What (and where) was the first bottle of wine you remember drinking?
Growing up in a European-cultured family, you drank wine as far back as you can remember. One memory comes to mind when I was very young sitting at the table in the summer having red wine poured into a bowl and slicing up fresh peaches that went into the bowl. After eating the peaches and drinking that wine... I told myself this will someday be my life too following the family tradition making wine.
What event/bottle/etc made you decide that you wanted to be in the wine industry?
I can remember a friend brought over a very nice bottle of wine. I was with my grandfather at the time...he opened it and all I could think of was after tasting it that our wine has life, body and spirit and this expensive bottle was just okay...at that point I knew our family with hundreds of years producing wine could do things better.
Which of your current wines is your favorite and why?
Bold Merlot because you can age it for well over 20 years and it spent 2.25 years in older French Allier oak. The wine just keeps building in the glass.
What has surprised you most about being a member of the Finger Lakes wines community?
The lack of coordination between the lakes. You have three wine trails and then UncorkNY.org all running redundancies. If you were to combine the whole operation you could save over $500k a year in redundancies and spend that money on a well-coordinated program and work all as one. It's simple -- they are using Adam Smith's flawed economic model rather that Dr. John Nash's economic model that won him the Nobel prize in economics...the movie "A Beautiful Mind" tells it all.
Other than your own wines, what wine/beer/liquor most often fills your glass?
Zinfandel. it's just in my blood as I was raised on copious amounts of this
wine. The wine is very dynamic and very under valued.
Is there a 'classic' wine or wine and food pairing that you just can't make yourself enjoy?
All wine can be paired properly... but don't serve me a Gewürztraminer unless it's an ice wine. There is a chemical in that wine grape that just doesn't hit me right.
Wine is the catalyst for very good conversations. I find it brings out the best in people...so most any wine anywhere with or without food, but with a good conversation there nothing close to it.
Thanks to John Zuccarino for taking part in this interview.