From wayward chickens to bizarre reports of underground fight clubs, the St. Helena police log is a source of endless amusement, and podcasters Chris Morisoli and Hillary Hoppe are loving every line.
Take one part crime, one part wine, and two parts good fun, and you’ll get the Nine One Wine podcast, which Morisoli and Hoppe launched in 2020.
Morisoli described the monthly podcast as “low production quality but high authenticity.”
“It’s the podcast that Napa Valley didn’t know it needed,” he said.
The original idea belonged to Hoppe, a police log buff from as far back as high school when she would look forward to the log’s publication in each Thursday’s Star. Even when she was off attending college and grad school, she remained a faithful reader.
Now back in the Upvalley and working as a family nurse practitioner, Hoppe pitched the podcast idea to Morisoli, a fellow police log fan who helps manage his family’s vineyards in Rutherford, flies helicopters for the California Army National Guard, and serves on the Rutherford Volunteer Fire Department.
Morisoli’s mom used to send him the Star when he was serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the police log was always a welcome source of comic relief.
The hosts spend each episode sipping wine and chatting with a local guest. Lately, the podcast has attracted wine country luminaries like Jean-Charles Boisset and the Mondavi sisters, as well as rising stars like Ian McCaffrey and Matteo Abreu.
Dream guests include chef Thomas Keller, restaurateur/winemaker Joel Gott, and St. Helena Police Chief Chris Hartley.
“We love talking to Napa Valley people who have a rich history and fun stories,” Hoppe said.
The hosts complement each other. Morisoli specializes in wine and Hoppe is all about the crime.
“You don’t want to listen to a whole podcast about wine or a whole podcast about crime, so we bounce back and forth,” Morisoli said. “It’s a unique blend of two subjects we both enjoy.”
When asked about her favorite police log entry, Hoppe went with the suspicious package on Main Street that turned out to be a bag of cookies. Morisoli chose the box of wine that caught on fire outside Beringer.
“That’s the most Napa Valley thing I can think of,” Morisoli said.
Morisoli doesn’t think he’s ever made the police log, but Hoppe has done so a few times, always for fairly benign reasons. Once she lost a dog, and another time she and her friends set off legal fireworks during a birthday party. The birthday girl’s subsequent thank-you notes were accompanied by copies of that week's police log.
The Star has a policy of not naming businesses or individuals in the log, but the hosts love the thinly veiled references to the “Hunt Avenue store” and the “Main Street bar.”
“We’ve always wanted to record a live police log reading at Ana’s,” Hoppe said.
She and Morisoli often yearn for more details about specific log entries.
“We all want to know what happened with that box of wine,” Morisoli said. “What happened to that injured raccoon on Adams Street? Did we get him to Dr. Gold? Is he safe? Is he thriving? Did he have a good life?”
“Or do we need to attend the funeral?” Hoppe asked.
Future shows feature ghost stories at AXR winery with winemaker Jean Hoeflinger, and a group of local CPAs who devised a bingo game based on the police log. They call it Blotto.
Morisoli and Hoppe hope to keep showcasing the authentic side of the Napa Valley, not the polished image that’s presented to tourists.
“Being in the Napa Valley means being stuck behind a limo full of famous people or behind a tractor,” Hoppe said. “We’re more of the tractor side.”
You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.