Armed with an MBA and living in the NYC, the financial capital of the world I DID WHAT?!?!? Dropped everything to pursue a career in wine?!? Israeli wine nonetheless???!@#$% - I must really be CRAZY!
Crazy I am. In 2006, following various entrepreneurial ventures, I decided it was time to make the plunge. Risk it all. As a single guy I figured what better time to pursue a passion – WINE! I was preparing to go to Israel for my brother’s wedding so I decided that the country where wine (may have) all started (some 3000 years ago) would be the place for me to begin to truly learn about wine. I dropped everything, sublet my Manhattan apartment and went to Israel to learn as much as I could about wine, as well as to get a better understanding of why Israeli wine had as of yet been unsuccessful in penetrating the mainstream international wine market.
I volunteered my services to several of Israel’s wineries and ended up at a small and well regarded operation where I apprenticed in both the vineyard and the winery. Given the size of the country and its wine industry I was subsequently introduced to many of Israel’s top boutique wine producers. Following a harvest season (plus) in Israel, I returned to the US to work at Napa Valley’s largest custom wine crush facility, Napa Wine Company. While there, I met with several top Napa winemakers while rounding out my broad understanding of the production of wines. I also received a Wine Sensory Analysis certification from Napa’s CIA (Culinary Institute of America).
Since returning to New York, I have worked as a freelance consultant (with a focus on Israeli wine) for a small wine importer and received a certification with distinction from the world renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust. I do freelance wine writing. I run wine tastings and educational classes (my favorites being the ones with a focus on Israeli wines as the people are typically blown away by the quality of the wines tasted). And finally, I’m an active member in a bi-monthly wine club – an activity which has proven to be fun, educational & has led to great friendships!
At present I am hard at work on my TOP SECRET Israel Wine Project…and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. COMING SOON….
In the meantime I look forward to getting to know YOU!
Gary – The Wine Tasting Guy
(A.K.A. – WTG)
That was 18 months ago. My, how things change.
It is now the Spring of 2009. Where to begin…
Israel and Israeli wines are still a passion, but my palate has evolved in a big way. The fruit forward wines I once loved I now find to be a bit over the top, preferring instead more subtle, food friendly wines. I have developed a real appreciation for crisp whites, wines that I find are incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing with foods. And I better understand people’s infatuation with old world wines from places like France and Italy.
Over the past 18 months, in addition to maintaining this blog, I have spent another harvest season in Israel and I have attended what must be well over a hundred wine tastings (mostly in NYC). I’ve worked as a full time salesperson for an Israeli wine importer and have made more friends within the industry than I could ever have imagined.
Moving forward I will continue to work closely with Israeli wine, but I also hope to share with you my experiences with wines other than those from Israel. Look for wines from both the old world and new world regions. Hopefully we’ll find some real unique wines along the way.
Although I aspire to become a “Hyper- (Super) Taster” I am most likely a “Regular- (or “non”/”Average”-) taster, like 75% of the population. While this being “normal” is not fun when I am around friends/contemporaries who seem to be picking up on nuances in wines that I am missing, I do believe that it really enables YOU the reader to relate to my take on wines. Though one thing about me that is NOT NORMAL, is my wine curiosity and my unrelenting passion for learning as much about wine as possible. Come join me on my journey…
My how time flies when I AM HAVING FUN!
My devotion to Israeli wines remains strong as does my love for both wine and helping people become more comfortable with wine. Too often I hear “I know nothing about wine”. I simply tell people that just as they know what foods they like so too all they need to do is taste a wine and they instantly know whether or not they like that wine. Sure being “wine curious” leads many people to learn more about wine, but the most important thing we can all learn about wine is whether or not WE (not a wine critic, wine shop clerk or sommelier) like said wine.
Since last updating this BIO page I’ve been doing LOTS of wine tastings, writing about wine for various periodicals (including the Wine Enthusiast!) and to pay the bills I have been handling marketing for Royal Wine Corp. I am extremely pleased to meet more wine curious people all the time and see how more people are interested in learning about wine, often times specifically Israeli wines.
Nearly 5 years since introducing this blog I believe that I will be writing my final posts in the next few months. But my mission to bring wine (and Israeli wine) to the masses is still on course. More info to follow.
In the meantime, taste wine whenever possible, trust your palate and HAPPY WINE TASTING!