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Welcoming Vince Simmon to Wine Review Online
By Michael Franz
Mar 2, 2022
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Along with my colleagues at Wine Review Online, I’m delighted to welcome Vince Simmon to our ranks.  He’s starting up this week with a set of reviews, and you’ll find his recommendations virtually every Wednesday going forward on the WRO “Reviews” page.

I’ve enjoyed tasting with Vince many times over the past 4+ years, mostly through Capital Wine School.  I was struck almost immediately by the intensity with which he encounters wines as he tastes them, and also by the flood of impressions he’s able to offer in reaction to them, based on his sharp palate and broad inventory of tasting experience.  It was impossible not to notice that he seemed to be committing these impressions to writing while we were tasting, entering characters at top speed on his mobile device.  But then, he could just as easily have been sending texts to friends about the shortcomings of the dimwit who was leading the tastings, so I didn’t make too much of that.  

Until, that is, I learned that he was on his way to posting more than 11,000 reviews on Vivino—which was all I needed to know…to try to recruit him.

Vince has been studying wine one way or another for years, beginning with bottles brought back from the Rhône by his father, whose job involved a lot of time in Geneva.  After his undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University, he lived in both Italy and Portugal, and you can guess what he was enjoying with his dinners over those stretches.  

He’s also traveled extensively (and vinously) in France, including in Bordeaux, Champagne, Beaujolais, and both the northern and southern Rhône.  California too—in many different regions, plus Oregon as well as Washington, where he lived for a stretch in Seattle and came to know many of that state’s winemakers.  He’s also done a good bit of tasting in the eastern USA, particularly in the Finger Lakes and Virginia.  His education included an MBA in Environmental Policy from Maryhurst University, and on the wine side, he’s earned certification at Level 3 from WSET—and in short order.

WRO readers will learn that Vince is keenly interested in the world’s greatest wines, but every bit as intent on ferreting out the world’s best values.  To paraphrase something he mentioned to me, he’s especially intent on finding wines that punch above their weight in price, and takes just as much pleasure in finding an over-achieving Portuguese white for $20 as in tasting a Burgundy with a triple-digit price tag.

Sounds like he’ll fit right in here on WRO.  Vince is very talented and very hard-working, but with an excellent sense of humor and no sense of self-importance.  Look for reviews over his by-line to learn if your taste aligns with his regarding wines you know yourself, and then follow his lead to new ones he’ll be scouting out for you — and for all of us!