My passion for winemaking took root in the early 2000s during my undergraduate studies when I was fortunate to spend time in the German wine regions of the Mosel, Baden, and Rheingau. I have had an interest in nature my entire life, but was awed by the steep-sloped vineyards surrounding the small towns I visited. I learned how beautiful and diverse Riesling could be. I learned how differences in terroir or techniques could impact the resulting wine. In short, I caught the “wine bug” like many others before me.
I’m similar to most wine drinkers— I drank it, I loved it, and I wanted to know more about it. My curiosity fueled my interest to learn more, and winemaking quickly became my passion. After a lot of research, in 2016, I decided to go for it... and drove to the Western Slope of Colorado to bring back 200 lbs of Cab Franc to Denver to crush, then ferment in a trash can in my bathroom. With my home winemaking career not taking off, I decided to learn from the best in California.
Fast forward to 2018, I left my corporate job in Denver and traveled to Napa to live and work harvest at FEL wines. I worked with Pinot and Chardonnay grapes at FEL’s new facility in Sonoma. Because of 2018’s long harvest, I was able to work with Jim and Ben at Seavey vineyard that year. That harvest, I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Burgundian and Bordeaux varietals at two very different facilities.
After harvest, I stayed in California to continue to surround myself with wine, while going back to work as a project management consultant. While spending time in the Bay Area and Livermore Valley, I found myself traveling all over Northern California and ended up finding home in Midtown, Sacramento.
Terratorium has been a concept Ben and I dreamed up over many tireless nights drinking beer after a long day of harvest. My goal with Terratorium is to explore my local surroundings and make killer wines that I can share with my community.
I have three great loves in this world: family, nature, and opportunity.
My wife and I have two daughters that keep us busy. Recently we logged four pulled-teeth in a 36-hour period. We came to Napa because of the grapes. We’ve stayed here because of our friends that also left their families to make a life around the wine industry. Napa has become the place we set down roots and call home.
I work in the middle of an oak forest. I often ask myself, “Do I work out here so that I can make wine, or do I make wine so that I can work out here?” I’m still not sure about the answer.
Winemaking has always given me an opportunity to be where the forest meets the farm. Grapevines have given me the opportunity to be outside and to tinker. Wine has also given me the opportunity to meet incredible people.
In 2014 I created a podcast about winemaking. Three years later, I met Ben and Cam when they came out to Napa because they were serious about their mutual desire to learn how to make wine professionally and the podcast had given me the opportunity to teach a class. That following year Ben put his life on hold, worked the 2018 harvest with me at Seavey Vineyard, and Cameron moved to California for good and worked the harvest in Sonoma. They worked long, physical hours in the wineries yet still partied almost every night for 70 days straight (Ben’s leave of absence cut-off).
Ben and Cam can tell the full back-story of Terratorium. I can tell you that it didn’t come long after that "test-the-waters" harvest in 2018 that they knew winemaking was in their future.
I’m thrilled about the opportunity to be a part of Terratorium. My role is fairly simple. I work with Ben and Cam to make sure we can find great vineyards, to stay on top of all the details during the winemaking, and to tell the story of why we are making wines that have a connection through family, nature, and opportunity.