In 1971 at the age of 21, Michael made the jump from enthusiastic amateur to semi-impoverished professional in the wine business, eschewing the corporate life in favor of a total dedication to liquid assets. In 1974, he and his brother made their first barrel of zinfandel when they realized that as wine became more popular, they could no longer afford to drink either the quality or the quantity that they desired. This modest start has now taken over the basement and garage of the family home in Napa, where the winemaking has continued uninterrupted since its inception. Throughout this period, Michael found the time to work 18 years at Domaine Chandon and was assistant winemaker at Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma. After getting his degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, he spent 2½ years in grower relations for Nova Vine Grapevine Nursery. However, the dark side drew him back, and he has been involved with winemaking ever since. In addition to working in Napa, Michael has also worked in wineries in Burgundy and the Hunter Valley, Australia. He is currently the point person in the field for the fermentation division of Scott Laboratories.