written by Martin Cody, CEO at Cellar Angels
For people in the wine industry there is usually an a-ha moment where they simply have to do something to make a career out of their love of wine. My first a-ha moment was when the owner of a retail wine shop I frequented invited me to a healthy sample of a 1982 Vintage of Chateau Hâut-Brion. And while there weren’t symphonic birds chirping overhead, the wine was other-worldly. I was in my late 20’s and was simply blown away by the aroma, the nuance, the depth, the finesse, the taste and the long, lingering finish. I was hooked. But I had not the experience nor the means to imagine a career focused on Bordeaux. Perhaps something domestic would prove equally alluring. Enter Silver Oak.
Silver Oak drew a cult following before cult was cult. Locals would drive for hours and dozens would fly in the day before just to be a part of their annual release day. Remember when the light used to go on indicating fresh doughnuts at Krispy Kreme? It was like that only better. And it was wine! As fate would have it back in the early 90’s I found myself in Napa, at Silver Oak a week after their release party seeking to embark on a Silver Oak wine tour. Keep in mind this was before smart phones, reservation booking apps, etc., and I was a rookie trying to drop in and experience the aura that is and was Silver Oak. They did not disappoint.
The staff was amazing, the story even better and the wine was superb. Once again, I was hooked. It would be another 10 years before I and my wife Denise, who is now the Cellar Angels Chief Operating Angel, would open our retail wine store in Chicago where yes, we carried Silver Oak. It would be another 3 years after that when we decided the great small batch artisan wines of Napa and Sonoma needed a larger national audience and the vehicle of delivery would be Cellar Angels. But it had to start somewhere. I was bit by the proverbial wine bug and the rest as they say, is history.
We’re ardent supporters and fans of the small, artisan producer at Cellar Angels and we love both telling the stories of these producers and sharing their wines with an ever increasing national audience. The journey must start somewhere and I’m curious, what’s your story?