The vintner and Scribe Winery owner on childhood travel memories, where he goes to disappear and how seeing the world expands his own sense of place and terroir.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST TRAVEL MEMORY?
I remember being six years old and watching my Uncle Jack grill squid on the beach in Bodega Bay, California. He cleaned it, removed the ink and grilled it over a beach fire.
WHAT IS ONE PLACE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN?
Ever since I was 12 years old and saw Legends of the Fall in the movie theatre, I’ve wanted to go to Montana. And for whatever reason I’ve never made it. Maybe I’m worried that I'm not ready to fight a bear.
WHAT IS ONE PLACE YOU'LL NEVER VISIT AGAIN?
That motel by the Amtrak station in Savannah. Yikes.
NAME YOUR ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP SOUNDTRACK.
Ten years ago three friends and I bought a ’76 Westfalia in Queens and drove it slowly and indirectly for a month or so to Santa Barbara. It only had a cassette player and the previous owner had left Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger in the van. We listened to that cassette all the way down to Richmond, Virginia, west to Tennessee’ s Smoky Mountains, down to Mobile, Alabama, and then on to some gas station in west Texas where we finally got our shit together to buy a couple more cassettes. We picked up a Hank Williams' Greatest Hits tape and that UB40 tape with the “Red Red Wine” song. By the time we were back in California, we were back on Willie. Perfect road trip tape.
"THE MORE WE RECOGNIZE THE THINGS THAT MAKE OUR PLACE DISTINCT, THE MORE WE CAN CELEBRATE THEM."
TRAVEL AND MOVIES GO HAND IN HAND. IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE CINEMA TRIP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The Wizard of Oz.
WHOSE HISTORICAL FOOTSTEPS WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO RETRACE?
One of my favorite country albums is Juarez by Terry Allen, from 1975. I’d like to retrace the route of the characters in the dark Western story that the album tells: San Diego to Los Angeles to Cortez, Colorado, to El Paso, to some town know as ‘LoveTest,’ then to Juarez and Guadalajara. The story is vague but that drive seems like a classic Western, and the album is great on repeat. And I’d probably drive a Buick like the main characters, Sailor and Spanish Alice.
WHAT IS THE BEST MEAL YOU'VE HAD IN A RESTAURANT IN THE LAST YEAR?
The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington. Long drive, sketchy ferry ride, totally worth it. The food is very specific to what is grown or caught on the island: Dungeness crab in pine nut milk, perfectly cooked wild mushrooms, great wines from the Northwest. It was so comforting.
YOU'RE LOOKING TO DISAPPEAR FOR A FEW DAYS. WHERE DO YOU GO?
To my house on Moon Mountain in Sonoma. Or if it’s too hot in Sonoma, then to Sea Ranch, out on the Sonoma Coast.
TELL US ABOUT ONE MEMENTO YOU CHERISH FROM TRAVELS.
The raw leather Il Bisonte wallet my wife got me in Rome. It sits in the back pocket of my jeans everyday.
"I LOVE THE ENERGY OF A PLACE WAKING UP. THERE'S SO MUCH POTENTIAL."
DESCRIBE YOUR LUGGAGE.
I have this little blue canvas bag that I got in Kyoto, Japan. I was traveling with our wine distributor, and he told me that whenever Francis Ford Coppola is in town he goes and buys a new bag at this shop. So naturally I wanted one, too. As in most things, Francis Ford Coppola has great taste in bags.
WHAT'S THE ONE LOCAL SPOT YOU ALWAYS SHOW OUT-OF-TOWNERS?
At Scribe we have great chefs from around the world come and cook with us on the vineyard; for wine release dinners, wine club events, wine pairing dinners, etc. I usually take them to Tortilleria Jalisco, just outside of downtown Sonoma, for a second, late-night dinner. They make tortillas during the day, and at night they roll out the taco cart and make delicious tacos: Carnitas, asada, lengua, cabeza. Jalisco tacos and Modelo Especial is always the best pairing.
HOW DOES TRAVEL IMPACT THE WORK YOU DO?
It helps me recognize and appreciate what is culturally and ecologically distinct about the part of the world where I live. As a winemaker, I’m capturing a place and a time in the bottle and then sharing it. I want our wines to represent our land, and the more we recognize the things that make our place distinct, the more we can celebrate them.
WHEN YOU TRAVEL, DO YOU PREFER EARLY MORNINGS OR LATE NIGHTS?
I love the energy of a place waking up. There’s so much potential.
FANCY HOTEL IN THE CITY, LOG CABIN IN THE WOODS OR COTTAGE ON THE BEACH?
I live way out in the country so I’m a sucker for the fancy hotel in the city these days. Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, Nomad in Manhattan. But the beach is always calling.
IN A FEW WORDS, WHAT DO YOU HOPE FOR MOST AS A TRAVELER?
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