My Story

Michael Blake is your Wine Coach.  Master of Basic & Advanced Wine Education

 

While becoming an adult, either a sense of adventure or plain curiosity, started tasting wine with a good friend. We were 18 and could legally drink but beer was the drink of choice. We started with inexpensive French wines in the early 70’s and they were awful, tannic monsters that could rip the enamel off your teeth. We kept tasting occasionally but CA was always on the horizon.  A business trip brought me to San Jose in 1984 with beer drinkers! But we had a free weekend and traveled to wine country. We tasted in the southern part of Napa and the beer drinkers enjoyed themselves. Wow, there I was visiting wineries whose labels I recognized. Eating at places only mentioned in travel magazines. My brother was accepted into University of San Francisco MBA program in 1991, and invited us for a visit. Of course, we toured San Francisco but also visited wine country.  After graduation, he said to Mom and Dad, I’m staying in CA and finding a job(which lead to a GF, wife, family, house, etc). During his college years, about 1991-1993, our youngest sister visited more often. She decided to move to Sonoma, CA in 1997.  Eventually, Mom convinced Dad to move to Sonoma, CA in 2002. Then our oldest sister & husband moved to CA in 2004. Now the whole family had a reason to visit wine country!   So I needed to visit more often. My wife’s brother lives in El Dorado Hills outside of Sacramento with many wineries in the Sierra Foothills. Another visit!

However, Engineering jobs were disappearing rapidly during the internet lull around 2000.  With little or no work, my wife noticed an ad for people interested in wine. This piqued my wine interest, so started as a Wine Educator with the The Traveling Vineyard I brought wine samples and hosted small wine tastings of 10-20 people. Another lull around 2013, had me in San Jose on a contract job. What to do with my after work spare time? Any wine courses in CA? The International Culinary Center, Campbell, CA had(now closed) an Intensive Sommelier program- day and NIGHT! Sure, I could work 40 hours at a very busy job and work another 4 hours after work!  Short story – in 4 months, I had become a Certified Sommelier with many new friends!  Stayed in CA after contact job and found work at Charles Krug. A unique, fun, eye opening experience working with wine customers. I was hooked!  But back to Boston for a full-time engineering job and part-time wine pouring. Then 6 month contract and retirement!! Hmm, what to do?  Visited Napa again and with a friends help, landed a job at Robert Mondavi Winery. OMG. Dream job, giving tours, tasting wines, explaining, describing wines to customers, etc!  I returned twice for a total of 3 summer jobs but then home called after 3 wonder filled seasons.

 

 

 

Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators

 

 

 

 

Passed, with Merit, the Advanced Certificate(Level 3) from the Wine & Spirits Education trust (WSET).

 

 

American Wine Society

Founded the Hudson,MA Chapter of the American Wine Society in 2007. Received his Certified Wine Judge in November 2013 and re-certified in 2018. Launched several Chapters in the local Massachusetts area. He is currently the Regional Vice President for Eastern Massachusetts. Please visit the Facebook page or Website.  He was the voice behind the call-in Wine Judge Training program for 8 years.

 

 

 

Graduated The International Culinary Center, Campbell, CA.  Awarded Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master SommeliersMember of the Guild of Sommeliers

 

 

 

 

Wine Educator at Robert Mondavi Winery from 2016-2018. Created many public and private tours, club member tastings, hosted lunches, and wine tastings.

 

 

 

 

He continues exploring educational studies with French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Specialist.

Coaches consumers at several wine stores in Massachusetts especially near the holidays.                                                  

Presented Portuguese wines at the Boston Wine Expo 2016 & 2017. 

Guided consumers through local wines from Aaronap Cellars at summer Farm Markets.

 

 

TIPS Certified (Off-Premise)

 

 

 

 

ServSafe (Food Handler)

 

 

 

Before wine(hard to believe), he worked as a Semiconductor Design Engineer at Digital Equipment Corp(DEC), Compaq, Intel, Springtide Networks, Lucent, Casa Systems, and Western Digital.