Skip to content


Welcome to my wine blog and website. I’ve been writing pieces mainly for wine bulletin boards (the Mark Squires Board on eRobertParker for several years, WineBerserkers more recently), and keeping track of my tasting notes and memorable winetasting events on CellarTracker, where I hold the record for most tasting notes (currently over 18,000 and counting). I am a Human Resources exec by day, and full-time wine geek most of the rest of the time. I’m fortunate to reside in the San Francisco Bay area, with easy access to the wine country of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa and Sonoma. This area is also home to several well established tasting groups and retail stores that do regular tastings that I frequent. I have traveled to wine country in Burgundy, Chateauneuf du Pape, Languedoc, Oregon, Santa Barbara, Argentina, the Douro and Madeira. My favorite wine critics and writers include Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, Allen Meadows, Roy Brady, David Shildknecht and Clive Coates. I lived in Los Angeles until 2004, and still visit regularly to see members of my tasting groups there.

My tasting notes are patterned as follows: color; nose; palate; finish (then, parenthetically, other notes about the wine, based on what I’ve learned from tasting with the winemaker, distributor or others knowledgeable about the wine, such as the cepage, barrel treatment, drinking window). If I tasted from a format other than the standard 750 mil bottle, I’ll indicate that at the beginning of the note; ditto if it was a barrel sample instead of bottled wine. My descriptors are ordered from most dominant flavor component to least dominant. If I am tasting in an environment (e.g., darkly lit restaurant) where it is difficult to accurately assess the color, I will omit that feature from the TN, as I will if I’m doing a big trade tasting, where I will just focus on the nose and the palate (or just the palate if I’m having to go at super speed) as the biggest key(s) to judging a young wine, in particular.

Hugh Johnson and Richard
Hugh Johnson and Richard Jennings
Jancis Robinson and Richard
Jancis and Richard

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 26, 2010 2:14 pm

    Hi RJ,

    I just subscribed to your blog and have read a little bit about your experience with wines, which seems considerable!

    As a novice, I was hoping you might point me in the right direction to some tasting groups that I might be able to join in my area? I am incredibly passionate about food & wine and would love to know more by going through Sommelier certification. However, since I can’t afford it yet, the next best thing would be to join a reputable tasting group. I live in San Jose, CA and can easily run around the Bay Area.

    Many thanks! Looking forward to reading more about your wine adventures!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: