September 19, 2004

In Vino Veritas

His name is Dieter Schafer and he's as close as you can find, out here in Seattle, to a wine guru. Best part: he's not the least bit pretentious. Not even a business card.

Oh, sure, he wore his Ordre Mondial regalia to the Seattle Beaujolais Nouveau Festival a couple of years ago, but only because he was named the event's Vigneron d'Honneur. He's in shirtsleeves at the Pike Place Market's Tasting Room, guiding visitors through flights of seven new Washington wines every Monday afternoon.

Dieter at BN 02.jpg Dieter 2.jpg

And that's not all. He teaches a series of wine appreciation classes at South Seattle Community College and another at the Seattle Art Institute. He visits his old pal HansPeter Aebersold regularly to put on fine-dining and etiquette seminars at Geneva Restaurant. It takes a web site just to keep up with him!

Amazingly, Dieter claims to be retired. At least, that's what he told me when we first crossed paths some years ago. Retired from a career in hotel dining rooms around the world, retired from a stint as maitre d' at The Rainier Club and just helping out as sommelier at Mistral. Retired? Nope! Like a fine wine, he's just coming into his prime.

And hey -- if you ask him nicely -- he might even come to your house and pour wine for your guests. So ask him, already!

Posted by Ronald Holden at September 19, 2004 11:40 AM