Why Wine? An Interview with Michael Claypool of Clay Pigeon Winery & Cyril’s
Michele Francisco: Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Michael Claypool: When I started in wine it was at a shop, and then as a sommelier, but there was one wine, Schneider Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2001 from North Fork Long Island that amazed me. And I got to know the winemaker and visit his operation, it struck me I could make wine too. He was not much older than I was, started by buying grapes, had a second career. It really locked in my desire to make wine.
MF: What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
MC: I studied theatre and performance studies at Northwestern. I worked (and still do) in digital strategy and design.
MF: How has being in the wine industry changed you?
MC: I think it has given me a lens (and purpose) when out in the world. When I travel I often think about what they might grow, the history of place and how wine was a part of it and seeking out producers to visit and taste.
MF: What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
MC: The community. Getting to know producers, buyers, sellers and lovers of this product is amazing.
MF: Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
MC: I think having had a career that is largely digital, and thus ephemeral, gave me a desire to make something tangible and “real”. I think this is something many are struggling with and seeking, and I think it is a big reason for the rise of the craft culture. There is a strong desire to see, hold, share in physical space our passion and not just clicks on a screen.
Read more about the restaurant that Michael and his wife, Sasha Davies, run in Portland:www.Cyrilspdx.com