Who is Woody?

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.

Nearly 20 years ago, a wine buddy of mine (now a manager for a major chain) 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 than 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.

The concept WGWW allows me to work in many different directions, 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 and teaching wine/food tasting classes at a community college. I also organize and host corporate wine events.

I served for six-years as a founding member and marketing adviser for the Illinois Grape and Wine Resources Council along side members of Illinois wine industry. We travel to Michigan wine country several times each summer and I serve as a judge for wine and food contested. I have also written a monthly wine and spirits column for a statewide travel magazine.

I’m fortunate to have traveled to the wine regions in France twice as well as to Spain, Portugal, and Washington State. We are headed to Oregon Pinot country this fall so look for my photos and interviews later this October. I keep tabs on California by touring Napa and Sonoma at least once every year or two.

(check my  podcasts to hear comments from chefs and wine industry professionals)