Occasionally, we meet an interesting guest or tourism partner and invite them to sit down with us for an Ask Me Anything: Hudson Valley Edition. Meet wine expert, sommelier and chef de cuisine: John Bandman.
HVR: How does one get into working with wine for a living?
JB: All you need is a passion for pairing terrific wine with food. Another attribute is enjoying meeting new friends and a chat over a glass of local wine – a very easy conversation starter.
HVR: What is the best part of being in the wine business?
JB: The verve and passion for wine does the best job of boosting my enjoyment of being in the profession, coupled with traveling to many wine regions including those so close to home. So many people love hearing about the latest interesting wines, that it is difficult to have a “bad day” in the profession.
HVR: Can you tell us a trend or two to expect when it comes to wine drinking in the coming years?
JB: The latest trend I’d say is the interest in wines from regions one normally does not associate style and geography with. Another is flights of wines to enable people to sample different ones rather than having just one full glass and missing out on the variety.
HVR: Tell us something we may not know about wines from New York State. Why should we consider ordering a bottle of NY wine the next time we’re in a restaurant or bar?
JB: Many don’t realize that some of the most classic European style wines come from New York State. Many New York State wines come from grapes that grew in the perfect balance of soil, terroir, climate, and vineyard maintenance. Some old-world wine styles have been recently produced right close to home in the Hudson Valley.
HVR: You’ve lived in the Hudson Valley and know the burgeoning farming movement and culinary scene here very well. Any thoughts on how to pair wines from the Hudson Valley with local, farm-fresh ingredients from the region?
JB: To quote a famous chef, what grows together goes together. Just as you would want to pair local ingredients with other local foods, enjoying a glass of locally produced wine deepens my appreciation and desire for a true local lunch or dinner. Just as local farmers are delighted to speak to the inquisitive customers, many Hudson Valley winemakers liaise with not only local upscale chefs but also with those who wish to immerse themselves in the local culture. A single day’s drive to the Hudson Valley doesn’t do justice for the easy-to-reach vineyards that welcome visitors: Spending a long weekend in a historic establishment like Hudson Valley Rose Bed and Breakfast, while enjoying a glass of wine with local artisans rounds out a perfect experience to this fascinating valley region.
When John is not tasting a new wine at a vineyard or cooking up a storm, you can find him as a teaching professor working hard to impart his métier to the future generation of wine experts.