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Millennials – Things They Actually Say III: Brandi Stansbury & Matt Six

May 26, 2011 The Press 1 Comment

This is the third installment of our mini-series talking to fellow young wine consumers, see also here and here. Today, we have a West Coast and East Coast perspective.

I met Brandi a few months ago at a winery in Paso Robles and we hit it off right away. In addition to her obvious love of wine, Brandi shares a love of hilariousness that is only processed by a small group of people.  I call these people Hilarians.

Although not exactly a Millennial, she is right in-between Gen-X and Millennials, so I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone who has enjoyed wine for more than a few years.  Brandi also brings hands on experience working on the hospitality side of wine. What isn’t mentioned in her response though, is our mutual plot to take over the internets by means of a series of well timed Tweets, several viral videos, a troop of well trained talking cats, and the aid of Tony Danza, who although offered very few skills or ideas to our world-wide plot, really needed a job. Hang in there Tony, we’ll show them who the real boss is.

Also, Brandi can write real nice, whereinto, this is be a plu$.

Name: Brandi Stansbury

Location: Paso Robles, CA

What she does: Freelance Writer and Tasting Room/Hospitality Manager at a Paso Robles Winery.

Site: Worth finding, trust me.

Age: 33

ALP:  What is your relationship with wine?

BS: “My first memories of wine date back to my childhood, when my parents used to drink Lancers wine and my mother would keep the bottles and use them as candle holders in a sort of pirate’s treasure motif at special occasion dinners. The bottles on the table, with wax dripping down the sides were a signatory item around the house their shape evoked a swashbuckling excitement for a young child.”

“Going to college in New York City offers a young co-ed some of the best bargain dining experiences. For under $20, you could go to a decent spot in Little Italy, get a house red served in small water glasses and have bang up Italian fare. I mostly drank Italian table wines (Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo) at these places and never really cared too much about complex flavor profiles; as long as I left the restaurant full, buzzed and laughing, the wine did it’s job.”

“Lower priced wines in NYC tend to be European and I lived down the street from a wine shop that had a $5 bin of these guys as well as Gato Negro (Chile) and Vendange (hell?). My roommate’s best friend was our resident drinker and turned us on to shopping for wines based on alcohol content. I believe her quote was simple, “more buzz for the buck.” She used to bring over an intense Italian cooking wine that was 18% alcohol. It had a blue label and script writing. If I ever see that label again, I’ll probably keel over.”

“Art openings were a huge part of my college experience in NYC; both attending and bartending at them. Again, the selection wasalways European. The fancier galleries had French wines (I distinctly remember bartending an event where a snooty gallerist exclusively drank aged Bordeaux) and the smaller galleries (where I was seeing friend’s work) had the cheaper wines in large format bottles.”

“I moved back to my hometown of Paso Robles sometime around 2001, a time where the wine industry was just a burgeoning land of young winemakers, developing vineyards and affordable wines. As luck would have it, a few of my friends from junior high school were now winemakers. They were working at Wildhorse in its heyday, planting vineyards on the side and of course, making wine in their garage. They exposed me to wine from a hands on perspective and at the same time helped me to differentiate good from bad and aided me in honing my personal flavor profile. It was the best way to be introduced to wine and serves as the backbone for my wine knowledge and interest today and thanks to those guys and their connections, I was able to get a part time tasting room job.”

“I’ve since bounced around from LA to SF and back to the Central Coast, traveling internationally in between and always developing my interest for wine.”

ALP:  What are the factors that you look for when picking out a new bottle of wine to try?

BS: “Varietal, region, price and label. At this point, I know what I like, I’ve been to enough tastings and educational wine events to know what regions I can trust when choosing a particular varietal or blend (i.e.- I know I like Barossa Valley Grenaches and I’m a sucker for a cold climate white wines).”

“Depending on the occasion, I have different price ranges. I normally don’t spend over $50 on a bottle (unless it’s a REALLY special occasion- Just bought some Alta Moncayo for my birthday dinner). My everyday wines are normally under $15 and if I’m taking a bottle to a friend’s (assuming they like wines) i’ll spend up to $30. The more the friend is into wine, the more I’ll tend to spend.”

