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A "Life of Wine" (Looking Back 40 Years)

2017 marks my seventh year living in Lodi wine country. Although I am originally from the Hawaiian Islands, Lodi has become my adopted home; and in many ways, this residency represents a culmination of a career as a full-time wine professional spanning 40 years.
Even I wonder where the time goes. When I first landed a position as a working sommelier back in 1978 – transitioning from waiting tables while working through college – I truly did so with a simple thought: “What a cool job – tasting wines and writing wine lists, opening bottles and talking wine all night with thirsty customers... and getting paid for it!”
Shirley, I jest – partly. Yes, working as a restaurant sommelier was very cool; especially for a 21-year-old. But I also took the job seriously because I had just gotten married to a fellow University of Hawaii student (who loved cooking for me, just as long as I brought the bottles!). In 1978 we were expecting the first of (eventually) four fantastic children. I needed a rea…

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"I fought against the bottle," as Leonard Cohen wrote, "but I had to do it drunk"... specializing in wine as a restaurateur, retailer, wine judge, journalist, frequent flyer and mental traveler. But to me, wine is a food like a rose is a rose. So why all the fuss? Currently: Editor-at-Large/Bottom Line Columnist, The SOMM Journal; Contributing Editor, The Tasting Panel. Awards: Sante's Wine & Food Professional of the Year (1998); Restaurant Wine's Wine Marketer of the Year (1992 & 1999); Academy of Wine Communications (commendation) for Excellence in Wine Writing and Encouragement of Higher Industry Standards; Electoral College Member, Vintners Hall of Fame at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.