Greetings, and welcome to our own homespun 20 Questions Questionnaire Affair! I have to say, I am particularly excited about this episode, because we’re going to be taking a little visit up to Lytton Springs, to check in with Stephanie Tower, a most esteemed member of the Lytton Springs Tasting Room staff. Given that I work at Monte Bello, I get very little opportunity to spend time with the Lytton Springers, so this is a real treat for me (and I hope for you as well!). My first read of Stephanie’s answers to our questions was perfectly enthralling, and each subsequent read has remained so as well; she was a wonderful way of approaching a query, and a fascinating and singular life history to bring to bear, and I am extremely happy to offer some perspective from Lytton Springs, and from Stephanie Tower; enjoy!
The Official Ridge-ite 20 Questions Questionnaire
1. Can you briefly describe the first time you remember “consciously” drinking a bottle of wine (meaning, you were aware of what you were tasting, and to what extent you were enjoying it)?
I was in the Army, stationed in Louisiana, which explains the answer to this question; It was a Kendall Jackson Syrah.
2. Who first “turned you on” to drinking good wine?
I grew up in Sonoma County, so I think that there might have been wine in my baby bottle. More seriously, my mom.
3. Do you remember the first time you tried a wine from Ridge? (What was it, where did you try it, etc.)
I had never had a Ridge wine prior to being employed here.
4. When did you first realize you had an interest in wine that went beyond that of the “casual” consumer?
When I took a week off from work and school to volunteer for the SF Chronicle wine judging competition; to be paid in wine.
5. What was your first job “in the industry?”
Volunteering at Raymond Burr on event weekends.
6. When did you first join Ridge, and what led you here?
Two years ago May. I needed a job.
7. If you had to pick, is there one Ridge wine that you prefer above all others?
Monte Bello, Duh! Also a huge Geyserville fan.
8. Do you have a favorite food and wine pairing?
Carmichael and a bubble bath.
9. If you could have any Ridge wine, served with any meal, cooked by any chef, with any companion, anywhere in the world, what would you select?
Camping in Yosemite, with my husband, grilling tri tip and a 1994 Monte Bello.
10. Is there a common “myth” or “belief” or supposed “truism” in the world of wine that you’d like to take the opportunity to debunk? (white wines only with fish, wine is made in the winery, alcohol levels in California are too high, the 100-pt wine rating scale is obsolete, etc.)
11. Outside of California, what is your wine region of choice?
Valpolicella (Northern Italy)
12. When you’re not drinking wine, what is your beverage of choice?
13. If you could have any other job in the food/wine industry then the one you have now, what would it be?
I like my job.
14. Wine & Cheese, or Wine & Chocolate?
15. What has been the best wine experience to date in your life? (Where were you, who were you with, what did you drink, etc.)
1999 Raymond Burr Cab, Charcuterie in Healdsburg with husband. We had duck and escargot.
16. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a wine tasting room?
Customer pouring their own wine.
“Is there any rabbit in this Paella? Cause I don’t eat Bambi.”
Dog peeing on tasting room floor and owner leaving without cleaning it up or saying anything. Another customer who saw this happen, felt bad, and wanted to help me clean it up.
17. What do you consider to be the five most important items in your fridge right now?
Chris’s home brew, ketchup, extra sharp cheddar cheese.
18. If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is interested in getting a job in the wine industry, what would it be?
People are crazy anyway, give them a little wine and they are absolutely nutz!
19. How do you feel about the “aroma wheel”?
It is like training wheels, helpful when you are just starting out, but not needed after you develop your own descriptors.
20. What’s the desktop photo on your computer?
My husband and I at dinner, on honeymoon in Thailand before the full moon party. I ordered fish and chips and was brought the entire fish, eyeballs and all.
Categories: RIDGE Staff