I was born in the Borough of the Bronx in New York City. My parents weren’t drinkers; the occasional glass of kosher wine during Jewish holidays was about as boozy as the Heimoff household got. Although I did drink wine, recreationally, in college, it was nothing particularly memorable, and usually came from a large jug.
The wine bug really bit me, hard, when I moved to Northern California in the late 1970s, to go to grad school. By 1980, I’d moved to San Francisco, and my idea of a fun weekend (while all my friends were flying kites on Marina Green or having brunch) was to go to every fine wine shop in the city, from the Financial District out to the Avenues. There, I would pick the brains of floor staff, trying to understand things. I read as much as I could of the world’s great wine writers, and also established personal friendships in the trade, some of which abide to this day. My career as a wine writer/critic began with my first assignment from Wine Spectator Magazine, in 1989. Until I accepted my new job here at Kendall-Jackson Winery, I was California Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine.