Rajat Parr is a wine luminary and among the foremost wine personalities of his generation. “That” generation is the one just prior to mine and I remember vividly a decade ago reading about Raj. He’d recently become the Wine Director at Michael Mina’s 5th Floor Restaurant, fresh off the tutelage of his predecessor, and forefather of the American Sommelier, Larry Stone. Raj’s fast ascent was validation that I was on the right path – or at the very least, that there actually was a path. He was, and is a prototype and a standard for young sommeliers.
On a perfect spring evening, our interview was the culmination of a full day with Raj, where he toured us around his vineyards (in Lompoc in the Santa Maria Valley) and cellars in his new home of Santa Barbara. He was a wonderful host for our whole crew – a wonderful collection of the Nopa family.
In the throws of harvest, we felt it’d be the perfect time to honor Raj and all the growers and vintners who live for this time. Even if you’re not into wine, Raj’s story of humble beginnings, (in his case Calcutta, where he miraculously ate three meals a day with his family for 18 years) and growing into the top of his field, is a classic arc of one landing place after a life driven by passion and curiosity. It’s a great story that feels even more fluid as it’s recounted in the comfort of his own porch. We hope you guys enjoy this podcast and collection of Franklin’s photos that so elegantly captured that day and evening.