1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background and your current role?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I went to the University of Oregon where I found my passion for entrepreneurship and my love of wine. I worked at a small winery for 3 months during my senior year, and I knew from then on I wanted to work in the wine industry in some capacity.
I appreciated being out on the vineyard on a weekly basis and enjoyed figuring out how to build a brand catered to specific target audiences. Right after college, I worked at Amazon for 5 years in the sales and marketing division on two different teams. In 2017, I left Amazon to work with my Dad and our business partner growing our lovely aperitif wine brand, Jardesca. I am currently wearing the hats as owner, sales and market manager, recipe generator, and photographer for our company.
2. Why did you choose this industry and what do you love about it? When I was younger, I always had an appreciation for wine and champagne, specifically the idea that some wines taste better with aging, as others are meant for consumption immediately.
Each bottle is a piece of history and has a story to tell, not only through the label but its taste it as well. While working at Amazon through 2017, my Dad and his business partner asked me to join Jardesca.
Now, not only do I get to work with my Dad, but I also get to do something that I am truly passionate about. What I love most about this industry is the connections you make along the way. I have met so many amazing sommeliers, buyers and owners at restaurants and hotels, wine producers, and of course consumers who geek out on wine and aperitifs just as much as I do. There is a lot of passion in this industry, and real emotion.
3. What challenges have you experienced in your profession in 2020?
A large portion of our business was participating at food and wine festivals, offering tastings at accounts, hotel pop ups, and showcasing a wine cocktail on a restaurant menu. Once the pandemic hit, we had to shift our focus and come up with ideas to get in front of consumers who are at home.
A lot of people are not familiar with the Aperitif category and without someone recommending it to you, typically in an in-person environment, it is challenging to gain interest. Not having the face-to-face interaction with consumers was our #1 challenge in 2020. We also changed direction to enhance our online presence and built out virtual programs.
4. What are some of your favorite and comforting wine/wine region/pairing?
I LOVE wine! I am all over the place with what I like, but from the very beginning I have always been drawn to two specific varietals and regions. I love Oregon Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley.
Pairing it with a small cheese and charcuterie board or chicken with vegetables.
I love all red wines from Etna Rosso, Sicily. They are cool, subtle, refreshing and I would pair it with bucatini all’ Amatriciana! I love Aperitif Wines as well and of course love Jardesca above all!
5. Any advice for aspiring industry candidates?
Be prepared to work your butt off. Work hard, ask questions and always be curious. This industry is over saturated and it is up to you and your team to get the word out about your brand.
Get creative and stay motivated. It will take years, but trust me it will pay off!
6. Please share an anecdotal moment that you will never forget!
My Dad and I did a tasting with a well-regarded individual in the bar community in Los Angeles, and during the tasting they said our aperitifs were too light, did not have a lot of depth, and was too different from a traditional European Aperitif. In the moment, I was pretty upset because I thought the restaurant group was the right account to display our products on the menu, but then I realized that Jardesca was different, not sugary, bitter, and like traditional European Aperitifs.
We sought out to create an aperitif that captured the freshness of California gardens and vineyards and marry everything together with our own twist.
7. Is there anything else you would like to share or mention?
Market and alcohol trends are continuously changing for the better. We have better farming practices, better wine making processes, and better packaging for the environment.
Continue to try things you normally would not try. Also, do not forget that everyone’s palate is different. Wine should not be daunting. It should be fun to pick out a wine for any occasion, enjoyed with friends and family. Like what you like and enjoy creating your favorite pairings!
Charlie: "Each bottle is a piece of history and has a story to tell"