Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in the mountains of Northern California, about a half an hour outside of Napa county. It’s a beautiful place with large stands of Ponderosa Pine with vineyards hidden between the stand of trees.
What was the first wine experience you remember?
Growing up in wine country, my family always had a lot of wine around the house and when I was young I grew up going to school with kids whose families were in the wine trade. A memory that really stands out to me is going on bike rides with my family during grape harvest time, my parents would go wine taste and some wineries would offer the children unfermented grape juice to try from the fruit they were harvesting that day, I felt like that was the most fascinating thing, getting to stand by my parents with my own glass of Chardonnay…juice.
Who introduced you to wine?
I had a friend who worked part time in the warehouse of a winery, I would commute to high school with him and ended up working part time on the bottling line while I was a freshman. I remember being so fascinated by the smells as the wine was being pumped from the cellar to the bottling line and watching the wine go from tank to bottle, although I couldn’t taste I was taken aback by how every wine that went to the bottle smelled so different as it’s scent filled the bottling room.
How did you come to the wine industry?
I came to the wine industry in a fortuitous way, I had been working as a full time musician touring most of the year playing Metal music. As many may know the music industry can be very tough financially and I needed funds. The same winery that I had worked for in high school was looking for a Lab Technician, with my star studded resume of home brewing beer and kombucha I applied and got the job. I instantly fell in love with everything wine, it struck that nerve that creating music did, getting to make something creative that people could enjoy. I am still indebted to that winery taking me on because it set the course for my career and my passion in life.
What is your favorite thing about Modales Wines?
Modales was the first place that I have been where I have had free rein to create wines that I want to make, with a trusting team that believes in the approach. Having the chance to experiment with the approach has been one the most satisfying parts of the job.
What is your “wine type?”
I love wines that seem alive, wines that have perfume finesse and good acidity. I have moved away from the tannic beasts that I enjoyed in my youth, the IPA’s of the wine world. I have really tried to absorb the mantra of ‘Drink what you like and like what you drink’ rather than trying to be pigeonholed by only drinking certain wines that ‘Experts’ say you should drink. If you find me at home you most likely find a bottle…I mean glass of Riesling or Pinot Noir in my clutches.
How do you enjoy wine? With certain foods? In certain settings?
I like bottles of wine or cans!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would drink them in a boat!
And I would drink them with a goat…
And I will drink them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car, ok maybe not a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!