Born in New York in 1970, I was raised by parents who love wine and entertain often. After graduating from Stuyvesant High School, I studied anthropology and Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, earning a bachelor's degree in 1992. It wasn't my intention to make a career in the wine business, but my first job after graduating was with a Manhattan specialty wine retailer, Burgundy Wine Company, and I was soon hooked.
After four years at the shop, I left to become cellarmaster at New York's famed '21' Club, and was eventually promoted to sommelier.
I joined Wine Spectator in 1997 as tasting coordinator and was promoted to senior editor in 2004. From 1997 though 2007, I directed Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards Program.
Currently, my tasting responsibilities include California, Bordeaux, Rhône Valley, Loire Valley, Port and South Africa. It’s a fascinating mix of regions, covering a wide spectrum of varietals and both warm and cool climates—which helps me to keep a broad perspective when evaluating wines.
My first job in the wine business left a strong impression on me; Burgundy struck a chord with me early on, though the shop’s minor in the Rhône proved prescient for me, as it is now my favorite region. I have a broad appreciation for great wine though: My personal cellar has German Riesling, Bordeaux, Sauternes, California Cabernet, West Coast Pinot Noir and more, in addition to wines from the regions I cover professionally.