I guess it all began in the mid seventies at the age of about 25. I was living in a one bedroom apartment in Laurel Canyon, having just completed my degree in Cinematography at the University of Southern California. I often frequented my neighborhood Deli, Greenblatt's, where I would purchase a bottle of red wine, usually on sale from Bill Gotti who headed up the liquor department at the time. He would often advise me of interesting wines they were offering. I still remember the very first case of wine that I ever purchased. It was a case of Spanish Rioja, Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva-probably a late '60's vintage-selling for $6.99! I can never remember being so proud-coming home with twelve bottles of wine at one single time. That's how my love of wine probably all began! My next fond remembrance came in 1982 when I was working as a special photographer on the set of 'Tootsie" for Columbia Pictures in New York City. Dustin Hoffman and I really got along so I worked for Sydney Pollack on the film over the course of five or six weeks. In those days, the movie studios had more open budgets, and dinners each night were something we looked forward to with our limitless expense accounts! I often ate at a local Italian restaurant, Castellano. which featured superb Super Tuscans, Barolo's and Barbarresco's presented by their wonderful sommelier, Walter!. Those were some of the very first wine experiences (and amazing ones at that!) that graced my palate. I remember locking down on Antinori's Tignello as a real favorite. I came back from New York HOOKED! However, without an expense account to back me up, I realized with those tastes, it could become a major problem!
Thus began my exploration of California Wines. Silver Oak was one of the first wines that came to mind as an affordable Napa Cab that I drank in the early '80's. You must remember that back then it was under $30-a far cry from today's prices! The wine did represent though, the bold, extracted fruit with substantial oak that I enjoyed from many California Wines at that time! After American Photo ran a story on me entitled, "Photographers and Their Passion", I was invited by Silver Oak to visit "The Napa Valley". Thus began my formal love of wine, the wine country and all the people associated with the whole process. Today, some twenty years later, not much has changed, at least as far as my keen interest! I just finally decided to get my feet wet!