Andy’s Wine Journey

1 comment Mar 28, 2024by Andrew Lowry

My wine adventure began 11 months ago in Temecula Valley, at Wilson Creek Winery.

My church, Second Sunday, chose Wilson Creek as the final destination of our Big Bear Mountain men’s retreat. At first I thought it peculiar, "What were we going to do at a winery?" I could only think of the obvious…the Bible mentions wine a lot…so Jay (our pastor) must be using this as a place where we can talk about its significance.

Turns out one of the owners of Wilson Creek, Mick Wilson, was Jay's youth group leader and pastor back in the day, and Jay planned for us to meet with Mick so he could drop some wisdom on us and show us around his home (closer to an estate, chateau, domaine, or adult playground.) 

So Mick gave all the men of Second Sunday an amazing, eye opening message all centered on a 50 year old syrah grape vine, named Vinny. You can watch the message here:

He then showed us the winery, and even let us try some wine that had yet to be bottled — still undergoing some aging in his massive stainless steel tanks. He taught us a bit about the proper way to taste a new wine, and the intricacies and excitements in making wine; from the harvest to the bottle, he had me mesmerized. The way he described the craft was fascinating, and he had me hooked. I wanted to be like Mick. 

After his message, he opened the floor to questions. I asked a couple questions regarding the business of wine, but someone else's question brought an answer out of Mick that surely changed my life: "Are there any good movies or documentaries about wine?"

He answered with: SOMM, SOMM 2, SOMM 3, and SOMM 4 (dropping Spring 22).

I went home and binged all 3 documentaries with my then fiancée, Madi, in about 24 hours. I had never heard of a master sommelier before; I definitely didn't know that wine was so complex. I was so impressed with their capability to be able to literally just smell a wine and be able to correctly identify the region, varietal, producer, and even the vineyard. To be sure, it is the most niche of skills, and it begs the question, "Who the heck finds themselves trying to earn the title of Master Somm?" just happens...

...And so Madi and I started researching and buying wines -- a lot of wine. We bought 15-20 bottles of wine at a time and hosted tasting parties at our house with our best friends. (Note: these are so fun, and I highly recommend you have one with your friends.) We later went on a wine tour in Temecula (San Diego's wine country), and even chose Napa as our honeymoon location (couldn't recommend this more). We couldn't get enough. 

As I said above, life just happens and one thing leads to another. Friends and family started to realize I was really getting into wine. Madi's best friend, Cammy Squib, gifted me a massive wine textbook that she used at the Culinary Institute of America (that I am still getting through)...that really took my wine nerd level up a good amount. 

Then Madi and I moved to Sasebo, Japan for about eight months. Right when we got there, Japan went into a covid state of emergency and locked down pretty severely for a month. We couldn't do anything vice essential activities, so I found myself with some time to spare, and enrolled at the Wine School of Philadelphia where I earned my Sommelier Pin. 

I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, deriving much of my inspiration from my Dad who turned a lawn mowing business into a landscape company worthy of being featured on Destination America for building one of the most bad ass pools ever.

Harvest is just the beginning of many ventures we have planned -- all of which include wine. My wish is that you'll discover new, amazing wines, and learn a little bit along the way. Wine is so much fun to drink, and so much more fun to geek out about. At the end of the day, the best part about wine isn't the wine at all. It is the people you share the wine with, the communion, the conversations, the reason for celebration. So come on, buy a bottle, and drink with us.