Super Early Bird
Ends November 30, 2021
Ends April 20, 2022
May 16, 2022
Currently, a winegrower at Stella14 in Vermont and a wine director at VT Wine Shepherd, Master Sommelier David Keck has worn many different hats throughout his working life. He discovered his love for wine while pursuing a career—and traveling the world—as an opera singer.
I started bartending when I was 18, but really dove into wine fully when I was working in a wine shop/bar on the side while in graduate school. I started to dive down the rabbit hole further and then in 2010 took my introductory course with the Court of Master Sommeliers and never looked back
I'm currently working to help shape the portfolio for VT Wine Shepherd and train their sales team while also maintaining a vineyard and producing wine
I'd probably have continued on my previous career path toward being an opera singer
Who are our clientele? Who are our target guests, what do they drink now, and what would we like them to drink in the future?
The supply side of the industry is crucial to sales and a lot of it has to do with logistics-- gauging inventory levels and also working with producers to constantly evolve and meet the market where it is
Education for myself and the team, proper inventory management, and prioritization of work in the field
Does it have a story? How does it taste?! And will it sell at the price.
Hospitality and curiosity are the two things that I think cannot be taught. Wine can be taught, service can be taught, but the instinct for hospitality and the curiosity to continue to explore and grow are two things that are crucial and very difficult to instill later.
There are so many factors, but honestly, it's the bottom line. If the program is financially viable, that's the first step because otherwise, it's just a passion project. THEN, if it is viable financially, does it say something? Does it have a point and focus or is it just a mixed bag of cool wines?
Truly an impossible question, because what does best mean? What do I want to drink more than other wines? Probably some great Nebbiolo for red and delicious Chardonnay from Chablis for white.
There's a story for every wine if that wine is worth opening!
Price is almost always subjective. Beaujolais is still one of the great values in the world of wine, as is a bunch of the cool new stuff in Spain and Portugal.
Depends on the day! I love being in the vineyard with the vines, but some days are sitting on a mower or sprayer all day. In the distribution warehouse, no one loves doing inventory, but I love revisiting some labels and talking about them with the team in sales meeting.
Ah, so many, but off-dry Chenin with some mackerel sashimi is pretty awesome.
Song: Depends on the day and time, but I'll listen to The Marriage of Figaro pretty much beginning-to-end any day of the week. Podcast? Hmm, I listen to a lot of TED talks. Book: I love poetry as it's easier for my short attention span-- I'm from Vermont and Robert Frost has always spoken to me. Also been reading Czeslaw Milosz recently.
Interview By: Prithvi Nagpal, Editor & Sommelier