John Ruch worked in the music industry, selling and marketing record labels in the genre of blues, jazz, rock, reggae and more, before fate inspired him to seek a second career in the Napa Valley. Always having an interest in wine and a love for wine country, it was serendipitous when his music job moved him across the country from Boston to Northern California in the mid-1990s. After the retail music business came to a grinding halt in 2001, John took it as a sign to try his hand in wine. Twenty years later, John is grateful for making the switch to wine, but still keeps his passion for music alive as the lead guitarist for local Americana band, the Juliane Band.
1. What is/are your favorite Frank Family wine(s)?
It is impossible to pick just one, but Winston Hill and Lady Edythe are my all-time favorites. Both wines are so polished and elegant. The Lady Edythe displays so many layers and nuances with balance between fruit and toasty notes, wonderful acidity, texture, and effervescence. I am fascinated by the entire winemaking process and especially method champenoise sparkling wines. The Winston Hill is simply great every vintage. It’s elegant and balanced with a remarkable thread of consistency of style from vintage to vintage. The wine truly speaks of the unique vineyard we know as Winston Hill.
2. What are some similarities you have noticed between the music and wine industries?
In both fields, consumers tend to make their purchase decisions based on similar criteria: word of mouth, reviews, heard a song on the radio/tasted a wine at a restaurant. Everyone has their favorite wines or bands, but people also get curious about new grape varieties or music genres.
3. What is your favorite memory from working at Frank Family?
It’s easily the winery’s 25th Anniversary Party back in 2018. It was a blast – people had a great time and it was fun sharing some of the older wines. I was taken aback by just how much people loved being part of the Frank Family. I also recall the 2006 Winton Hill Cabernet Blend out of magnums was fabulous.
4. Tell us about your path to Frank Family.
I began my wine career at Sterling Vineyards 20 years ago. While working in their tasting room, I met two future Frank Family employees who later encouraged me to join the team. That was six years ago, and I’ve been here ever since. Now I enjoy spending my days sharing some of the fascinating history of the Frank Family property and Rich and Leslie Frank’s unique story of their personal journey in the wine industry.w
5. What is your favorite part about working for Frank Family?
Aside from ALL the wines in the portfolio being fabulous (something I have not encountered at any of the other wineries I’ve worked for), the folks I work with are terrific. It’s a real family atmosphere where we all work together to ensure our guests have a great experience and want to come back.
6. Can you offer any tips for anyone who wants to learn more about wine?
Get one good book. The World Atlas of Wine edited by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is a great overview of wine based on growing regions. Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible is good too. Find a good wine retailer that does regular tastings. Start a tasting group with friends. Drink wine for everyday happiness. Lastly, join a wine club to experience and learn about a winery’s house style across different varietals.