A question I often get is how I find the amazing new stuff. Apart from the obvious tasks of tasting and keeping up with trends through media, there is another area I keep my attention too. Quality is not something that happens by mistake. Quality over time is directly tied to individuals with exacting standards who live to do great things. We can rarely rely on a corporation or business entity to give us the same level of goods year in and year out, but we can rely on the right people. When I love a wine, I am often more intrigued by the winemaker and vineyard manager than the name on the bottle. Of course, there are those vanguard estates that will settle for nothing other than the best. But, let’s face it. They are a dying breed. I am often discovering the next big thing before they blow up ratings for the Wine Advocate or Wine Spectator (or sometimes after because somehow nobody seems to have noticed) because I pay attention to the names behind the project. And, I am not talking about the famous consultants out there who make great wine. I am talking about the small guys who made excellent wine for one of the greats and then used that knowledge to apply to a different region, grape variety, or winery. Just look to who was the recent apprentice at such an such best fill in the blank. That’s whose career I wish to follow. One example is Sean Capiaux who worked for Peter Michael and is still making some of the best wine in California under is own label (Capiaux) and O’Shaughnessy Winery. Another would be Maggie Harrison, who left the tutelage of Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non to start one of the most exciting wineries in Oregon; Antica Terra. You may not of heard of these wines, but this is one of my secrets for discovering the next big thing. If you haven’t heard of them yet you certainly will in time if you follow collectible wines.