There are many pleasures working in the wine industry: tasting wine, good eating, and creating wine lists to just name a few. Yet, the one aspect of the profession that has always intrigued me the most is the people I meet. On day one of my wine journey I met a young college drop out who loved punk music, a gent who ran A.A. in Austin, Texas & a woman with an MBA from the University of Texas who got fed up with her role as an analyst. This was only beginning, from that day I have had the fortune to meet some amazing people from a variety of backgrounds that have inspired me to keep pursing the vast world that is the wine industry.
Matthew has spent the past 18 months working at Del Posto, one of the restaurants that I oversee. In his time there he introduced innovative educational techniques that have gotten the staff much more engaged and excited about wine. He recently had to return to Canada and since we rarely get time to chat, we sat down and discussed his journey into wine.
One of the most curious things I have found in the wine trade, specifically in North America, is the very circuitous route people take to get into wine. Matthew is from a small town in Ontario called Kingsville which is on the shores of Lake Erie. Like many of us, his wine path did not really begin in ernest until college. After he found himself in need of an income he did what many college students do: got a job as a server. He worked a full schedule while studying Architecture & Art History and as he says each night at work, wine became more and more interesting. One of the owners saw a driven, hard working person and asked if Matthew would be keen to learn more about wine.
Because he is curious and academically gifted, Matthew enrolled into the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET - the foundation of the Masters of Wine). Once he began his studies he felt that Architecture might not be his path. As his education in wine moved forward, his desire for the fight and oneupmanship of Architecture began to wane. Matthew felt overjoyed that, "... wine was not about being competitive with others but about learning and teaching."
After passing the Advanced WSET course, Matthew finished his studies but decided that hospitality, and wine, would be his ultimate path. Matthew's career has led him to Toronto, London, Barolo, the Rhone Valley (to make wine with the esteemed Pierre Gonon) & New York City. I look forward to following his career and his continued passion for sharing wine. The most telling thing Matthew has ever said to me was this: "If you have the greatest bottle of wine in the world by yourself...what's the point?" True words from a wine lover.