Born and raised in the upper Midwest (Michigan and Wisconsin), I was destined to be an engineer while attending MIT until after my junior year of college. Taking a semester off to pursue my interests in cooking and restaurants I discovered the pleasures of sharing a nice bottle of wine with a good meal. Realizing that chef’s work way too hard, I abandoned my dreams of culinary school and quickly changed my major to Chemistry, the closest thing to winemaking. Two years later I moved to Napa to pursue my winemaking dream. Being a hands-on person, I started as a harvest lab intern and then cellar rat before moving my way up through ranks at wineries including Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Pine Ridge. After an initial stint at Laird Family Estate as Technical Director and Winemaker when it first opened in 1999 I worked as winemaker for Tony Soter at Etude Wines. This experience shaped many of the philosophies that I hold today regarding winemaking. For me the best wines are balanced and refined, yet concentrated, while maintaining a sense of place, aka “Terroir”. I try to respect the quality of the fruit by using many traditional methods integrated with the improvements we have gained using some modern techniques and the knowledge of research. In the end, the best wines should be a reflection of the quality and character of the vineyard site.
Outside of winemaking, I like vegetable gardening, pickling, and canning as well as cooking. My favorite Laird wine is the Flat Rock Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, although I enjoy all the variety of wines we produce.