I grew up in Port Huron, Michigan and went to college at Albion (B.A. 1969) and Ohio State University (M.A. 1971). I came to Spain in June 1971 with a buddy from graduate school. We each bought a one-way ticket had $300 to spend (back in the days of ‘Europe on $5 aDay’) and figured we would travel around Europe as long as the money lasted and then return to the USA to start our careers. Well, on July 4 I met a Spanish lady on the beach in San Sebastian with whom I got along, so I decided, after going to Pamplona for the San Fermín festival in July and bumming around the Costa Brava making money by singing Spanish songs to German and French tourists, to stay in Madrid for awhile and see how the relationship went. It went well because we decided to get married in June 1973!
I started working in the wine business in 1975 for Hijos de Antonio Barceló until 1983 when I was headhunted by Spain’s largest winery group SAVIN (now Bodegas & Bebidas) to be the export director of bottled wines. This meant moving to Rioja. In 1989 I was asked to take over the US subsidiary of B&B, so we packed up our belongings and my wife, two children and I moved to Westport, Connecticut.
In 1992 we had to make a choice: our kids were adolescents and we agonized over educating them in Europe or the USA. We decided on Europe, so I found a job as export director of El Coto and Barón de Ley, back in Rioja.
In 1994 I was asked to assume the directorship of the Rioja Wine Exporters’ Association, with the responsibility of running the international PR and marketing programs for the Rioja wine region, which seemed like fun after so many years of sales.
In late 2008, I was offered early retirement from the association, and decided to accept, to allow myself time to work on ideas I’d been putting off for years (writing, photography, lecturing and getting my golf handicap back to where it was in high school).
I’m currently self-employed as a strategic and tactical marketing consultant for the Spanish wine trade, as a wine educator and speaker on the national and international wine lecture circuit.
Writing a blog to relate my impressions of the Rioja region was on my mind for quite a while, but it took a little nudge from my friends Ryan and Gabriella Opaz at Catavino to get me to write my first post. Now, I can’t stop!