Interview with Resident Chef ‘MikeC’

Since founding their boutique winery in 2009, the vintner partners and Head Winemaker, Rob Lloyd, of Handwritten Wines have chosen to celebrate the natural synergy of their excellent handcrafted wines with the creation of delicious and varied food pairings.

To this end, Handwritten Wines, a Yountville boutique winery, has participated in and supported many food and wine-related community events.

To further demonstrate Handwritten Wines’ depth of commitment to the culinary arts, the winery has more recently heightened its focus by recruiting a proven and experienced Resident Chef and educator, Chef MikeC.

With this addition to the Handwritten Team, the winery management engages even further in developing the synergies of wine and food with their Members Circle and guests through creation, demonstration, and open discussion.

Recently MikeC was interviewed about his experiences and his new role at Handwritten Wines:

Q: How were you first introduced to Handwritten Wines?

A. I’m a culinary educator by trade and had been teaching cooking classes at a friend’s bed & breakfast in downtown Napa, partnering with different wineries. One night, we were paired with Jessup Cellars (Handwritten’s sister winery), and I was blown away, not only by Rob’s (Lloyd) wines but also by Jessup’s wine educator, Laurel. I thought the combination of these amazing boutique wines and such a wonderful host was just fantastic.

So, after I sold my cooking school business, with the intention of working in Napa Valley wine country, the first winery I decided to contact was Jessup Cellars. We then proceeded to work together at special events, and now here I am, an official employee, as Resident Chef of Jessup Cellars & Handwritten Wines.

Q. What attracted you to Handwritten’s culinary program and how do you see it evolving?

A. I was intrigued by the Bread & Butter Experience, as I’m always interested in learning more about unique wine and food pairing concepts, but what I appreciated most was how the high-end wines were showcased. The food pairings are also amazing, but the whole point, particularly for a Yountville winery, is to highlight the incredible, handcrafted boutique wines at Handwritten.

And that’s exactly how I envision this culinary program evolving – delving into creative new wine and food pairings, each new concept continuing to feature the wines…one appellation, mountain district, terroir, varietal and clone at a time…each expressing itself so distinctly. It’s all about where the wine is from…where it’s grown…it’s all about the unique terroir.

Q. Tell us about what new opportunities you are the most excited about.

I cannot wait to introduce our new in-home cooking classes and wine pairing dinners, a new program designed to take our Wine On Location in-home wine tastings to the next level.

Basically, for our wonderful Handwritten & Jessup Cellars Membership family, folks will have the opportunity to combine our fabulous in-home wine tastings with a hands-on cooking class, where we create an incredible gourmet meal which pairs perfectly with the wine. Participants will get to learn all the tips and tricks that professional chefs apply to cooking but are designed for the home chef looking to take their entertaining to the next level, by curating custom-made wine and food pairings based on your own, personal tastes and favorite dishes.

Teaching is my true passion, so I just cannot wait to share what I’ve learned through the years with the Handwritten member family.

Reserve Your Spot for a Handwritten Wine Tasting and Culinary Experience

Join our winemaking and culinary team at one of Handwritten Wine’s professionally curated wine tasting events. You may choose one of our three educational and enjoyable wine tasting experiences.

Our boutique winery presents a new well-appointed tasting room located in South Yountville’s SOYO and offers three wine tasting opportunities for members and guests:

  • The Classic Experience features five pre-poured wines aligned for comparative tasting. The tasting is paired with white truffle potato chips and cheese/buttery rosettes.
  • The Short Story Experience is a more straightforward tasting experience featuring three of Handwritten’s wines paired with white truffle potato chips.
  • The Bread & Bitter Experience features five of Handwritten’s hillside and Mountain District wines pre-poured for comparative tasting. The accompaniment includes Chef MikeC’s beautifully designed combination of Bouchon Bakery’s baguettes with a specially sourced grouping of three artisan butters, Stagberry Salame, aged Gouda cheese, plus white truffle potato chips.

Guests and members can make their reservations online by visiting the Handwritten Wines website.

Larger groups can also reserve a particular time and place for their exciting and enjoyable winetasting and food experience.