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June 11, 2020 | Wine News

Get to know the NINER Team

After a long few months with our doors closed, we are so excited to welcome guests back to our estate! Our team has been hard at work creating new experiences and preparing to welcome you through our doors safely. You'll see all of the same familiar faces in the tasting room, but for the time being our staff will be wearing masks in an effort to keep everyone safe.

We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give you a closer look at the people behind the masks, so we put a few of our team members on the spot with some fun questions. Read on to learn about their favorite food and wine pairings, new quarantine hobbies and more!

Larissa Knight

Larissa Knight, Tasting Room Associate, has been with Niner since January 2020

1. What is your favorite Niner wine & food pairing?
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (the magnums we have right now!) paired with steak, asparagus and roasted potatoes. 

2. What is your favorite season in the vineyard and why?
I have only been here for winter and spring (I moved here in January). So far, spring is my favorite because it is green and beautiful.

3. What varietal or wine would you pick to describe yourself and why?
Champagne, because I am bright and bubbly with a dry sense of humor!

4. What new hobbies did you pick up during quarantine?
Trail Running.

5. What is your most unique talent or skill?
Painting. I love abstract art and using acrylics.
 

Emily Key

Emily key, restaurant manager, has been with niner since 2018

1. What is your favorite Niner wine & food pairing?
2019 Albariño with a spring vegetable and shrimp risotto.

2. What is your favorite season in the vineyard and why?
Right now! (late spring) The vines are a gorgeous, vibrant green.

3. What varietal or wine would you pick to describe yourself and why?
Albariño, the salinity reminds me of the ocean, and I am a scuba diver so I love that!

4. What is the best meal you have cooked for yourself during quarantine?
Street cart chicken with turmeric rice and yogurt flatbreads! And salad from Niner’s garden!

5. What new hobbies did you pick up during quarantine?
Baking sourdough bread and pickling vegetables.
 

Eric colvard

Eric Colvard, tasting room associate, has been with niner since 2019

1. What is your favorite Niner wine & food pairing?
2016 Reserve Cuvée Brut Nature and Fried Chicken.

2. What is your favorite season in the vineyard and why?
Fall, because we are one step closer to the next vintage.

3. What varietal or wine would you pick to describe yourself and why?
Carménère because it is unique, bold and spicy.

4. What is the best meal you have cooked for yourself during quarantine?
Going mostly vegetarian and learning how to cook like that was fun. Tofu ricotta for a veggie lasagna has to be the best right now.

5. What new hobbies did you pick up during quarantine?
Astrophotography, because I love being outside already.
 

Teresa josserand

Teresa josserand, tasting room manager, has been with niner since 2010

1. What is your favorite Niner wine & food pairing?
Chardonnay and homemade pesto pasta.

2. What is your favorite season in the vineyard and why?
Spring, I love when the vineyard is luscious and green, it is so beautiful driving into work!

3. What varietal or wine would you pick to describe yourself and why?
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, because they both go well with everything (and are my personal favorites)!

4. What new hobbies did you pick up during quarantine?
Baking lots of bread. Ian in our kitchen at Niner has been giving me plenty of instruction!

5. What is your most unique talent or skill?
Gardening. Right now I am growing basil (for homemade pesto!) every herb you can think of, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers!
 

Damon Miele

Damon Miele, Hospitality Director, has been with niner since 2017

1. What is your favorite Niner wine & food pairing?
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon and steak on the grill or the 2018 Pinot Noir with grilled salmon.

2. What is your favorite season in the vineyard and why?
Fall. I love the vibrant colors in the vineyard. The weather cools off slightly and we have a gorgeous Indian summer. It's a beautiful time of the year on the Central Coast.

3. What is the best meal you have cooked for yourself during quarantine?
Picanha steak on the Traeger. It's a Brazillian cut that looks like a large tri-tip with a generous fat cap. I cut and lightly seasoned with salt prior to air-drying in the fridge for 5 hours, then I seared them on the grill before they went on the Traeger. They were like butter.

4. What new hobbies did you pick up during quarantine?
Biking with my son Gannon. He’s 5, and shreds on his bike already. He leads the way around Dinosaur Park in Shell Beach and I follow along. 

5. What is your most unique talent or skill?
My willingness to change and try new things. From a wine perspective, I made a concerted effort to explore and drink more white wine since I’m really a Pinot lover at heart. And, to my surprise, I've become really fond of so many new varietals and styles that I may not have explored prior like a sweet Spatlese Riesling or Gewurztraminer. 
 

kyle burns

Kyle Burns, tasting room associate, has been with niner since 2019

1. What is your favorite Niner wine & food pairing?
2017 Sangiovese and Beef Bolognese.

2. What is your favorite season in the vineyard and why?
Fall, right before harvest, The grapes are just about ready to be harvested and the vines are full and colorful.

3. What varietal or wine would you pick to describe yourself and why?
Albariño, because it is fun and tropical.

4. What is the best meal you have cooked for yourself during quarantine?
Home-cooked Chik-fil-A on a Sunday!

5. What new hobbies did you pick up during quarantine?
I bought a house, so lots of house projects.

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