Meet the winemaker: Disko

Phoebe Cleghorn

2 min read

Disko is a project by Sean Hogan who makes easy drinking, low alcohol wines sourced from organically farmed grapes grown across Santa Barbara County, California. 

We spoke to Sean after including one of his wines in our selection for RAW WINE Club. We hope you enjoy reading our conversation.

Can you tell me about your background and how you came to be a winemaker?

My first vintage was right after I graduated high school. At 18, I decided to take a leap year from school, came out to Santa Barbara County where I worked under my uncle Michael Roth of Lo-Fi Wines, who at the time was working at the Demetria Estate at the time, where I did my first vintage in 2010. I then went to college and worked in the restaurant industry for a few years before deciding that winemaking was the path for me. In 2015, I moved back to Santa Barbara - and I'm originally from New Jersey so really the opposite side of the country - and decided to commit myself full time to making this my career. I worked across a number of wineries doing different things and then I landed a job as the cellar manager at Coquelicot [who we have featured in RAW WINE Club before], working my way up and I continue to make wine with them today. I'm going into my ninth vintage with Coquelicot this fall. 

How did Disko come about?

Disko started in 2020, the year the pandemic began. I'd been wanting to make my own wine for years and never really got around to it, so was just saving up the money. I kind of capitalised on that time during the pandemic where we were staying inside and not doing much of anything, and fortunately was able to save up some money. Fast forward a few months later in August, I bought 2 tonnes of fruit and made an orange wine, a gamay and a piquette. Nomadic Distribution picked it up kind of early on and I've gone from making 200 cases with my first vintage to up to 1500 cases just two vintages later. The growth has certainly been a challenge - as a winemaker and working with mostly estate fruit, I didn't automatically have the connections to source the fruit to be able to work organically, but thankfully I was able to do this and now work pretty heavily with just two vineyards. They're vineyards that I know I can grow with and know that they're farmed honestly. My aim is to make fun, fresh, clean, organic natural wines and keep growing with that.

Sean working in the cellar.

What’s the story behind the name of the winery, Disko?

Trying to come up with a name was the most difficult part of trying to start a business for me. I made some nice serious wines, but I wanted to create a label that's fun and energetic and one that I can play around with, make fun labels and fun wines, that I love to drink and want to share. Disko just came to mind one day and I thought it was fun.

Visit Disko's RAW WINE profile to learn more about the winery and discover which RAW WINE fairs they're pouring at soon.

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