"Back when I was just beginning to drink wine, I visited my aunt & uncle in Switzerland. Marc loved his glass of wine when he came back from the office and, though he could have afforded French or Italian wines, he drank the local wine from the place where he grew up. He taught me that it doesn't matter what the label is, how much it costs, or what the reviewers say. The [only thing that] matters is that you enjoy the wine."
Listening to Spencer Garrett talk about wine is like taking a journey that starts in Italy and winds its way through Switzerland and Turkey before settling somewhere between Berkeley and France.
Studying in Florence some dozen years ago, his wine's life started with bottles of the local Chianti, shared with fellow students over dinner or picnics. But somewhere along the way, the intellectual in him came out, and he found himself buying two different bottles of 1990 Chianti to taste side-by-side.
"It was a seminal moment," he says, "because it went from appreciation of wine for its social aspect, to being able to think of wine in an academic, comparative way."
After moving back to the States, Garrett took a non-credit wine-tasting class and continued exploring wine as a hobby, all the while calling Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay his "house wine." A few years later, he was studying archaeology in Turkey and watched his hobby turn into a Master's Thesis.