Having referenced her any number of times in other posts, I thought it was about time to let Nicole Buttitta speak for herself. Officially she is the Vice President of Human Resources here at RIDGE, though a perhaps more accurate title might be something along the lines of “She Who Makes The Impossible Possible”; put another way, she is truly a force of nature, a rock of stability, a compass on a wild and unpredictable sea, a giant among giants, and as funky and down-to-earth a person as you’ll likely meet. And I believe she rather likes cheese and salumi and wine!
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 at a restaurant in San Francisco, and I don’t remember the producer or the vintage, but what I do remember was being totally taken with “the ritual” of the presentation; the foil coming off, the cork being pulled, the splash of the wine in the glass … and then the amazing flavor of the wine.
2. Who first “turned you on” to drinking good wine?
John Olney! (note: John is the winemaker at Lytton Springs)
3. Do you remember the first time you tried a wine from Ridge? (What was it, where did you try it, etc.)
It was April of 2002, and I was with two other members of the Ridge staff, preparing to host some very important visitors, and we had requisitioned a bottle of Monte Bello; that was my first Ridge “wow!”
4. When did you first realize you had an interest in wine that went beyond that of the “casual” consumer?
Well, I grew up with a father who was a farmer, so it was always really the connection to the earth that made wine so interesting to me, and coming to Ridge Monte Bello really sealed the deal.
5. What was your first job “in the industry?”
6. When did you first join Ridge, and what led you here?
It was February of 2002. After the dot-com bomb, I found the job listing in the San Jose Mercury News online …
7. If you had to pick, is there one Ridge wine that you prefer above all others?
8. Do you have a favorite food and wine pairing?
Great wine, crusty bread, a nice piece of cheese, and cured dried salumi.
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?
Lytton Springs, with all the above (see #8), with my dad, and my children, in the backyard of my childhood home, where my father still lives, amongst the tomato vines, and the zucchini plants …
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?
The Rhone Valley; I remember a certain syrah, oh, the bouquet … the nose was just so … floral! So amazing!
12. When you’re not drinking wine, what is your beverage of choice?
Pellegrino with lemon.
13. If you could have any other job in the wine industry then the one you have now, what would it be?
A wine buyer.
14. Wine & Cheese, or Wine & Chocolate?
Wine & Cheese!
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.)
It was in the Loire Valley; we were staying at a beautiful Chateau, and it was about 10:30 at night. It was one of those beautiful balmy evenings, and we were having this amazing soup served in fresh melons as the bowl, the wine was like velvet, beautifully soft, and sensuous, it was still somewhat light out, we were seated outside …
16. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a wine tasting room?
17. What do you consider to be the five most important items in your fridge right now?
Cheese, Salumi, Monte Bello Chardonnay, fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market on Sunday.
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?
Don’t do it because you think it’s glamorous. Be willing to work really, really hard, and check your ego at the door.
19. How do you feel about the “aroma wheel”?
What aroma wheel?
20. What’s the desktop photo on your computer?
My kids at the beach!
Thank you Nicole!