If you weren’t in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
I likely would have gone into politics. Not running for office but working in DC. It is our other family business. My mom’s dad was very involved in Chicago politics as are many people in my family and we always grew up at family parties listening to my mom and her cousins discussing politics. Election night was always a big night in our house.
What interests/ hobbies do you have outside of the wine world?
Cooking and kids. I love to cook and experiment with different flavors. My wife and I have four boys so if we are not at the baseball, basketball or soccer field, we are out at the coast hiking and exploring.
What’s your current favorite wine/ variety/ winery to drink?
Pinot and Grenache from everywhere. For whites, I am drinking a lot of sauvignon blancs from all over California.
What is your favorite aspect of the wine business?
Family, friends, food and mixing all of those over delicious wine. Also, I love the excitement of harvest.
How long have you been in the industry?
I started bottling wine when I was 5. On the weekends, my 9 siblings and I used to bottle private label wines for accounts in Chicago.
What different parts of the wine industry have you worked in?
I have been fortunate to work in almost all aspects of the wine industry. I grew up bottling wine then I worked in the warehouse and on the delivery trucks at my family’s wholesale business. In college my brother and I worked at a wine shop in Cincinnati. After college we moved to Oregon and made wine there. After Oregon we moved to Sonoma and made wine at Murphy Goode Winery. After Sonoma, I moved back to Chicago and became a sales rep calling on retail and restaurants on the north side of Chicago.
What is your current role?
That changes by the hour. My brother and I do everything we can at the winery from driving tractors and forklifts to barrel work and blending. We are in the tasting room and do sales trips all over the country. We do all of our own bottling and if a drain is clogged or floors are dirty, we take care of that as well.
What is your first wine memory?
Bottling wine with my siblings on the weekends.
Favorite part about Paso?
My favorite part of being in the Paso wine industry is the camaraderie and willingness that everyone has to help each other, and I think that really speaks for the whole community. It really is a great community. I also love that we live outdoors. The weather and proximity to the coast is wonderful.
How many acres of vines do you have?
How many cases are you producing each year?
Why do you think Paso Robles has become such a big wine destination?
The quality of wines and people. We have a great downtown and it is not a bunch of wineries owned by millionaires. Its passionate people doing what they are passionate about and that reflects in the wine and the community.
Where do you see the industry in the Paso Robles region going? Do you see any interesting new trends or directions?
Even more diversity in varietals and finding the best clones in the right places. I think that diversity is another thing that makes Paso so great.
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