Connor’s introduction to wine was fated, if not divine. Having randomly attended a lecture during high school career-day—a testament to the Silicon Valley—he committed himself to a life in wine before he could even legally drink. Though he had no familiarity with nor inclination toward wine, when he heard Bill Cooper talk about winemaking in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains, Connor was struck by lightning. This fascination led him to San Luis Obispo, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Wine & Viticulture from California Polytechnic State University in 2014. Connor was awarded the Jimmy Mancbach Memorial Scholarship, which landed him in the cellar at Clendenen-Linquist Vintners on the Bien Nacido Vineyard, where he studied under the quiet icons of Santa Maria, Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist. This tenure exposed him to great classics from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain and Italy, while framing the importance of California wine from a classical context.
Connor’s winemaking background leads him to be more interested in the quality and authenticity that a wine shows, rather than identifying with type, style, or brand. He has honed this approach during last five years in a retail setting—most recently at one of the most prestigious merchants in Southern California. Connor’s Buddhist worldview and avid yoga practice, which has been influenced by trips to Thailand and Japan, allows him to be aware of his own bias in order to better serve others by putting himself in their shoes. He will always commit to have a sense of wanderlust and, of course, drink some wine in the meantime.