My first real “wine moment” was spent at Chautauqua’s Johnson Estate Winery. A wonderful winery near a nice hiking spot called Panama Rocks. I had met their Winery Representative, Bob Dahl, while working in the stock department of Premier Liquor (then on Delaware) and it just seemed natural to go visit him on my hiking excursion.

Bob and Winemaker, Mark Lancaster, spent the entire afternoon teaching me about their winery and the grapes they used to make some of the area’s finest wines. We had such a great time learning, seeing the vineyards and tasting. I started visiting as many wineries as we could- even spent my honeymoon at Chateau LaFayette Reneau on Seneca Lake!

As time rolled on, my passion for wine turned into a career, I left the stock department and became the Assistant Wine Manager at Premier and went on to become the Wine Manager at Prestige Wines and Spirits (Still a Member of the Premier Group) in Orchard Park. Every day I seem to learn something new about wineries and I still have a passion for hopping in my car and driving to a local winery to learn about and taste some great wine!

I have also made it my mission to “spread the word” about all the great wineries within a day trip of Buffalo. You can travel in any direction and be at a great winery in a couple hours or less. Be it Chautauqua, Finger Lakes, Niagara County or Ontario, Canada there is a wine for every taste!

Every so often I teach a “WineMind” class called “Touring and Tasting at Local Wineries”, if you are considering enjoying some wine trips this summer, I encourage you to stop out. Our next session is on June 16th – hope to see you there.