We offer unusual and useful books for foodies and winos and publish sumptuous limited-editions that take inspiration from the character, honesty and artistry of the artisanal foods and wines we love.
I was not yet two years old in 1968, when the Wassermans moved from Philadelphia to France. My father was an artist and wanted to live his version of Van Gogh or Cézanne in the south of France. Fortunately, we settled a little north, in Burgundy. Immediately, my parents immersed themselves in the food and wine culture, and I can't even remember a time when our dinner table wasn't surrounded by winemakers or chefs. In the mid-seventies, my mother, Becky Wasserman, set on the path to becoming the legendary wine broker many of you know. By the age of twelve, I was helping on a regular basis to lighten her work load by translating for her customers in the cellars. I was allowed to taste, of course, and I did.
After a period of defiance during which I did my best to run away from the wine trade, for example running in 1995 as far as Los Angeles where I still live today, I caved in. And after I became a buyer I completely fell in love with being a wine merchant.
About a decade ago I started to write about wine for The Robb Report, Worth, and Statement Magazine. Writing made me curious about wine writing of the past, and I bought a few old wine books. Collecting is a consuming disease, and soon I was snapping up everything of interest I could find at a price I could afford. Among these books were some absolute gems, works of great historical or academic importance, or books that were just beautifully written, and I vowed that I would one day resurrect them.
My parents, Sam and Peg Sweesy, were always bons vivants. But when I was eight years old, my mother travelled to France and Italy where, à la Julia Child and her Sole Meunière, she underwent a culinary epiphany. Upon her return, she took to the stoves with passion, and our household quickly became fluent with classic European dishes and the wines that went with them.
In 1981 I started as an assistant to a business affairs negotiator at MGM Television. Business Affairs is traditionally a male attorney dominated profession, but, despite being neither, I climbed up that ladder and ended up, several years later, as co-head of Business Affairs at Warner Bros. Television. My department was in charge of 20+ pilots and 20+ series every year including Friends, ER, The West Wing, The Drew Carey Show and Two and a Half Men. I have been told that I am one of the toughest negotiators there is, but that I get away with it because I have a great phone voice.
I got serious about wine twelve years ago after a trip to Napa and started classes at the Rudd Center at the CIA in St. Helena, CA. It wasn't long before the world of wine made my day job seem unromantic and I vowed to one day do something about it.