I started working in wine in 1997, but that wasn’t when I truly fell in love with grapes. Crazy enough, I remember the exact moment when that happened. It was almost 9 years later, after selling wines for large companies for almost a decade, I was given a very unique opportunity.
In 2006 Violet and Mike Grgich asked me to come to interview for my dream job as a manager for Grgich Hills Estate in Napa Valley. Grgich had been my favorite winery for many years… but in 2006, they finally thought I was ready for a small family business. *In the wine industry, it’s easier to work for very large companies and more difficult to get positions with boutique wineries. (Because everyone wants them)
Going out to the winery, I was extremely nervous. I had read about the Judgement of Paris and knew how high their standards were, and as a young man, I didn’t think I had a chance to get the job. I figured I had annoyed them enough that they were giving me a “pity interview.”
When I arrived, I expected a long interview, tons of sales questions, and a “quiz” on my wine knowledge, but none of those things happened. Instead, I took a tour of the property, tasted all the wines out of the barrel, and when we were done, a then 80 something year old Mike Grgich was waiting for me. We sat down, and instead of a grueling interview, Mike took two hours to tell me his story, his journey, his love of wine, and what had inspired him to open Grgich Hills. He allowed me to ask him questions, and you could feel the passion he had with every answer (Even after 50 years in wine-making). He told me about his family, their struggles, and their amazing triumphs.
By the end of the talk, something clicked in me that never had before. I loved wine…but even more, I loved the stories behind the wines. That was my spark. I was hooked for life.
I would go on to work for the Grgich family for 7 years, telling their story wherever I traveled. Later, I would go on to work as a Vice President for Michael Mondavi (Another Icon) and tell the stories of his family and amazing journey, as well.
Fast forward to 2019, when we opened Basser’s Fine Wine, Emily and I wanted to take this passion for storytelling and belief in small families and bring it to our new business. We decided on “Come in Drink Better” to explain our concept, less as a tagline and more as a belief system. We wanted to attract a community of amazing wine lovers who wanted something better than they were finding in Florida.
We know we will never have 10.000 wines in the shop or huge displays like the groceries or big box stores, but we hope when you walk in, you’ll feel the connection we have to what makes wine truly special.
So if you come in, try something new….or ask us to help you pick out something special (Just ask, and I promise we will help you with a smile on our faces),
You can try Cakebread Sauv Blanc (The wine we drank when I proposed to Emily) or Michele Chiarlo La Court (The 1st Italian wine we loved), or Taittinger Champagne (The bubbles we drank at our wedding). You can try Grgich Hills (And see what sparked our love for story-telling, or Dal Forno, the 1st wine we rated 100pts after opening the store).
Wine is our passion, and we would love nothing more than to share it with you.
Come in…Drink Better