FOODIES WEST.COM         
SCOTT BURR, FOUNDER | FARMER
CARTA COFFEE MERCHANTS
May 2016 Issue | Vol. 4, No. 9   A Third Generation Northern California Winemaker Gets Back to the Land





















 
 
 
 

       
Iron Chef | Executive Chef Director of Food & Beverage
JW MARRIOTT TUCSON STARR PASS
DANNY PEREZ


Owner | Executive Chef
ELOTE CAFE, SEDONA
JEFF SMEDSTAD

     
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THE PHOENICIAN
Greg Tresner/Pinot Noir

            
COFFEE:
The wine of Araby



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Scott Burr | Founder Carta Coffee Merchants | 100% Kona Coffee Three generations and 110 years ago, Scott Burr’s great-grandfather, Anselmo Conrotto, emigrated to California and worked a small winery in the Santa Clara Valley, south of San Jose. The winery, Old World and hands-on, had open-top concrete fermenters and redwood tanks built on the side of the hills. All-gravity. “He worked through Prohibition,” Burr said, “like a lot of people did, making wine. Then my grandfather took over. So I learned every aspect of winemaking. Growing the grapes in the fields—along with walnuts, we were farmers—making the wine, producing it. It wasn’t vintage dated. It was always a blend. And delivering the wine to restaurant around the Bay Area.” At the time, red blends didn’t have the glam they do today. Restaurants typically served wine in a café—a liter or half-liter of red or white wine. Vintages were uncommon; labels rarer still. When varietals became vogue in the 1980s, Conrotto changed with the trends. Burr got a degree in Enology and Food Science at Fresno State University with the intention of continuing in the family business. Instead, life happened, and he started on a long and winding road to a Kona coffee plantation in Hawaii. “Due to health issues in the family,” Burr said about continuing at Conrotto, “that didn’t happen. I went to work for a company called ConeTech, which brought technology into the wine industry. I spent nearly 20 years running around the world promoting that technology. I was bringing a lot of cutting edge New World techniques to winemaking.” After traveling on the road for weeks at a time, Burr burned out. He realized he drifted a long way from his first love of working in the field. Getting his hands dirty, and producing something. “I said, Okay, it’s time to do something different,” Burr shared his thought process. “And coffee had always been there. I’d been to the Big Island in Hawaii on vacations several times. I’d been to coffee farms and seen the similarities between coffee and wine. It kind of clicked. It was really what I wanted to do.”