fine Disregard Mataro

If there is one day each year that Americans enjoy designing the perfect meal, lingering at the table, and spending time with friends and family, it’s Thanksgiving. It’s incredible how we shop and organize for weeks, cook for days, and then spend hours savoring every last morsel and delicious sip of wine.

With absolutely no disrespect for my family’s Thanksgiving traditions (truly, my Mom makes an incredible meal), I have to say that my husband Riley’s family takes this particular holiday to a new level. My mother-in-law is a baker extraordinaire that takes pies more seriously than I’d ever imagined and my father-in-law has mastered the BBQ’d turkey. He brines it, smokes it, grills it, and then we all gather around the table and devour it. It takes your dry turkey breast begging for gravy and knocks it out of the park.

No matter what your Thanksgiving family traditions are - candied yams or roasted root vegetables, lunchtime feast or evening soiree - there’s an aspect of teamwork and collaboration that makes this holiday so unique. If all twenty side dishes are meant to make it to the table at the same time as the bird, then everyone from your ten-year-old niece to grandma is going to have a role. And that’s the beauty of it. When we all gather together in the kitchen, Thanksgiving becomes a day full of warmth and laughter, support and love - a day to leave your criticisms and judgments at the door. And it’s that very feeling of convivial energy cooked up in the kitchen that pairs perfectly with our Mataro from Fine Disregard.

Pairs perfectly with:
~ John’s BBQ Turkey (and all your favorite fix-ins)
~ Pork with dried figs or cherries
~ Grilled lamb chops
~ Chicken with port and figs
~ Carrot tart with ricotta and feta

Curious to learn more?


“Fine Disregard Wine Co. is the personal label of Mike Schieffer and Kara Maraden. Our focus is making bright, fresh wines that truly speak of California. We don’t have famous winemaking consultants, wealthy investors, or a state of the art production facility. We are simply two people committed to making the wines we believe in by seeking out compelling vineyards and practicing a philosophy of minimal intervention in the cellar. We hope you enjoy them.”



Allow me for a moment to go back in time to the fall of 1823 in England when the sport of “Rugby Football” took a historic turn. As the story goes, a young gentleman named William Webb Ellis “with a fine disregard for the rules of the game as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the Rugby game.” Rather than move backward in order to kick the ball across the field as was customary at the time, he simply disregarded the rules expected of him and instead ran straight towards his desired goal.

And it was this very quote, carved into a plaque in front of the official school of Rugby, from which Mike Schieffer (rugby enthusiast and winemaker) gathered inspiration for his new wine label. Already a successful winemaker at prestigious wineries like Beaulieu, Keever and Turley (where he works as the assistant winemaker today), Mike could have reasonably chosen to stay the course in his already successful career. But it seems he has a bit of that William Ellis spirit in him because he decided to throw the rulebook out and run straight full speed ahead towards his own goal.

“We’re trying to carve a different path. We’re part of a group that is being a lot more thoughtful about how they make wine and making them more personally.”



By his own account, Mike didn’t grow up with wine in the house - unless you count the jug of Carlo Rossi preferred by his dad. But after falling hard for a French woman after college he found himself suddenly drinking Burgundy with appreciation and an opinion. He realized that one day he wanted to get into the wine industry, but wasn’t sure how that could happen. As luck would have it, Mike’s rugby coach had a best friend who owned a chateau in Bordeaux that didn’t mind an extra set of hands for harvest.

As harvest in Bordeaux led to harvest in Hunter Valley, which led to stints at some of the top wineries in California, Mike found comfort in the balance between camaraderie and teamwork coupled with a hint of energizing competition among fellow winemakers. It was the same feeling he found so compelling while playing rugby.

“There’s a sense of camaraderie in rugby. We beat each other up on the field for 80 minutes then shake hands and have a pint and celebrate. There’s that community in the wine industry too. We all understand the sacrifices we make during harvest, but there’s a feeling of what wine does at the table - how it brings people together.”



And of course, there’s one very special team member at Fine Disregard, Mike’s partner in business and life, Kara Maradan. If’s Mike’s expertise lies in the winery (and arguably the rugby field), then Kara’s domain is the vineyard. A student of horticulture with a Masters in plant pathology, Kara has made a name for herself as one of the top viticulturists in Napa Valley and is currently the Director of Viticulture at Foley during the day. According to Mike, “When we’re walking vineyards together, I really rely on kara. As a viticulturist, she has such a keen sense of observation from working in vineyards for so long. Having graduated from one of the top plant pathology programs in the country, she’s so grounded in grapes and vineyards. I’m more about the cellar. We work in tandem every day - like players on a team.”

And finally, what inspires this dynamic duo to produce the beautiful bottles that make up Fine Disregard?

“I certainly have my influences and inspirations, but ultimately I want the wines to taste like California. This is where we are. We are proud of this. Part of highlighting that this is California wine is changing the way people see CA wines. We’ve been making wine that doesn’t fit into this modern perception of big and ripe and juicy for 150 plus years here in California. You can make beautiful, elegant wine in the state. We can get that sunkissed feature, but also elegant, acid driven wines. Ultimately, it should taste like California.”