Meet the Team – 10 Questions with Cooper

Welcome to our monthly blog series, Meet the Folded Hills Team, and our September 2023 edition. This is a little “get to know you”, highlighting one of our fabulous team members each month. We will ask them ten questions, find out their favorite FH wine, and even get one of their favorite recipes to pair with it.

This month we are talking with Cooper Kuhnle, Ranch Manager here at Folded Hills. Cooper will talk your ear off over a cold beer or glass of wine, but nailing him down for this interview was like herding cats. Unlike the book version of Cooper’s favorite movie, this will be a quick read…

FH: Hi Cooper! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us for our Meet the Folded Hills Team series. Let’s find out a little more about you. Where did you grow up?

CK: Carissa Plains.

FH:  When you were 10 years old what did you want to be when you grew up?

CK: A helicopter pilot.

FH: What are three things you can’t live without?

CK: Pizza, beer, and a touch of water. 

FH: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

CK: Johnny Cash.

FH: What travel destination is on your bucket list?

CK: Switzerland, to see the Alps. 

FH: Name one thing you’ve learned the hard way?

CK: Measure twice, cut once.  

FH: Any television shows that you’ve binge-watched recently? Would you recommend them and why?

CK: Blacklist. It’s very good, would definitely recommend. 

FH: How did you first get into wine?

CK: When I got the job at Folded Hills. 

FH: What is your favorite movie?

CK: Lonesome Dove 

FH: Last but not least, what is your favorite Folded Hills wine, and can you share a recipe that you love to pair with it?

CK: August White. I’m a beer guy, but I’m also a BBQ guy, and August White is great with so many things. Tri-tip is my go-to. Here’s an easy recipe. 

Thanks Coop! We love a good tri-tip, and the pairing sounds perfect.

Stay tuned for next month’s Meet the Folded Hills Team – Ten Questions Monthly Blog Series post. Any guesses who it could be? Who would you love to hear from?

‘Till next time! Hope to see you soon.

Cooper’s Favorite Pairing Recipe –
Juicy Smoked Tri-Tip

Pair with our award-winning 2021 August White

Note: If you are not from California, you may not have heard of tri-tip. In case you’re wondering what to ask your butcher for…it is the bottom sirloin cut of a cow, named for its triangular shape. You may have heard this beef cut referred to as Santa Maria Steak or California’s Cut. Whatever the name, it is DELISH!













Smoker (any type)
Wood chips or wood pellets (preferably red oak or mesquite)
Meat thermometer (preferably a leave-in digital thermometer)
12-inch cast-iron skillet


1 tri-tip
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse Rub
Dried rosemary


  • If the tri-tip is untrimmed, use a sharp knife to cut off the large fat cap. Flip the tri-tip and trim off any excessive pieces of fat and silver skin. Even if your tri-tip was trimmed, make sure it doesn’t need any additional trimming, and remove those spots if necessary.
  • Rub the olive oil all over the tri-tip.
  • Stir together the Kinder’s Buttery Steakhouse Rub and dried rosemary and rub all over the meat so that it’s well-coated. If desired, you can wrap the meat in plastic wrap and allow it to dry brine in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. However, this step is optional, and you can move straight to smoking if you’d like.
  • Place the tri-tip directly on the grates of a 200-degree F smoker with a water pan. Insert the leave-in meat thermometer, close the lid, and smoke for about 55 minutes or until it reaches 5-10 degrees below your desired final internal temperature (see notes for temperatures).
  • As the meat nears your desired temperature, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it’s blazingly hot. Right before searing the meat, add the butter, which will melt almost instantly. Place the tri-tip in the hot skillet. You might need to curl the small end to help it fully fit. Sear until browned, about two to three minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Remove the tri-tip from the skillet and place on a cutting board. Allow it to rest for five to 10 minutes.
  • Cut into thin slices against the grain, rotating the meat as needed when the grain direction changes.
  • If desired, spoon remaining melted butter on meat.
  • Serve with 2021 August White and enjoy!



  • Remove the meat when it’s 5-10 degrees below these final temperatures:
    • 125 degrees for rare, 135 degrees for medium rare
    • 140 degrees for medium
    • 155 degrees for medium well
    • 60 degrees for well done
  • Highly recommend not cooking above medium rare with medium being the absolute highest for the most tender, juicy meat.
  • Don’t skip trimming. The fat cap on top will not break down during the cooking process. It absolutely needs to be removed.
  • Trim the meat right after removing it from the refrigerator. Cold meat is stiffer and much easier to trim.
  • Don’t skip the rest stage. This allows the juice to be redistributed in the meat. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a dry piece of tri-tip.

Click on the image below to download a printable copy of Cooper’s Favorite Juicy Smoked Tri-Tip.