Island man builds business out of wine grapevine

"If you want to know more about wine, here's the guy to call"

  • Friday, October 29, 1999 5:00pm
  • News

“Knowledge is not only power. It’s money. Admiral’s Cove resident Robert Moliter hopes it is, anyway. Although he doesn’t call himself an expert, Moliter has an impressive knowledge about wine and all things concerned with wine. In order to share his knowledge and made a few bucks, he’s starting home-based wine consulting business he calls “The Wine Educator.”For a negotiable fee, local people with an interest in learning more about wines can hire Moliter to come over to their house for a small gathering, where he will spend a couple hours talking about wine topics of choice.Or, Moliter said he can hold small gatherings in his private wine cellar — surrounded by over 700 bottles of wine from all over the world — to discuss, and of course drink, wine.“We can talk about wine, grapes, food, corks, anything you want to talk about,” he said.Food is one of the most important wine topics. He said many wines were created to compliment certain foods, and vice versa. “I’ll give someone a glass of Chardonnay and they might not like it,” he said. “But if I first give them a couple of shrimp with butter and garlic, suddenly they love it.”Accordingly, he has an agreement with a chef in Port Townsend to make hors d’oeuvrs for the wine parties, if the clients want them.His business, Moliter said, is targeted at clubs, groups and especially young people who enjoy wine but want to know more without spending lots of money. He said he got the idea for his business at a wedding in which people asked the bartender about the wines, but the bartender “didn’t have a clue.”“It suddenly dawned on me that people are interested in learning about wine,” he said.It’s never too late to learn. Moliter, a retired Auburn teacher, didn’t start his wine hobby until just four years ago. In fact, he said his earliest wine experiences were with such brands as Thunderbird, which are more for drinking than tasting.He said his interest was really piqued about four years ago when he started working at the Greenbank Loganberry Farm — serving for the wine tasting bar — and at Ste. Michelle winery on the mainland. He started talking to wine makers, reading about wines and collecting wines.He’s traveled to wineries all over the West Coast, especially California, and in Europe, where he visited some of the famous wine-making areas of France.He said one of the most surprising things he’s found is that Washington produces some of the finest Merlots in the world. “Nobody believes me until I prove it to them,” he said.Anyone interest in learning more about Washington Merlots, other wines or wine topics can contact Moliter at 678-4005.”

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