Thanks for stopping by! Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. My name is Gian (Jumbo), I’m a Marine, Combat Veteran, Winemaker, Certified Sommelier, and now Distiller. Sounds like a big deal but they don’t call me Jumbo for nothing. This blog was created for the purpose of giving my insight on wine, spirits, and food in my own fashion. I’m not a jazz listening, eloquent individual who drinks wine with a pinky up. I take a more straight up approach to life, kind of like my whiskey order at a bar. I hope you find my approach to be educational, entertaining, and overall…deliciously hilarious. At the end of the day, isn’t that what life is supposed to be?
I started my boozy career by falling in love with a girl, funny how that happens. This girls family fortunately had a family vineyard that was in need of a broad-shouldered bastard with a big heart. I picked up that first couple tons of grapes and never looked back. The Idea of taking the principles of hard work and passion, to create something so tasty, boggled my simple mind. I wasn’t a farmer from the bread basket nor a bright mind from a big city, I was fresh from the Marines with a lot of raw feelings built up inside of me. This new career was a nice mixture in between. Like most loves, the one for the girl faded and the one for wine grew. I ended up packing my bags and traveling across the California state for a month and a half, lets call it a modern-day “sabatical”. I lived on my buddies couches and in my car for most of it but I said to hell with it, I’m going to see what wine country is all about. So I waved southern California behind and I headed for Napa and Paso Robles. I had no idea what wine country really was. I made wine in Orange County from grapes from everywhere else, not much a wine culture if you ask me (for another post). I wanted to find out if I really loved wine and the art of making vino. It was a horrifying feeling. To have dedicated yourself to a career and lifestyle without really knowing what you’re getting into, it felt like a kid staring down the deep end of a pool. Luckily for me, I absolutely loved it and swore to myself I would one day live in Napa or Paso.The wines were well made, the views that made your hair stand up, and a culinary and culture behind it that only made me feel right at home. I returned home and got straight to work, to one day make a life for myself that would be worth taking the plunge into that “deep end”. Its taken a lot of blood sweat and tears to get to this point. Working in the vineyards gave me the appreciation of how hard it is to raise vines in every condition, to being so detail oriented in the cellar where one misstep can lead to catastrophic failure, to then putting a suit on and trying to sell a bottle of wine to a class and culture who relatively fakes it to they make it. all to make fermented grape juice a beautiful thing to so many different folks.
I have worked my ass off and have discovered a lot through this journey and now that I am writing this in our home in Napa on a crisp, clear day, it has all been incredible and worth it. So buckle up buttercups because this ride will have turbulence with a lot of windy and interesting roads.