Boxcar Imports Presents: Caleb Leisure

From fromagerist to vintner, wine was not in Caleb’s plan. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, you would think it would have influenced him then, but it was not until his move to New York that he became interested. Working at a natural wine bottle shop, he was able to form the basis for his love affair with wine. It was also here where he tasted his first Georgian wine and instantly was in love.
Caleb moved to London years later, and he fell into the natural wine scene there while working as a cheesemonger. As a cheesemonger, he worked with mostly traditional raw British cheeses, which formed his culinary philosophy. He began to see wine as food. From here, he took advantage of his proximity to France and started visiting wine regions such as Jura, working with producers, working in the vineyards and furthering his wine education.
Returning to California, he landed a cellar hand position with Tony Coturri, which further solidified his low-intervention philosophy. Upon a trip to Georgia in 2016, his mindset changed about what a wine is and what it should be to him. It was at that moment that ignited him to purchase ten qvevris, made in Malkhaz Kapanadze in Western Georgia, using crowdfunding resources. Caleb is the first and only producer to my knowledge in the USA that uses qvevris.
The qvevris sit in sand and volcanic rock in a cave at Coturri Winery in Glen Ellen, California. As is the custom in Georgia, several silver coins were tossed into each one for good luck. We think his plan was brilliant from the start, and no luck was required.
These stupendous wines are a labour of love from a small, one-person winery.