Itadakimasu – Tasting Neyers Vineyards

Itadakimasu – Tasting Neyers Vineyards

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Columnist Ryan Tatsumoto, October 7, 2016 Issue

Ryan Tatsumoto
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

I first met Bruce and Barbara Neyers at a wine tasting arranged by Chuck Furuya at the former Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas private dining room. It was there that I offered Barbara Neyers my home-baked sourdough bread . . . with a little trepidation after learning that she had cooked and worked alongside Alice Waters at Chez Panisse for many years. But there was nothing pretentious about Bruce and Barbara: They seemed like very nice, ordinary people, despite having created some of the most fabulous, affordable and food-friendly wines that you can find on the market today.

Bruce the Sales Manager

One part of Bruce Neyers’ life revolves around being the national sales manager for Berkeley wine importer Kermit Lynch, which, in itself, is a dream job and a full-time occupation. I could write a column — or several columns — about the wines represented by Kermit Lynch. If Kermit Lynch is the importer, the wine is a great one at least 75 to 80 percent of the time. The other 20 to 25 percent of the time, they are, at the least, very good wines.

Since most Kermit Lynch wines are imported from either France or Italy, the national sales manager — aka Bruce — gets to spend quite a bit of time in those countries, meeting negociants (French term for wine middlemen), winemakers and grape growers. As a result, Bruce developed new friendships and learned the “hows, whats, wheres, whens and whys” of winemaking from cultures that have been doing it for hundred of years, even before Napa Valley became a tourist destination.

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