Mike was looking for something different to owning a real estate business. One of his clients suggested the wine business and enabled his first wine job at the esteemed Jordan winery. Initially just a cellar worker, Mike quickly progressed in learning from the vineyard work, bottling line supervisor, QC and lab management and ended up cellarmaster while concurrently obtaining his degree in chemistry from Sonoma State University.
Mike points out the good fortune to have had the opportunity to work with such gifted individuals as Rob Davis, the winemaker at Jordan for over 40 years, and Andre Tshelistchev who consulted and mentored so many outstanding California winemakers. Later Mike would have the opportunity to work with Merry Edwards, again, one of the most renowned winemakers in California.
The absolute beauty of all this is at the time, so many “new" things were being discovered in wine chemistry, biochemistry and genetics. Then, at the same time to be mentored by such gifted people in the traditional sense, it gives you a perspective of the beauty of the craft together with the science that is pretty unique.
In the vineyard from the beginning, Mike learned to appreciate the work and technique to produce the highest quality fruit, and how the decisions and activities in the vineyard translate to their effects on the winemaking. Andre always talked of the vines as his “children" and how to raise them properly to be healthy, what to do when they appear sick, what and why you do when you plant them, prune them, feed them, and so forth.
In the winery, the approach is similar. How you process the grapes, what you do and when to make a wine that has beauty and balance. It is during harvest and later during blending you really see the efforts of your work and your decision making. You had the vision of the wine while the grapes were still on the vine, now you see if the wine is true to the vision.