Sommelier Winemaker Importer
My relationship with wine began while waiting tables in a neighborhood restaurant near my hometown, Monroe, in central New Jersey. While initially more enthralled by the wonders of the world of spirits and tending bar, wine remained part of my work. At the age of 20, I identified hospitality as my profession, and the restaurant as my office.
It only made sense to me to become proficient in all things alcoholic, as that was the tangible part of the restaurant experience I had creative control over. Embarking on the journey to learn as much as I could about the products I worked with meant actively seeking out places of employment where the quality of what they served was of paramount importance. Working for business owners that were experts in food and wine, and not just business was key.
My early mentors were chefs, maître d's, and restauranteurs whose work was driven by their ideals: to exceed their guests' expectations of hospitality and food and wine in every way possible, to work small farmers and suppliers and celebrate their produce, and to educate, mentor and lead their employees to grow both individually and collectively. I was pretty lucky.
Today, with a healthy sommelier career in hand, I am working with wine in new ways. A sommelier isn't actually a part of the wine industry, they're a part of the hospitality industry. However, a successful sommelier studies, practices, and learns everything they can about the wine industry while never actually becoming a part of it. Micro Wines is first and foremost a self-fulfilling endeavor to create new, meaningful relationships with the wine industry, to become a part of the wine industry too.
Today, alongside my wife, Jane Lopes, I have founded Legend Imports to bring the wines of Australia to the US, and to share its people and places with the world.