“I put wine in the art category and if I’m taking a bottle to a friend’s house to share or have it sitting on my counter, I want it and expect the label to be aesthetically pleasing. I am pretty serious about my fonts and would NEVER buy a wine that has papyrus or comic sans (with the exception of Las Rocas) font on the label.”

ALP: “ How would you classify the average wine drinker in your age group in your area?

BS: “I think most people in my age group (early 30s) have an enthusiastic and educated approach to wine. We want a wine that transports us to a different place, teaches us something about the region and that was an adventure to find. I’ve noticed that my friends and I share our wine discoveries a lot. My friends in both cities and more rural areas tend to shop at smaller wine stores where they can chat with someone there about the wines, etc. That, or they go to TJ’s or Whole Foods and buy something that looks good, is cheap and they’re willing to try.”

ALP:  Do you pay much attention to wine scores, and if so whose?

BS: “Nope, none at all. I am aware of them only because the winery I work at gets good scores and it’s often times fodder I need to know in the tasting room, but it has nothing to do with my purchasing choices. If anything, I tend to stay away from people and wineries that get hung up on scores. It’s like movie reviews or me. If the movie has a plot, actors and scenery I’m interested in– I’ll go see it regardless of reviews.”

Matt Six and I met over a bottle of Clos Pepe Chardonnay, drank separately, at different times, and without knowing each other when we did it. In January, I published The Regions with some well deserved praise for Clos Pepe’s brilliant Chardonnay (not the gross oaked stuff. The real stuff, with you know, acid, and fruit). It seems Matt has spent some time in Santa Barbara helping with harvest at Clos Pepe, so we formed a bond instantly. Once you have shared a bottle with someone, at different times, in different places, and without knowing who the other person is, it forever changes your relationship with them. I have never met Matt, but I would cut off my non-swirling arm for him.

Name: Matt Six

Location: Brooklyn, NY

What he does: The running, the soccering, and the wine drinking


Age: 29

ALP: How did you get into wine?

MS: “When I was about 20, I started to realize how great good food tastes. I started going out to real restaurants and had no idea what to do with the wine list. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford anything expensive. I wanted to figure out how I could get the best bang for my buck- I still look over the wine line list before I go out.”

ALP:  What are the factors that you look for when picking out a new bottle of wine to try?

MS: “I’m a very compulsive person. I get stuck on a region or grape and just try to focus on it until I’m ready to move on. This past Spring I drank a lot of Chinon and Long Island.  Its easy for me to compare wines that are still fresh in my head. Currently on a wave of Chenin Blanc and Syrah. Usually a blog post, tweet or shop recommendation will start the ball rolling.”

ALP: How would you classify the average wine drinker in your age group in New York?

“It’s hard to define the under 30 wine scene right now. There is this great movement of younger people drinking really geeky stuff- and more importantly- shops to supply them. It’s not cheap living here and it’s not cheap to taste a lot of wine.”

“The small group I drink with is really diverse with some very generous people with great palettes. I’m the youngest by about 5 or 6 years.”

ALP: Do you pay much attention to wine scores, and if so whose?

MS: “I pay attention to a few reviewers- obviously Meadows, Jancis Robinson (for Bordeaux and Champers) Galloni (Italy) to name a few. About the Parker thing:  I will check in with Parker on occasion.  The guy is the biggest thing ever in wine ratings- whether I disagree or not with his scores how does it hurt to know what’s he’s up to? I find his influence on the market fascinating. Can’t wait to see how the market moves over the next few years with him lowering his workload.”

“I use cellartracker heavily, probably the most.  Over time I’ve noticed some tasters that post notes similar to mine and refer to them daily.”

Follow @Mattsix

Monday, we will conclude our little survey.

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Cal says:

    I wish I was a mellennial! These kids have it figured out in a way sweeter way than we could come up with!

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