I am born in Romania in 1953 in Dragasani, the center of one of Romania wine countries. Very much like in France, wine is part of the meal. I had wine since very early age. Red wine is and was always my preference, in fact I did not liked white wine until I was in my thirties. I do like it now. Being the only boy with an excellent cook as my mother and two older sisters that developed a similar passion for cooking I have been spoiled all my life with goodies from the kitchen. I lived most of my childhood in the city of Slatina, not far from Dragasani where I was born. However, my father use to buy grapes every fall and we were making wine renting the equipment. In some years I was the only person doing the entire vinification process. We use to make anywhere from 600 to 1400 liters of wine in the fall and that was lasting not very long, most of the time we had to purchase wine for Easter. If you do the math that looks to be excessive drinking for a family of 5. However, hospitality in Romania is quite generous and social life includes many parties with family and friends.
Moving to US I find a challenge finding good bread, good organic natural food. However, living in California was not bad from the perspective of being close to one of the best wine region of the world. In the order of preferences I like Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Sonoma, afraid of Burgundy because of the difficulty to pair it with the food it deserves, Barolo, Bordeaux, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and everything that is good wine. I moved to Tracy, CA in the year 2000 and my first priority was to build my own wine cellar. I believe that a wine cellar is a must tool if you will, at least, try to drink the wine when it peaks. You will find amazing things when you experiment with wine, some wines changes significantly when mature around 5~6 years after vinification. Well, it is a nice hobby I think.
Wine is the key element of a good meal, it completes and balances the food. It stimulates ones intellect, imagination and keeps you young in spirit and body.