. With the help of an amazing crew, we are able to enjoy our passion in the winter.

What is your après ski wine of choice? Beer is really the best choice apres ski as were are parched after a full day on the mountain. Once that is taken care, I love big reds to ward off the chill! Zinfusion mmmm….or a Whale Rock Syrah from our organic vineyard. Apres dinner? Bethel Road aged Brandy!

The winter games in PyeongChang are here! What is your favorite sport to watch? Actually, short track speed skating is fun to watch! Of the skiing events, I always thought I would have been a giant slalom skier so I do love to watch the blend of speed and technic married together. Lastly, the halfpipe is crazy!

What winter sport would you like to try your hand at? Competitive curling with a glass of wine in hand is probably the best fit now!

If you were a competitive figure skater, what song would you skate to? Bohemian Rhapsody

What’s the most prestigious award/medal your winery has won? For which wine? 96 for the Zinfusion – too many golds to list

Eric Ogorsolka, Zenaida Cellars

What winter sport/sports do you partake in? The Ogorsolka’s, being of questionable nordic descent, have a genetic predisposition for winter sporting.  We love alpine skiing, I also like to make mind-numbing sledding routes with my kids (think of tv’s Wipeout) – helmets optional over the age of 30. I also enjoy the sport of Lodge, and Shotski and sometimes at the same time.  One of my favorite winter past times is the sport of “Going to Hawaii.”

What is the most adventurous excursion you have been on?  I once visited a Denny’s at 2am after a night of Lodge and Shotski.  On another occasion, I traveled to Zermat Switzerland and skied the Matterhorn – both true.

How does working in the wine industry allow you to get your winter sports fix?  As a winemaker, I answer to no one. Once harvest is in the bag, I usually have some downtime to ski, snow permitting.

What is your après ski wine of choice?  Jagermeister, and when that is gone I like to drink the Optimus.

The winter games in PyeongChang are here! What is your favorite sport to watch?  I am partial to Nordic Combined, you might have to look it up.  It’s ski jumping combined with a 10K Nordic ski sprint.  Those guys are animals.  My cousin, Ben Berend, competes for the US Ski Team in the team Nordic Combined event.  I also like giant slalom, snowboard slopestyle, and halfpipe.

What winter sport would you like to try your hand at?  Curling; as a winemaker I answer to no one, and I scrub a lot of stuff, so I think I would be good with that little broom.  If forklift driving was an Olympic winter sport, I would medal.

If you were a competitive figure skater, what song would you skate to? That’s easy, Sabotage by the Beastie Boys. It’s very expressive, and I think I would really connect with the crowd and especially the judges.  I would dress in 1970’s leisure suit and blow peoples minds.

What’s the most prestigious award/medal your winery has won? For which wine?  Paso Robles Wine Festival Window Display – 2016