An American in Scotland – and, worse still, in the whisky business? I can imagine you weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms in the Highlands.
Well, you’re wrong. The whisky business in Scotland was in deep crisis 15 years ago. Many companies had been forced to shut down and there was little hope of a quick turnaround for the industry. When I came to Scotland in 2000, people lacked ideas and optimism. They were glad that someone was at least concerned about the fate of their whisky. After all, this was Scotland’s national drink. So they gratefully accepted help even from an American.
In France, many American investors learned the hard way – through trial and error – and went home with empty pockets after a failed investment.
Sure. But you’re talking about winemaking, where everything is very different – especially in France. I started out in wine, so I know the scene.
I didn’t realize you had a background in wine. What did you do?
I set out to learn winemaking. Initially I worked at Bruno Clair in Burgundy.