To reiterate — I’m not a wine expert. And I hope I never consider myself one. What I enjoy most about wine is that there is always more to learn, and I plan to make this a lifelong hobby of exploration.
That’s not to say I haven’t picked up a thing or two along the way. This past year, I managed to squeeze in time working harvest in Burgundy at Domaine Lucie et Auguste Lignier (Morey St. Denis) and Le Grappin, a new négoce in Savigny-les-Beaune. A glutton for punishment, I decided to work a second harvest with Duncan and Nathan at Arnot-Roberts in Healdsburg, CA. While this may sound glamourous, it was a lot of hard work and manual labor (punching down bins, cleaning out tanks, and moving barrels). But I loved having the chance to get my hands dirty and see all that goes into the craft. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I was surrounded by great people along the way, making even the late nights fly by quickly.
I’ve spent some time studying wine in the classroom at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa and through 18 Reasons in SF, but I also put together my own personal wine immersion program this past summer, visiting 50-odd wineries in France and Germany. My trip included:
- Champagne: Salon, Jacques Selossse, Bereche et Fils, Rene Geoffroy, Charles Heidsieck / Piper Heidsieck, Pierre Gimmonet.
- Burgundy: Dom. Henri Gouges, Dom. Anne Gros, Dom. Pierre Damoy
- N. Rhone: Thierry Allemand, Dom. Clape, Dom. Jamet, M. Chapoutier, Dom. Rostaing, Hervé Souhaut
- Loire: Bernard Baudry, Charles Joguet, Dom. Huet, François Cazin, Coulée de Serrant,
- Mosel: Willi Schaeffer, Karthäuserhof, Peter Lauer, Immich-Batterieberg, Weiser-Künstler, Heymann-Lowenstein
I also made pit stops in Beaujolais and the Jura. This trip was a great way to learn about some of the storied regions in Europe, get one-on-one time with the producers, and taste a broad variety of wines.
So what do I do other than drink wine? Professionally: I’m a lawyer by trade and a former management consultant, and I’ve worked on two different presidential campaigns. Personally: I’m an avid photographer, an indoor climbing novice (stuck at 5.10a), a “done by 3pm” skiier, and I’m trying to infuse my two nephews with a deep love of football, Star Wars, and the Muppets (so far, so good). I also generally hate talking about myself, so I’ll bring this section to a close.
PS — One last thing. I’ve been asked every now and then how to go about learning more about wine. My advice: Drink often. Drink different stuff. And don’t be a douche about it because then you’ll find yourself drinking alone.