Ian has become Mr. Napa Valley with his many projects and platforms shining a spotlight on the region. He is the Wine Country Director of 7×7 Magazine , California Home+Design Magazine, and the Creative Director and Editor of Napa Valley Life’s “INK” section. If there’s a happening event in Napa, you can count on him being there with enthusiasm.
What was your path into the wine media?
I fell in love with a girl from Napa and chased her up to St. Helena. I knew that I simply had to find a job in the wine industry, it was too much fun not too. Luckily my days of writing for Lonely Planet, the connections and network I built at that time paid off. After that, I just did right by the people in the wine community and they have done right by me.
What were the steps you took to prepare yourself for a career the wine industry?
I visited a ton of wineries, asked a million questions, and then started developing ideas, programs and content that fit the needs of the community.
How do you juggle all the awesome projects that you have in the world of beverage?
One sip at a time, and with the knowledge that if I do right by the wine community, it will do right by me. Also, always be sure you’re owed more favors than you owe.
What does being the “InsiderNapa” individual mean to you?
I chose that title because I’m in a position that provides me a very unique and inside perspective on the wine industry. I have direct access to the industry, and information about the industry at every level from CEO to farmer. I also work in every aspect of the industry, from media to winemaking, to events, sponsorships, sales and marketing; and travel to wine regions and wine events all over the world. It definitely helps that my wife’s family has over 30 years of history in Napa Valley and is extremely well respected in the community. It’s also worth noting that I’ve been accused of having one of the strongest networks in Napa Valley and Sonoma.
Do you have a favorite moment or experience in Napa?
Watching Grace Potter and the Nocturnals play a Live in the Vineyard show in the Peju Gardens on a perfectly beautiful spring day. Or seeing the Barr Brothers play Live in the Vineyard in the Peju Kitchens. Or maybe the NVL INK Black Valentine Ball, so many great times!
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Having a million different projects going on at once and never knowing which one I should focus on. It’s tons of fun and allows for extreme creativity and you never get bored. It’s worth every anxious moment!
What is your favorite aspect of what you do?
Supporting the community I live in, and being a conduit to the city I grew up in (SF) for the community I now live in (wine industry).
What advice would you give college students considering a career in wine media?
Find your voice (write a lot), be honest in your writing, spend a ton of time learning about wine and experiencing every aspect of wine, and the wine industry. Think a lot about what the next big thing will be, what the needs are, and future are for the wine industry and be sure to examine all of this from the most micro to the most macro levels. Find a voice and be the best at what you do! Never pretend to be something you’re not or write about things you don’t really know about, and read these blog posts!