Wednesdays with Winemakers – Lisa Strid 5 min read
Lisa Strid, a Wyoming native who fell in love with wine while working alongside her uncle on his small vineyard and winery in the wilds of western Washington. After a year of pruning, netting, crushing, and fermenting Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, she realized she wanted to make a career of the work, and entered Oregon State University to study enology and viticulture.
While in school, Lisa interned at Alexana Winery in Oregon’s Dundee Hills, where she learned the ins and outs of luxury, small-lot winemaking. She moved to California upon graduation to take a position at E&J Gallo Winery. At Gallo she worked on the Specialty Winemaking team. After nearly two years she transitioned to the role of Research Winemaker. In this position, she focused on innovative equipment use, new technology validation trials, and the exploration of process-driven changes to target different wine styles.
Lisa joined the Aridus team in June of 2016, just in time to help scale up production to over 100 tons. She enjoys working with the small team of dedicated individuals, learning the intricacies of Arizona winegrowing, and making the decisions necessary to bring Aridus’ clients the highest quality wines possible. She’s glad to be working at a smaller scale that allows for close contact with customers, growers and grapes alike.
– Adrius Wine Co.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A WINEMAKER?
I spent most of my 20s working jobs in the writing field, and found that I really despised being stuck in an office staring at a screen, and had a hard time engaging with any subject matter that I didn’t find personally compelling. When I stumbled into working with vines, grapes, and wine it ticked all the boxes—it was physical with endless analytical aspects and in a relatively short period of time, you create a product that calls on all your senses. So I guess I became a winemaker to entertain myself?
IF YOU WEREN’T A WINEMAKER WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
A writer or a baker. I still enjoy words, and baking calls on most of the same skills as winemaking, with very similar rewards.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH AS A WINEMAKER?
It gets under my skin if I’m not satisfied with a wine I’ve made, and I’ll spend a huge amount of time and energy researching, planning, and trialing in order to make a wine that I’m happy with the next year.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS AS A WINEMAKER?
I’ll fixate on work to the point that I’ll wake up in the middle of the night thinking about upcoming tasks, and as a result won’t be well-rested the next day.
WHAT’S THE ONE MISTAKE YOU MADE IN THE CELLAR YOU WOULD NEVER REPEAT?
Not double checking which tank it is that I’m supposed to be centrifuging…
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
When I was twelve, I read 160 books in a summer. I doubt I’ll ever top that.
WHAT WAS YOUR SCARIEST VINTAGE TO DATE?
- I stepped into the winemaking role at a research winery during a vintage that was already underway.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD?
WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?
My clogs? I don’t really own much, and nothing I can think of that I wouldn’t be okay losing in the long run.
WHAT’S THE ODDEST THING ABOUT YOU?
I don’t think anything about myself is particularly odd, but I’m probably not the best person to ask. I learned the other day that most other people aren’t making campaign videos for their dogs. (Vote Peugeot for Representative of Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.)
WHAT SONG BEST SUMS YOU UP?
The Open Halls of the Soul by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY?
Building a cabin with my family in the mountains in Wyoming.
WHICH OF THE FIVE SENSES IS YOUR STRONGEST?
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST MOTIVATION?
To work in community with others to end injustice and oppression. I see the wine industry as a very fertile field for this sort of work.
WHICH BOTTLE(S) OF WINE WOULD CHOOSE TO BE STRANDED WITH ON A DESERTED ISLAND?
I’d like a mixed case of German Rieslings.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD AND GREAT WINE?
For me, complexity of aroma and persistence of flavor.
NAME THREE INDIVIDUALS YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH?
My partner, Riley, and our writer friends Aisha Sabatini Sloan and Hannah Ensor. In a perfect world, I would have dinner with them six days of the week.
WHO IS YOUR WINEMAKING HERO?
There are so many people to look to for inspiration in the wine industry. Susana Balbo, Bertony Faustin, and Eileen Crane are a few.
WHAT DOES THE CONCEPT OF “BALANCE” MEAN TO YOU?
For me, in a wine, balance means that all the elements of the wine (acid, tannin, alcohol, etc) relate in a sort of harmonious tension. Without a bit of tension, a wine can be uninteresting.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR WINE?
I want them to remember that it enhanced their evening in some way—the food, the conversation, some other aspect. All I want is for my wine to augment the enjoyment of being alive.
BEST COMMENT MADE ABOUT YOUR WINE?
That someone didn’t think wine this good could be made in Arizona.