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Founder / Wine and Spirits Business Consultant
…the wine and spirits side…
I am the Wine Director for Cipollina West Austin Bistro, Sobani, Swoop House, and Sawyer & Co. in Austin. I am consultant to the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington DC, on the Restaurant Exploratory Board, have been on the Fearless Critic Restaurant Guide Austin Council 3rd and 4th editions, and most recently helped open Jeffrey's, Josephine House, and the beautifully handpicked Austin wine shop, East End Wines.
I write and lecture about wine and spirits. I consult with private wine collectors, retailers, restaurateurs, wholesalers, caterers, and corporate clients, in the worlds of taste, investment, marketing, merchandising, sales, service, education, and sensory perception. I am a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) * from the Society of Wine Educators, a Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) **, host and coordinate many annual tastings, events, and festivals, and love all things epicurean.
I have been Beverage Director/Buyer/Consultant for 13 restaurants (including one and two glass Wine Spectator Awards lists), Buyer/Consultant for 6 retailers, designed and built 8 night clubs, participated on tasting panels for Sommelier Journal, been a judge for the Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition (2010-2012), have participated on panels for Master of Wine dissertations, have been a tasting coach for a Master Sommelier Candidate, have graduated from many regional wine immersion programs, and was on the Grapes for Humanity Global Committee 2012. I taste thousands of wines every year, love food and wine pairings, and discovering values at every price point and style. Although there is an admiration and appreciation for almost all wines, the heart lies in France and Italy.
In 1993, I began searching out, tasting, and investigating wines considered to be ‘The Greats’ (from La Tache to Moulin Touchais) by well-known, respected, and most-importantly, experienced wine writers of the Twentieth Century. A conscious obsession took over while attending the University of Connecticut. Since then, an ‘always-growing’ attempt at understanding how wine relates to life and the different views of the same wine experience have sent me seeking pure passion for the ‘experience’ of wine (a worldwide, common-land, experience between wine, food, coffee, music, tobacco, and general folklore). The education never ends.
…the other side…
From 2004-2006, I was Chief Operations Officer, Co-Founder, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Krosscore Corporation, a custom software development company (an 8-man startup/$20 million funding hopeful). In this position, I focused on the organizational development, operational efficiency, productivity, and strategic direction of the company’s business.
Prior to Krosscore Corporation, I was a 15-year Strategic Business Consultant for private clients (1989-2004) in the entertainment, wine, music, hospitality, and lobbyist industries. I was Chief Operations Officer of the design company Elysium Factorie (2000-2002) and Chief Operations Officer/President of NR (1998-1999), a multi-million dollar technology cafe concept, both of which I was a Co-Founder. I've spent time living in the United States and abroad, traveling, consulting in business, and regularly attending international business conferences and fairs.
Since the early days of operating a restaurant out of my backyard as an 8-year old (complete with 5 tables, Atari 2600 on a 1960's Zenith B/W TV, and friends as waiters at a quarter an hour!), I have always found that the perfect process begins with focused operations and a strong appreciation for the strength that day-to-day life brings. I discovered my ‘operations’ calling as a leader at the Marine Military Academy. I believe non-profits and charity organizations are very important and I regularly donate time, bottles, and money to several causes I believe in. With travel to 41 countries, I have many experiences with many types of people and know that clarity, responsibility, and integrity are the key to communication and success. It is incredibly important to me that I believe in and love the folks I work with.
A ‘72 vintage husband and father of three boys, I live the brilliance of life in my birthplace, Austin, Texas, where family, friends, reading, cooking, wine, coffee, biking, travel, various collections (wine/music/movies/pipes/cigars/books), and Life’s Best-of-Breed reign supreme.
The Society of Wine Educators was founded in 1974 and is a non-profit educational organization (501c3) whose mission is to advance wine education through professional development and certification.
*The Certified Wine Educator (CWE) is the highest level of certification that not only acknowledges exceptional knowledge, sensory evaluation and analysis of wine, but also recognizes the demonstration of written, presentation and teaching skills to various audiences. Successful candidates possess a depth of insight and analytical perspective that derives from years of hands-on experience within the discipline. Currently, there are approximately 275 Certified Wine Educators in the world.
** The Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) is the certification that acknowledges spirits knowledge and mastery of key elements within the world of distillation and spirits production. It is widely recognized and regarded by the international wine and spirits industry.