This is a Q&A that I've been looking forward to doing for several months now. Why? Well, it's kind of a funny story really.
I've been writing about Finger Lakes wines for a few years now, but until maybe a year or so ago, I didn't really know very many of the players. A few winemakers here. A few winery owners there. Maybe some marketing folks. But one day, I was looking on Lamoreaux Landing's website for some information about them and I noticed "Josh Wig – General Manager" and thought to myself "Hey, I went to college with a Josh Wig. We were even in the same department (biology) but it can't be him, can it?"
Turns out that it is the same Josh Wig, who as he puts it was "Born a farmer. And, after a brief foray as a warrior and nuclear engineer, with any luck will die a farmer and lover of nature."
What (and where) was the first bottle of wine you remember drinking?
My grandmother took me back to her home island of Lefkada in Greece as a high school graduation present. I spent the whole summer with my cousins. They drank large quantities of Vertzami and Robola, surfed all day, and hung out in the discotheques all night. I'm not sure if it was the wine or the topless beaches that made the biggest impression on me at the time, but that summer was definitely good preparation for college.
What event/bottle/etc made you decide that you wanted to be in the wine industry?
Growing up on the family farm, I was brainwashed into thinking that everyone worked 16 hours a day out in the elements, enjoyed eating the dirt and diesel mist that rolled up from the tractor, and got up at 4 a.m. the next day to do it all over again.
It was a hard-yet-rewarding upbringing that has always left me longing to get back to the land. This was the perfect opportunity to get back to my roots, while still providing the constant challenges associated with production, marketing and sales of the most engrossing agricultural product that I have consumed to date.
Which of your current wines is your favorite and why?
Our 2007 T23 Cabernet Franc has to be at the top of this list. While cab franc is by far my favorite grape, this wine takes the varietal to whole new level for me. Why go through all of the trouble to grow good fruit, if you're just going to beat it to death with a stick?
This wine will always take me back to my first harvest in the Finger Lakes.
What has surprised you most about being a member of the Finger Lakes wine community?
I have been very impressed with the educational culture and the members' general propensity to share their ideas and methods with their neighbors.
Other than your own wines, what wine/beer/liquor most often fills your glass?
Maker's Mark — straight, rocks or Manhattan.
Is there a 'classic' wine or wine and food pairing that you just can't make yourself enjoy?
I haven't found one yet!
Wine enjoyment is about more than just the wine itself. Describe the combination of wine, locations, food, company, etc. that would make (or has made) for the ultimate wine-drinking experience.
Having my wife's family and my family all at the 20-foot long picnic table under a Seneca Lake sunset, and serving an entire meal that we harvested: venison burgers, grilled asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, swiss chard, strawberry rhubarb pie and of course T23! For me, wine is all about bringing people together.