Nicholas Baldwin, WSET ADV
In the early 2000s, I worked in a wine retail shop. I had no intention of working in the wine and spirits industry as a career. At the time, I was going to school for music production. Thanks to Napster and the unwillingness and stubborn nature of the large record labels to realize the full potential of digital music, the music industry became an unwise career choice.
Luckily at the same time my music producing dreams were wilting, I tried a wine that changed my life. It was 1995 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. (Yes, the winery from that movie.) It was the first time I ever tried a wine that lit up my eyes. That evening, I spoke to my father about it, who was an avid lover of all things food and wine, and had a very in depth conversation for the first time in the long time. We bonded over it. From that moment, that game-changing experience stuck and I learned just how big the industry was and just how amazing the transformation of a grape from soil to glass truly was.
Since then I have been fortunate enough to study alongside Master of Wines, pick frozen grapes for ice wine in Austria, walk among the vines of Montalcino at midnight dodging low-flying bats and wild boars. I have been at arm's length of the true wine Gods in the heart of Greece's wine country, studied organic farming with an amazing family who's winery is inside the caldera of a dormant volcano in Sonoma, and tasted with the prestigious wine makers and owners from all over the Napa Valley. Along the journey thus far, I have met amazing people like George Taber, sold wines to Senators, Congressmen, and movie stars. Selected wines for musicians like Rush, Jimmy Buffett, and Santana. Tried truly amazing wines from Alaska to India, and hone my palate whenever I have the chance.