Around the World Site
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Philosophy and Ramblings
Books by Stephen Reiss
Stephen Reiss, Ph.D.
Welcome to my personal website. Here you may learn a little more about who I am, what I have done, and my points of view.
The easy answer is that I am a wine guy that knows how to cook with a technical background that includes computers. I lived in Aspen, Colorado for 30 years, and as I write this I am currently touring the world with Jan my wife of 27 years, and we have no actual home to go back to. The future remains to be written.
I am a second generation computer professional who discovered food and wine relatively early in my life. Living in Aspen you either work in the ski, or the hospitality industries. After a stint as a ski mechanic and boot fitter I was drawn into restaurants.
It was here that my life changing epiphany would come. When I was apprenticing to be a chef I worked in a restaurant where we would blind taste the left over bottles of wine each night, and try to guess what they were. That fateful evening I blurted out that we were sampling a 1964 Chateau Margaux.
The wait staff was astonished, I had guessed correctly. They asked how I could possibly have known and I replied that I simply remembered tasting it a month earlier, thinking that this would appease them.
It actually had the opposite effect. They were further flabbergasted to learn that I could remember a taste from a month ago. For me it was a revelation to learn that others could not.
And so my path turned towards wine. The twisting and winding road I took led me through tasting competitions and studying for the Master of Wine program (which I did not pass, solely based on my handwriting, I was told) and eventually to sharing what I had learned with others.
My wine newsletter, web site and blog gave me vehicles to reach out, but it was my wine school that really made a difference in how I would come to communicate about wine.
As a wine steward I had learned tricks to help me sell wine, but I was less concerned with communicating than I was with manipulating, as any salesman would be.
As a teacher I wanted to find a way to describe the subjective quality of wine. A task that was made more difficult by the prevailing literature. Most people write about wine with a great deal of poetry, evoking a myriad number of tastes that I, much less the casual observer, rarely seem to be able to identify with.
My hard science approach to life led me to experiment with a more universal language and thus was born my style of talking about wine that for many has been key to their understanding of a complex subject.
My father always said that if you understand something you should be able to explain it to a four year old. Ok, maybe not 4 but certainly a neophyte; and this above all else has been my driving force in wine.
I never lost my love for cooking. My skill set is respectable, if not a bit limited, and I can say the same for computers.
I am a dyed in the wool Macintosh user and have taught many others to enjoy the simple to achieve productivity that working with a Mac lends itself to. I have published more than written many programs over the year, and I am just now launching on a new era of software publishing for the iPhone.
While I hate to admit it I am now in the last trimester of my life, and it is time to do something with all that I have learned so far. What that will be remains to be seen, but you can be certain that I am not planning on resting on my laurels.