After graduating from University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Engineering, I became interested in wine. I started with French bottles (with the occasional California jug tossed in) and can still remember my first exceptional Pinot noir. It was a 1980 Echezeaux and it was astonishing. From that point on I was hooked on Pinot!
Around 1990, I started looking for a career change that would be interesting and challenging. Despite the fact that I lived on the East Coast, the first thing that came to mind was the wine business. Around that time, some friends invited my wife and me to attend the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville, Oregon. During our 1991 visit, we fell in love with Oregon and began to think it would be a good place to raise our young family. Soon after, I was introduced to Mike Etzel who helped me to find land that would produce great Pinot noir grapes. Mike found the site that is now Cristom.
In the summer of 1992, my wife Eileen and our children, Christine and Tom and I moved from Pennsylvania to Oregon. There has been no looking back. Through serendipity and good fortune, we were able to hire Steve Doerner as our winemaker, and Mark Feltz as our vineyard manager. Our first vintage was in 1992 and we were up and running. Twenty years later, we are still trying to make the best Pinot Noir on the planet!