In many ways, my story begins with Clarice. Clarice was my grandmother and my best friend growing up. She let me eat all the Charms out of the Lucky Charms and none of the cereal, she’s shoot baskets with me on the driveway, and she and I would sit on her swing and watch the planes go overhead, imagining that we were on one heading off to some far-flung destination. As far as I know, Clarice never actually left Texas, but she taught me many invaluable lessons about life – and ultimately about winemaking – that I still use today.

I grew up in Austin, Texas as the only adopted child of two Southern Baptist parents, Vera (Clarice’s daughter) and Howard Lee. This certainly wasn’t a quick path to a winemaking career. I attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and studied French history, specializing in the comparative history of the French and American prison systems. That, also didn’t lead to winemaking, but a summer trip, with a fellow student, to Sonoma County peaked my interest in wine, and that spark lit a huge fire.

After college, I took a job at a wine store called Austin Wine & Spirits. I moved up quickly, eventually becoming President of the three-store chain. I also worked briefly on the floor of a restaurant selling wine and in wine wholesale, but wasn’t particularly good at either – at least not compared to retail.

Eventually, I took at job selling wine for Neiman Marcus Department stores in Dallas, Texas. There I met Dianna Novy, and we moved out to California in 1993 with the idea of producing wine. With $24,000 we started making Pinot Noir in 1994 from a tiny vineyard in Anderson Valley. After learning that Robert Parker was in Napa, and after enjoying a few glasses of wine, we took a barrel sample of our wine to Meadowood and left it for the esteemed wine writer. As fortune would have it, Parker loved the wine, rating it as one of the Top 10 Pinot Noirs produced in California that year. Siduri Wines was born with these 107 cases.

Over the next two decades, Siduri Wines grew to over 30,000 cases, producing Pinot Noir from Oregon to Santa Barbara County. The wines were universally acclaimed, and I became known as one of California’s experts in the production of Pinot Noir. In 2015, we sold Siduri Wines to Jackson Family Winery with Adam continuing as a consultant for several years.

In 2017, I started Clarice Wine Company; named after my grandmother and produced in a manner similar to her way of cooking. Clarice Wine Company quickly became a critical darling receiving remarkable press from Jed Dunnuck, Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, the Wine Enthusiast, and the Washington Post. The wines are made with larger amounts of whole clusters, picked at slightly lower potential alcohols, and without any additions other than sulfur. Production is tiny, and the wine is sold primarily through a unique wine club, unlike any other in the world of wine.

With the 2019 vintage, I teamed up with famed French winemaker and Grenache specialist, Philippe Cambie. We started Beau Marchais Winery, producing Philippe’s first ever Pinot Noir. These wines received remarkable acclaim. Unfortunately, Philippe passed away in December 2021 and that project ended after those three vintages.

I also produce Pinot Noir (and other wines) for a number of outstanding wineries. You can find a list of my consulting clients elsewhere on this website. I love helping clients produce outstanding Pinot Noir and am always available to help with certain outside projects, promoting the cause of wine drinking. I have three wonderful children – Christian, Amber and Truett – and a fantastic fiancé. I’d guess these are the few things that I love more than great Pinot Noir.