Founder of 1WineDude.com, one of the most influential and popular wine blogs in the U.S.
Was there a certain event or moment that made you want to become a wine expert?
My wife Kerri is a fabulous cook, and while we were dating, and long before I knew much of anything about wine, she prepared a lobster-and-potatoes dinner for the two of us. I brought over a California Chardonnay, I don't even recall what it was, I just knew that she liked CA Chardonnay. That wine was inexpensive but it matched the meal perfectly, the light-bulbs went off in my head, and I was totally hooked. From that moment, I started going off the deep and devouring everything I could find on the subject of wine. I'm convinced that experience is what started me on the path of obtaining
What's the most fun experience you've ever had working with wine?
You might think it would be the rare opportunities I get to taste some of the greatest wines in the world, but that's not the most fun for me (though I'll freely admit it's a pretty amazing perk). It's actually meeting the crazy cast of characters that make the stuff that is the most fun for me. Winemakers are generally smart, opinionated, generous, passionate and dedicated people who also know how to party. How could you not be inspired by that?
What's the most challenging aspect of working in the wine industry that you've discovered?
I love the wine business, but I'm most critical of how behind the times it is generally with respect to utilizing social media tools to reach consumers directly. It's shocking in some ways how far behind the wine world is on that; there are certainly some exceptions, but broadly speaking wine producers and marketers are about eight years behind the curve in that space.
How do you think people can be affected every day by good wine?
Wine makes us feel good, of course, and it can really elevate a meal into something special, but even at its most pedestrian, it also begs to be shared, and so connects us to one another. While doing that, in its better forms it can also can connect us to the time and place where it was made and the people who made it. Climate, culture, attitudes, and approaches, the results of all of those aspects can be tasted in fine wine. And the best part is that there has never been a time when so much high quality wine has been available to so many people for such low cost. We're living in the golden age of wine value, in a lot of ways, which is really exciting.
What's a piece of advice you'd give to someone who wants to learn more about wine?
Be fearless and experiment. Yes, wine can be intimidating because of the volume of choices, but most of us don't freak out when trying to pick from dozens of shampoo or mustard options. Take careful stock of what you like, and what you don't, and don't let anyone tell you there's a correct way to go about it. The good news is that the wine world is so diverse and so broad and so deep that you will always have something new to try and more to learn, so you might as well get over any fears and just start enjoying the ride.