My Curriculum Vitae
Welcome to all of my friends, customers and regular readers who have followed the link from the Carpe Vino web site or from our enewsletter, Window on Old Town, to my newest venture, Vintage Highway. If you have never visited Carpe Vino or we are not acquainted, here’s a bit about my background as a writer and as a participant in the wine/hospitality industry. Go to the task bar on the home page to find out more about Carpe Vino.
A Conventional Resume
I am a native of Chicago and a graduate of Columbia College of Chicago (1975). My career in journalism started in the Navy where I worked on a base newspaper in Pensacola, Florida. I earned a degree in communications at Columbia, where I was editor of the student newspaper for two years. My first job was as a staff writer with the Park Ridge Herald (a suburb of Chicago), followed by a career in public relations, advertising and publishing.
Most of my career was in the telecom industry, where I worked for a service provider, then an equipment manufacturer and finally in B2B publishing for two technology journals. I was publisher of two, including a title I helped launch in Hong Kong called Telecom Asia. I moved to California in 2000 and enjoyed two brilliant years selling advertising during the telecom boom and lost my job during the technology meltdown.
Carpe Vino, launched in 2002, was intended to be a modest wine shop with an adjacent espresso bar (which we closed within six months). The business was a family enterprise, but we lost one partner in 2007. Now, my son Drew and I co-own the business, which has morphed from a retail wine business into a wine shop, wine bar and restaurant (which earned four stars from the Sacramento Bee in November 2008).
I have been fortunate to be able to work regularly as freelance writer, starting with the Chicago Tribune in 1983 and ending in 1990. During that time, I also wrote for two national shelter titles.
After starting Carpe Vino, I pitched our local daily newspaper, the Auburn Journal, about writing a wine column called Sierra Foothills AVA and ended up getting a weekly gig for more than two years. In 2007, the publisher of the weekly Placer Sentinel invited me to create my own column, and I wrote The Other Side of Auburn for two and one-half years until the newspaper folded in January of 2010 (a sad day). I also wrote occasional columns about wines produced in Placer County.
With Vintage Highway, I plan to return to a topic I genuinely appreciate. I’ll be writing about the wine, wineries, winemakers and wine events I encounter on my trips into wine country in my Airstream. You’re invited to come along for the ride.
An Informal Bio
I’ve always viewed myself as a writer and I’ve made a decent living exercising my skills, though I recognize my limitations. I’m a journeyman when it comes to easily cranking out 1,500 words, but attempting to tackle longer formats has always proven to be elusive. . .as much as I’d love to write a book, I fear it will ever happen.
My forte has always been to initiate projects, assembling all of the pieces and then working hard to launch new businesses, magazines, columns, web sites. . .I get a genuine buzz from the swirl of activity and the creative processes involved. I only wish I was equally enthusiastic on the follow-through, running the machinery and keeping the plates spinning.
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to travel the world on the corporation’s dime, traveling to 47 states and all around the globe on “business.” I’ve flown well over a million miles, and I’ve slept in so many hotel rooms in so many strange beds I never have a problem falling asleep anywhere. Over the past five years, however, I’ve stayed closer to home. . .which has been a source of comfort to me. . .but hitting the Vintage Highway is an irresistible urge.
Success in marriage has eluded me. I’ve been married and divorced twice, though I now enjoy a solid, sustainable relationship with a remarkable woman, Ellen, who tolerates the weaknesses in my personality. It is because of her that I have really worked harder to be a more compassionate, understanding person. I am very much a work in progress on that score.
Drew, my son and business partner, is my greatest source of joy and pride, though we often butt heads on matters of trivial importance. It is his passion for our business and a killer work ethic that have freed me to indulge my interests. I’m about to embark on my sixth decade, so I realize if I am going to accomplish what I have in mind, I can’t waste any more time.
Though I am a city boy through and through, spending much of my life in Chicago, I have segued into an existence off the grid on a 23-acre parcel of tall pines in the Sierra foothills above 2,700 feet. Though I am certainly not a hermit, I relish the solitude mountain living affords. But damn if the twisty roads aren’t murder on my truck tires.
In the decade I’ve lived in Auburn, I’ve struggled with adjustment issues. The major hurdle is I am imbued with liberal sensitivities in an oppressively conservative part of the world, a fact I was unaware of before moving here. It has taken time, but now the community seems to have accepted me for who I am and we co-exist.
It’s a great life here, and I plan on making this my last home. But my silver Airstream will be my home away, and I’m looking forward to the new experiences, people and places I will meet and visit on the Vintage HIghway.