I was born and raised in Harvard, Illinois, a land of Manhattans, Pabst beer and Friday-night fish fries: wine was unknown. However, during a college semester spent studying in Europe I discovered fine wine and food. After graduating from college, I worked as a photojournalist and food and wine writer for four years before my passion for food and wine overwhelmed my sense of reality. In 1980, I joined Direct Import Wine Company which grew to be recognized as offering the most elite portfolio of estate wines in the Chicago market. In 1996 the company was devoured by Paterno Imports (who later fed it to Southern Wine and Spirits), but I remained at Direct as president until 1999, when I left in a fit of sanity, prompted by an outburst of ethics.
In 2000 I left to pursue an education in wine production and spent the next three years happily working in Italy, where I studied winemaking and worked in the cellars of some of Italy’s most elite wine estates in Barolo and Barbaresco. Upon returning to the United States in 2004, I took over as President of Anne Amie Vineyards, previously known as Chateau Benoit. Over the next several years I totally revolutionized the winemaking and marketing. In 2009 I moved to the Napa Valley and over the next seven years did the same thing for Cornerstone Cellars.
Today I am general manager of Troon Vineyard in the beautiful Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. Surrounded by the Siskiyou Mountains we are making natural wines using natural yeast fermentations, creative co-ferments and are now biodynamic in our vineyards.
I have been honored to be recognized as an industry leader in the use of online marketing and Social Media marketing. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Howell Mountain Growers Association, Board of Directors of the Rhone Rangers and on the Napa Valley Vintners Association Marketing Committee, of which I was chairman.
My single minded goal in life is to make great wine.
Specialties: wine: making it, selling it