Who am I?
Always an interesting question…
I consider myself a wine lover, experienced, passionate, critical (‘sometimes’ cynical) with a personal opinion and someone who loves to share nice wines.
I started when I was relatively young and my first ‘major’ achievement was a collection of ten wines! They were cherished and kept to share with other ‘connaisseurs’ at special occasions. I dreamt of luxurious dinners with these great wines, ultimate wine & food matching and more. Unfortunately, but they turned out to be (literally and figuratively) bitter disappointments.
But, as bad as they were, they had a positive effect on me. I became more curious. Was it the wine or was it me, were they just bad wines, or was it my palet and lack of experience? I found out is was both. Wrong producers, the worst vintages bought at a shop with a questionable collection of mediocre wines. A sad combination considering my lack of knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, it inspired me to get more involved and focused.
I bought books (Wine Tasting by Michael Broadbent of course), read as much as I could and organized my first wine tasting. Friends and family had to share my new hobby, and fortunately they loved it. More analytical tasting skills were taught by Holland’s first oenologist Gerhard Horstink and I became more acquainted with the wonderful world of wine.
My First great wine was a d’Yquem 1976, tasted at Wijnkoperij van Donkelaar in Dordrecht, where many fine wines followed. The tasting with over 40 Vini da Tavola in 1990 is still one of the most memorable tastings I organized/attended.
In 1988 I met Jan van Lissum, both on our knees for la Turque 1985 during a tasting. Slowly but surely I became a member of his team and I’ve been loyal to his Wine & Food Association for more than 20 years now. To jan van Lissum I owe the introduction to many wineregions, producers and the possibility to write countless articles for his magazines Proefschrift, de Proefkrant, the Yearguide WINE and more. Also thanks to him I could develop my experience in presentations, seminars etc. during events like Wine Professional, the Dutch Wine & Food Festival, the Grand Prix Saint Hubert, the National Winetest and more.
As an independant winewriter I also work for others. For some ten years I’m responsable for the winepages in ‘De Smaak van Italië (Taste of Italy)’ en ‘Italië in Bedrijf (Italy in Business)‘ for DSV Media. For the same publisher I also take care of the annual Olive Oil Taste Test (Oliva d’Oro Awards), a (in Holland) unique and intriguing competition to promote the best Italian Olive oil in the Netherlands.
Over the years I have also been allowed to work on several other projects, like tastings for the Embassies of Canada and Chili, seminars for the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands, some in cooperation with several wine-authorities like professor Attilio Scienza.
When I criticized (I have a certain reputation of being critical sometimes) the content and wines of a well respected wine course in Holland, I was asked to do better….. I took over the lessons on Italy some five years ago now, and both the Wine Academy and their students are still enthusiastic about what I do and how I do it.
I am regarded as a specialist on Italian wines, but my interest is not limited to this (in my opinion) most intriguing wine country in the world. During numerous trips to many wine regions I met lots of interesting wines and their makers in countries like South-Africa, Chile, Argentina, California and Canada, but also closer to home in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Austria. I feel at home wherever fine wines are made and where I can share my passion for them with nice people.