DebbieChinnMeet Debbie Chin

A bit about me…
I don’t profess to be a wine expert along the lines of Robert Parker or James Laube or even the sales guy at my local wine store.

I prefer to call myself a wine evangelist who, over the course of the past 25 years, has spent ample time visiting wineries as part of my job, which grew into an enthusiastic hobby.

Family, colleagues and friends can attest to my fervent recitations of wines that strike me as particularly unique.

My very first foray into fine wines occurred in 1988 when I was managing fundraising events for the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco. Prior to my arrival at ACT, the only wine I drank was Taylor Jug Wines because it was cheap and didn’t require much thinking to buy. The unforgettable chairwoman of my first black-tie event was Erika Hills. Her husband Austin, of the Hills Brothers coffee family, had recently partnered with winemaker Mike Grgich in 1977 to form Grgich Hills Cellar (now Grgich Hills Estate). I felt completely out of my element when Erika and the committee were discussing food and wine pairings to serve at the dinner.

Dear wonderful Erika sensed my discomfort and literally took me under her expansive wings to teach me about the world of Napa. She invited me to their home in the wine country where we tasted a variety of Grgich Hills wines.

Over the course of the time that I knew her, she increasingly introduced me to the many wonderful wines in the Napa Valley region. It was comparable to earning your driver’s license and being handed the keys to a Ferrari showroom. My life moved into a wonderful direction after I “graduated” from Erika’s tutelage and thus began my wine passion.

I’m grateful to long-time friend Deb Shadovitz for inviting me to contribute my thoughts and recommendations on wines. I look forward to sharing with you my wine discoveries from wineries that are consistently excellent so that you can add this to your “can’t go wrong if I order this” list. With all wines — and with food and art — it’s all subjective, so I invite you to send in your feedback and thoughts as we go through this journey together.