GolfVino was recently featured in PGA Magazine. Please enjoy the full article.
PGA PROFESSIONAL GREG ANDERSON IS ALSO CERTIFIED
AS A LEVEL 1 WINE SOMMELIER
Ask any PGA Professional whether to play from the red or white tees and, depending on your golf skills, their response should be clear as black and white. Ask that same PGA Professional the difference between red or white wine and, more than likely, he or she would not be in a position to furnish a qualified judgment. That is, unless the questions were being directed to Greg Anderson, who is believed to be the only PGA member who has also earned the title of Level 1 Wine Sommelier.
A chance meeting with a wine legend led PGA Professional Greg Anderson to pursue a unique career path. Anderson, a PGA member since 1986, worked his first 10 years in the business for American Golf-owned facilities in California, during which time he held positions of general manager, head golf professional and director of instruction. It was Anderson’s subsequent golf stint in Hawaii, however, that would eventually drive him down one of life’s doglegs.
Nine months after the devastation of Hurricane Iniki on Kauai, Anderson took over as PGA head professional at Princeville Resort’s Makai Golf Club in 1993. Within months, Anderson had a fateful encounter with Jess Jackson, who modestly introduced himself as a lawyer. Turns out he was also a visionary leader in the wine industry who had founded Kendall-Jackson Vineyard Estates, and a golf addict.
Throughout the following several years, Anderson became Jackson’s personal golf director and the two worked diligently to devise plans for two world- class golf resorts in California. After cultivating a close relationship with the acclaimed vintner, Anderson could not resist the seduction of helping Jackson’s dream come true in the vineyard-covered hills of Sonoma County. So, with Jackson’s invite, Anderson returned to his native turf in 1998, and started blending the golf and wine worlds. The two have since aged into the perfect pairing.
During Anderson’s decade with Jackson Family Wines, he worked as both director of golf and golf concierge and was, thereby, granted extraordinary entrée into the wine culture. With that access in his pocket, Anderson not only popped the cork on his new venture, GolfVino but he succeeded in completing an intense educational pro- gram known as The Court of Master Sommeliers.
Unfortunately, the goal of building Jackson’s planned mountaintop golf resorts fell short, but it didn’t prevent Anderson from capitalizing on the three vital ingredients to the success of a business that he learned from Jackson:
With Anderson’s time spent marketing specific wine brands and entertaining VIP guests of Jackson Family Wines, he was afforded the opportunity to merge his two passions to create elite golf and wine adventures using the world-renowned Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine regions as the backdrop. Now, years later and after just leaving a PGA director of golf position at Braemar Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., Anderson is pursuing his GolfVino Tours and Wine Club full-time.
Some of the tour stops have included such wineries as Freemark Abbey, Cardinale, Stonestreet, Matanzas Creek and Arrowood. And with more than 750 tasting rooms in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, there’s plenty of inventory to complement the world-class golf venues.
With GolfVino’s success, Anderson has now expanded its offerings to other California golf and wine playgrounds, such as Santa Barbara and Monterey, with plans to hit international destinations like Italy, France, New Zealand and Australia within the next couple years.
Whether wearing his golf or sommelier hat, Anderson understands the key to both is quality service. So, for his customers to fully appreciate their swing through wine country, he encourages them to not drink and drive unless on the golf course – and, in that case, to always tee it up responsibly.
ABOUT: Robert Kaufman
Robert Kaufman is an award-winning, internationally published photographer and travel writer whose work fulfilled his childhood dream of a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His founding of Golf Today Magazine (1987) and subsequent six-year reign as Publisher & Editor, was the beginning of his 25 years as a multi-faceted media entrepreneur in the world of golf.