My first taste of the grape came as the result of my grandfather unknowingly “inventing” the wine spritzer in the late 50’s when he mixed homemade, backyard Concord grape wine with Seven-up as a drink for my sister and I… little did I know.
I have been seriously experiencing wine and food for over 35 years.
My wine interest developed in the mid-70’s and led to classes at The Chicago Wine School with the wonderful Patrick Fegan. I attend all types of public and industry tasting events where I meet, talk with and interview wine industry people from all over the world.
About ten years ago, a wine buddy of mine and I began teaching a wine and food matching class called What Goes with What (WGWW). Each class was dedicated to a basic food type (meat, fish etc.) that I cooked. We then sampled the food against five wines, some to match and some to not, in hopes of demonstrating WGWW. We were featured in the Chicago Tribune “Good Eating” section and other local papers.
I have taken WGWW in several different directions; from catering food for wine matching events at Chicago area wine stores, appearing on Chicago television (CBS2) and radio stations (WLS-AM) doing demonstrations and commercials to teaching wine/food tasting classes at a community college. I also organize and host corporate wine events.
I served for six interesting years as a founding member and marketing adviser of the Illinois Grape and Wine Resources Council along side Illinois wine industry members. We are in Michigan wine country several times each summer. I judge wine and food tasting events and have written a monthly wine and spirits column for a statewide travel magazine.
It has been my good fortune to I have traveled to wine regions in France twice and to Spain, Portugal, and Washington State. I keep tabs on California by touring Napa and Sonoma at least once every year or two. Last year, I arranged a week long series of private tours and tasting dates in the Napa and Sonoma valleys highlighted by interviews with wine makers and chefs. this fall we are on our way to Oregon for the the first time. I’ll have thoughts and interviews later in October. Check my podcasts for interviews and thoughts from chefs and wine industry professionals.