by Blaine Pate
From the Happy Canyon appellation of Santa Ynez comes Habit, a truly artisanal wine high on both style and substance. After seven years of making wine in his own basement, voiceover actor Jeff Fischer (who plays the character based on him in the animated series "American Dad") knew he had reached his potential as a garage vintner. Striking up an old-school apprenticeship with friend and iconic winemaker Doug Margerum, Fischer became a cellar rat, providing manual labor in exchange for the use of Margerum's facilities and knowledge.
In the creation of the Habit label, Fischer cold-called his favorite artist, Stefan G. Bucher, on a lark to ask if he'd design it. To Fischer's surprise, Buscher told him that he had always wanted to design a wine label, but had never been asked. When Fischer told Bucher of his addiction to trying to make a good wine, and his feeling that winemaking is in his blood, the desirous hand and bloodlike droplets on the label were born.
The result of these collaborations, Habit's sauvignon blanc is quickly gaining acclaim in sommelier circles as a nuanced, sophisticated-yet-friendly wine that marries hints of pineapple, grass and grapefruit with a delicately floral nose. Perfect for a summer barbecue, it pairs deliciously with grilled vegetables, shrimp and duck, while the striking label inspires conversation.
Limited to a batch of 50 cases, Habit's going fast. It's primarily available from a select list of restaurants and retailers in Los Angeles and New York. Check out the site for vendors, or as Fischer says, "If somebody wants a bottle, they can just email me." Cheers to the artisan.