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Why Wine? An interview with Michael Claypool of Clay Pigeon Winery

When asked how being in the wine industry has changed him, Michael said it has given him a lens (and purpose) when out in the world. When he travels he often thinks about what they might grow, the history of place and how wine was a part of it.
When asked how being in the wine industry has changed him, Michael said it has given him a lens (and purpose) when out in the world. When he travels he often thinks about what they might grow, the history of place and how wine was a part of it.
Leela Cyd

This is part of a series introducing you to interesting people in the wine industry. For many, the journey into wine is not only intriguing but often quite an adventure. These talented individuals are what make the wine industry what it is today so follow this series to meet this group of passionate people who have dedicated their lives to wine.

Why Wine?


An Interview with Michael Claypool of Clay Pigeon Winery & Cyril's

Examiner: 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.

What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?

I studied theatre and performance studies at Northwestern. I worked (and still do) in digital strategy and design.

How has being in the wine industry changed you?

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.

What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?

The community. Getting to know producers, buyers, sellers and lovers of this product is amazing.

Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?

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.

Please read more about Michael Claypool's wine production by visiting the Clay Pigeon Winery website: www.Claypigeonwinery.com

Read more about the restaurant that Michael and his wife, Sasha Davies, run in Portland: www.Cyrilspdx.com

Cyril's and Clay Pigeon Winery are celebrating the summer solstice and the release of Clay Pigeon Winery’s 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with a party on their charming patio.

Date: Sunday, June 22nd from 2- 6pm

The Goods: Porchetta & Pinot on the patio - includes a slice of Porchetta, a refreshing side salad from the Cyril's kitchen, and a tasting of three Clay Pigeon wines including the 2013 Rosé, the 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and a barrel sample of the 2012 Syrah. Vegetarians are encouraged to attend. Yes, they will be roasting a pig, however, they will have a delicious alternative, accompanied by a wonderful side salad and the same wine tasting experience.

How does the General Public sign up?: It’s not necessary, they can just show up. Or, just call 503-206-7862 or email info@cyrilspdx.com.

Cost: $20 per person.

*What is Porchetta? Porchetta is an Italian specialty. It's a pretty word for a pig that is boned out, stuffed with herbs and sausage, rolled, and slow roasted over hot coals.