Choosing the Perfect Wine (it's not about the flavor) from "Hand of God Wines" Founder Jon Staenberg

John Staenberg, Founder of Hand of God Wines

John Staenberg, Founder of Hand of God Wines

When you're a venture capitalist and founder of a winery, it's pretty much a sure bet that you're knowledgeable about the best restaurants, the best libations, and the best hidden culinary treasures in the city.

We caught up with Jon Staenberg, Founder of Hand of God Wines, at a private dinner party at South Lake Union's first Tasting Room, TheVUDE. Also as a member of Seattle Foodies on Facebook, Jon shares his thoughts on choosing the perfect wine for dinner parties, his favorite Seattle spots and a little bit about how Hand of God Wines came to be!

How To Find The Perfect Wine For Yourself:

"Wine requires a lot of practice because you need to know the various regions and grape varieties. But a little work pays off handsomely, and we live in an amazing place to learn. Visit the tasting rooms and wineries and take a note or two when you find wine you like. For example, this month taste a variety of Washington Syrahs. Next month taste Cabs, next Oregon Pinots. It takes practice but it's fun!"

Wine Price Points:

"Price points can be intimidating but sometimes price makes no difference with the quality you get. While you're out tasting wines, take some time to taste all price points of a wine. So let's say this month you're tasting Washington Syrahs... Taste the lower price, middle, and high-end and remember to take notes. When you're tasting the Oregon Pinots, do the same."

Tasting wine is a lifelong learning but wow what a learning!
— Jon Staenberg, Hand of God Wines

On Choosing Wine As A Gift For Someone:

"Being thoughtful is not about the flavor."

I love Jon's viewpoint on this and found it totally refreshing. It's honestly the very first time I've heard someone offer this type of advice vs. the typical, "You must choose this type of wine for fish and this type of wine for steak, this type of wine for summer and this type for winter."


The Best Seattle Patio:

"Westward is hard to beat. Looking back at the city with that amazing view, plus there's a great chef. It's tough to beat that one." 

Favorite Seattle Spot with Exceptional Treats:

"Le Caviste. It's a beautiful, French, quaint wine bar. Ask for the steak tartare… It's very authentic." 

(I agree on Le Caviste... It's a fantastic experience. Here are a few photos from my most recent outing with Wine Blogger Jameson Fink. More on that later!)

How Could the Seattle Food Scene Improve?

"I wish we took more chances. I feel like Portland is a smaller city but the food scene shows more diversity and risk-taking. We have so many amazing purveyors and the quality of our foods is some of the best in the world, but I would like to see a broader range. But that also means customers have to be willing to expand their trial too. In the end it has to be a mutually supportive environment.

Of course, I think one of the best ways for this is pop ups and we are very open to hosting them!"

On Founding Hand of God Wines:

"It was a risk, but we’re thrilled it’s so good. If you trust your winemaker and trust the land, in the end it’s amazing. It’s fun to show the world varieties from unexpected places."

Find out more about Hand of God Wines by clicking here.

Thank you Jon for sharing your story with us as well as your thoughts on wine and the Seattle food scene!

August 16, 2015 Addition: How could I forget?! The name of Jon's wine is very interesting.... If you're a real football (ahem, soccer) fan, you'll know what it's in reference to without clicking on this link here...