"I fell into wine by accident. My career as a NYC real estate broker stalled during the recession of 2008 and an attack of appendicitis while uninsured led me to take a night job at a wine shop. I always had a passion for wine and so I used this unexpected turn in my life to really embrace wine and learn all I could about it.
I quickly saw that development of a rapport with the customers and their tastes was important, so knowing the wine was critical. I adopted a philosophy that smaller, simply made, (unadulterated, non- manipulated) estate grown wine is usually the best. By sticking to smaller estate grown wines one is assured better quality, and much lower prices, as the vineyard is more likely to pay attention to the details on their way up the ladder.
I found that most of my clientele enjoyed wine, but were either intimidated by the Byzantine jargon or overwhelmed by the sheer amount of wine available. I make it simple. They liked my approach and were surprised at the money they were saving compared to their usual choices.
I’m good at this, just ask Danielle. I recommended an unbelievable bottle of Bordeaux – Chateau Haute Phillippon for $10! It was love at first sip, I’m told. She thought it was great and kept coming back. Less than two years later we were married.
Most of the customers would suggest that I hold classes or host tastings, so I took their advice.
Wine for the 99 was born! As my opportunities broadened I took another job as a full time wine buyer and manager, I moved on to my next locale, and got to really curate the store using my philosophy. It worked! Sales at the new place improved, to the point where the owners were able to sell the previously moribund business.
In 2015 I received my official sommelier certificate from the Sommelier Society of America, which gave me an entry into the restaurant world. I joined the wine team at Del Posto and then became Lead Sommelier at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester where my wine list won the 2016 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.