Type of Wine (and other beverages) I like to drink and sell:
I like wine that tells a story and expresses a place. Wine should taste like the place that it came from, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, Sangiovese from Tuscany. I like wine made by passionate people. A farmer that makes organic wine, not because it’s cool to do so now, but because his father and grandfather made it that way. Or, the young winemaker in California that planned on going to art school but after doing a harvest in Santa Barbara got the wine bug, and now, at only 27, has nine vintages under his belt. Plus I like wine that is interesting, like funky orange wine, high acid Pinot Noir, stinky earthy Cab Franc and of course great IPA’s and aged whiskey.
I am from Sonoma County so my strength is California geography. I can see the rolling hills of the Mayacamas Mountain range, I can smell the early morning fog on the Russian River. I have worked mostly with French slanted wine list and I have learned the places and styles of France. What I look for in a wine is a story. I love selling a wine to a person that knows nothing about the grape or region, I tell them about the winemaker and the geography, but I purposely don’t describe the wine itself. Anyone can tell you a wine is full body and has notes of fresh strawberries, I want to take them on a journey.
Favorite Wine Region:
Santa Barbara and Sonoma County in California because of the vast differences you can taste with the many grape varieties and wine making styles. Loire Valley and Beaujolais in France because of all the winemakers doing great things naturally, and with a sense of place and history, plus great value. And Burgenland in southern Austria for its young winemakers showing the world it can make great red wine out of local varieties.
Past & Present:
I started learning about wine in Santa Barbara shortly after graduating from college. I moved back home to Petaluma in Sonoma County and continued to study for my Sommelier Certification. I was quickly handed control of the wine list at Central Market, I felt I knew very little about wine at this point, and had to learn fast. That brought me to New York where I took over the entire beverage program at Five Points, again, still not really knowing enough, I had to keep learning quickly. I held the Assistant Wine director position at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking and was the Beverage Director at Walter Foods in Brooklyn. I have currently been at the Dutch for almost two years, first as the Head bartender and now as the Sommelier and Assistant Wine Director.