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Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives, and Great Wines

Photo: Courtesy of The Food Network

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri has made a career out of sharing his love of food with the world. Recently, he made a foray into the wine industry with his Hunt & Ryde Winery. We talked to Fieri about what inspired this venture and what wine means to him.

How have you parlayed your love for food into a career in the wine industry?

Food and wine go hand-in-hand, and when you live in a place like Sonoma County, you’re lucky enough to learn that the connection between the Earth and what you put into your pan or bottle is all important. Cooking is an expression of that connection and that’s translated into making these wines.

What’s one summer cookout dish that pairs well with a refreshing glass of wine?

Ha, no way can I narrow that down! Give me some killer Russian river pinot with a wood-fired pork belly pizza, or, if we really want to get down, a reverse seared ribeye with my Bordeaux blend, Trophy.

Many of the wineries in California are family-owned and operated. What steps have you taken to get your family involved in the business?

Everything I do at this point in my career is about my family, and Hunt & Ryde is no different. The wines are named after my sons, Hunter and Ryder, so they are kind of baked into it from the get-go. Ryder’s a bit young to be involved at this point but Hunter is about to graduate from UNLV with a degree in hospitality management, so he’s right there with me on this journey.

Who’s your favorite person you’ve shared a glass of wine with — aside from family?

Well, I know you don’t want family, but here’s an interesting take on that. A few years ago, I hired a detective to track down unknown branches of my family in Italy and I took my dad over there to meet them all. To be able to sit down with these people and introduce ourselves, break bread, and share a glass was truly amazing.  

What’s the one food item that should be on every reader’s charcuterie/serving board this summer?

This may not be the answer you’re looking for but I think it’s important. Give me something with some acid on the board. Pickled red onions. Cornichons. Piquillo peppers. You need that acid to cut the fat of the pork, cheese, whatever, and I find people get so caught up in meats that they forget the accompaniments.

Which do you prefer: long-stem or stemless wine glasses?  

Yes.

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