Name and position: Mike Cook, Director of Sales
1. What do you do at Lieb Cellars? I’m the Director of Sales, so I work with our wholesale partners in our different markets (NY, NJ, CT, PA, MA, RI) as well as selling our wines to local accounts in NY…I spend a lot of time in my car traveling the northeast with Lieb wines as my co-pilot.
2. How did you come to work in the wine industry? For anyone in the industry—you ever notice that there are a lot of musicians in our business? Well I’m one of those…I was an aspiring musician and have played the drums since I was a kid. I worked retail jobs to help pay the NY rent while playing in a number of different bands in NYC. When I got tired of working in drum shops and getting my ears blown out day after day, I went to work in a wine shop in the UWS—starting at the bottom and working my way up. As time went on I found that I was fascinated with wine and was motivated to learn all I could. Eventually I found that my opportunities in wine were more interesting & attractive than what was happening with music, so I followed the wine path & eventually found a great opportunity at Lieb Cellars.
3. What’s your favorite part about working at LC? My favorite part about working for Lieb Cellars is that I believe in our winemaker & our team. I’m a certifiable wine geek and am truly concerned with quality above all else—in all areas of my life. I’m truthfully impressed with our wines every time that I show them & find that most of the tasters and buyers out there are equally impressed. I love the days when I’m traveling in our different markets throughout the northeast and get to be the spokes-person for the North Fork of LI for the day—educating folks on the fact that only 80 miles east of NYC there is an idyllic and remarkably beautiful, thriving farming community and wine making region—not what most people think of when they think of LI. I also really love the days when I go out to the winery from Brooklyn, as I get the visual reminder of how absolutely beautiful it is in the North Fork—and that this is where I get to work!
4. What are your favorite Lieb and non-Lieb wines? My favorite Lieb wines are our Sparkling wines—both Blanc de Blancs and Rosé—I’m a sucker for good bubbles and ours will impress even the most discerning of palettes! The 2013 Reserve Cab Franc has also been tasting really good as of late. I’m also always a big fan of our Bridge Lane Chardonnay. Chardonnay can be a polarizing grape in many cases and Bridge Lane Chard is one that we can all agree on…even the non- Chardonnay drinkers like this wine, much to their surprise!
If I’m not drinking Lieb wines, it’s likely a “fruit day” or a “flower day” and I’m drinking some obscure and geeky natural wine—usually French or Italian. In general, I like cold climate wines…I like red wines I can see through and white wines that are cloudy. I just received my allocation from my favorite California winemaker and friend, Hardy Wallace of Dirty and Rowdy wines—NOT your typical (boring) California fruit bombs!
5. If someone gave you $100 and the day off, how would you spend it? My answer here would likely change on any given day, but there are a few scenarios that come to mind. A beautiful late fall day like today, I’ll take that $100 and go play golf! Gotta squeeze those last few rounds in before the cold comes…Once the snow comes I’ll go skiing. And if I’m kicking around the neighborhood I’ll either blow the $100 at the record store (yes, records still exist and they still sound the best) or at my favorite local wine shop.