Robert began his wine journey at the age most everyone does — 21. He was living in South Africa at the time. No one really cared it was his 21st birthday, because the drinking age in Stellenbosch is a gray area. But Robert, being the type of guy that puts on a smile when it rains on his parade and insists he likes being wet, didn’t let that stop him from celebrating. He cracked open a bottle of Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, and Africa’s signature red. He fell in love at first sip, starting his now decade-long quest to drink, enjoy, and learn. Robert drinks Pinotage pretty infrequently these days. But, like his first steps, the first grade, his first girlfriend, and the first vintage of Abeille, he’ll always remember and appreciate where he started.
Caitlin began her romance with wine early in her life. She doesn’t remember her age, the occasion, the varietal, or much of anything else. You might attribute that to all of the wine-drinking she was doing, but it was so long ago, who can say for sure? She attributes her love of wine to her parents, who began drinking it seriously when they lived in California in the mid- to late- seventies, right around the time of the Judgment of Paris. They could get in for relatively cheap, it was world-class, and life was good. Unlike Robert, Caitlin has not, no matter how hard she tries, been able to move on from her first love — a big, jammy Cabernet Sauvignon. She is a regular contributor to examiner.com, where she covers home winemaking trends in Baltimore and Maryland.
Together, we have spent the last ten years drinking, talking, and experimenting. No one was that surprised when we got together, as neither one of us really fit in at parties and other social gatherings until we found that special person we could stand in a corner and discuss soil with. Trust us, soil is really important. Side note: obviously a romance for the ages? We drank and talked, went to Napa on our honeymoon, and drank and talked, until we decided it was time to really make a go at our functional alcoholism by vertically integrating our supply chain. We were also both business majors.
In 2010, we took the plunge and lugged 150 lbs. of grapes from Westminster, Maryland back to our rowhouse in Baltimore. Over the years, our annual haul has escalated to 400 lbs. Now, when no one can hear us, in the middle of the night, we whisper quietly to one another about the ultimate dream: owning our own vineyard. That’s crazy…right?
Michael started out drinking $10 wine (mostly red) from a predecessor of Costco called Fedco in Southern California. He then graduated to $20 wine at Trader Joes and never looked back. These days, the wine is a lot more than $20, but the wine is no more enjoyable. Michael has visited Napa Valley many times and spent some time in Tuscany and in the wine regions of Australia. He has talked production with producers in Argentina and Spain. It’s all good because the people who make it make it with love and respect for the land.