By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
As is so common these days, he and I got acquainted via Twitter before he left his white collar job in Manhattan for good and moved to the North Fork to make wine. We keep saying that we're going to meet up for a glass or a pint or five, but it hasn't happened yet.
In the interim, I've asked him our standard set of seven questions...
What event/bottle/etc made you decide that you wanted to be in the wine industry?
It’s a collective of experiences that led me here. But the seminal moment came after days and years in finance, the music business and then advertising and marketing, one day I found myself monitoring a focus group for a client, a major beer brand, and I couldn’t help but notice how disinterested our group was with what we and everyone else in the business was selling. My own disinterest made this even worse. I was tired of selling people crappy beer. I was tired of selling people on something I had no hand in actually making. I was tired of just selling people. I wanted to get my hands dirty. That night I enrolled in courses at U.C. Davis, months later I quit my job and now here I am.
What (and where) was the first bottle of wine you remember drinking?
It was an unknown bottle of California Merlot in 1990 (which puts me at around 10 years old); a bottle that was stolen from my parents (sorry, Mom and Dad) along with a few cans of Miller Light (you’re welcome, Mom and Dad). My accomplice ended up drinking the beer and I couldn’t get enough of the wine. I still remember sitting in the middle of that field, the taste of that wine.
Which of your current wines is your favorite and why?
I’m digging through our few Carmeneres. It’s such a bastard varietal: a dream one year, only to turn around and give you the business the next, but one of my favorites.
What has surprised you most about being a member of the New York wine community?
First let me caveat that I’m new here, but for me it’s the dichotomy. On the one hand it’s incredibly gracious and collaborative, yet at the same time it can be quite competitive and cagey. I find this to be a beautiful thing… it can push a region forward, it makes things interesting, it’s healthy.
Other than your own wines, what wine/beer/liquor most often fills your glass?
I have a consistency problem when it comes to alcohol. I’ve been drinking/thinking/dreaming about Languedoc lately. I like its incongruity, the rough edges. Just had a bottle of Roanoke’s 07 Blend 2 that greatly saddened me once it was finished. As for not wine, a rare pleasure is Compass Box’s Peat Monster on cold nights.
Is there a 'classic' wine or wine and food pairing that you just can't make yourself enjoy?
Chardonnay... with anything.
Wine enjoyment is about more than just the wine itself. Describe the combination of wine, locations, food, company, etc. that would make (or has made) for the ultimate wine-drinking experience.
It’s that rare special crescendo during a dinner party, at a bar with a perfect stranger or just on the couch with a friend or loved one, that occurs right around the middle of the third glass. Where the conversation hits that perfect pitch, that moment of clarity, where world problems are solved, famine is cured, love is discovered. Where everything makes sense…. until we oblige that fourth glass and forget it all…