Tasting Room Manager
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Flint, Michigan. My family is from the east side of the state, and in my early childhood I was raised in Montrose, MI. My immediate family moved up north to Cadillac to operate a family-owned mechanic business. This is where I graduated from highschool and created some of my fondest memories. Experiencing the Northern Exposure life was truly rewarding.
What was the first wine experience you remember?
It was the heat wave in July of 2012. My college roommates in downtown Grand Rapids were getting tired of drinking cold beer in the evenings. A few of us went to Martha’s Vineyard and bought a case of Pacific Rim Semi-Dry Riesling. We enjoyed the supple flavors and non-effervessent qualities. They were some of the most refreshing moments I had drinking wine and playing Mario Party on the N64.
Who introduced you to wine?
My first formal introduction to the world of wine was by Kyle Malater. He was the Sommelier at Butch’s Dry Dock in Holland, MI. I was, like most beverage professionals my age, intrigued by the beer movement that was happening in Grand Rapids. My small interest in wine was soon transformed by tasting Sauvignon Blanc from two different regions of the world side by side. The magical world of wine was then exposed and I have never looked back.
How did you come to the wine industry?
Working in the restaurant industry at Butch’s Dry Dock. The restaurant had over 800 different bottles of wine and was Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence Winner 13 years in a row. My passion for wine soon brought me to join the Guild of Sommeliers and take over the wine program for Butch’s. I was able to taste wines with amazing producers from across the world. Butch’s Dry Dock continued to receive the Award of Excellence for the next 4 years under my stewardship. I learned quite a bit from tasting and being a part of in-depth conversations of the wine industry every day.
What is your favorite thing about Modales Wines?
I love being around and part of every aspect of the wine world. From the viticulture, to vinification, to sales, it is truly a dream come true. What I really enjoy about Modales is that I am constantly learning and being challenged every day. Being a part of something so influential to Michigan wine culture is truly something to cherish. And of course the wine is stellar.
What is your “wine type?”
More than anything I choose dry white wines. There is a special place in my heart for acidity. My soft spot and overall favorite however, is white burgundy. What an absolutely beautiful and lovely wine from an amazing part of the world. If Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet were to pour out of my faucets at my house I would never leave.
How do you enjoy wine? With certain foods? In certain settings?
Wine is by far the most cherished beverage of mankind. Making it allows the relationship between vine and viniculture to create something beautiful. I appreciate wine more than I enjoy it. Enjoyment with wine comes from the fulfilment of sharing it with others. Showcasing the wonderful nuances of wine across the world and in your own backyard in Michigan. Wine has seemed to travel with me to almost every occasion to cherish it with friends and family. Being in the restaurant industry it is hard for me to not think what kind of wine would pair with any dish I create. I hardly ever order wine at a restaurant without knowing what I am eating first which drives my wife a little crazy. Every wine has its purpose to enjoy on certain occasions.