A love of wine drove this Chicago native to relocate to the West Coast, then seek out the finest grapes in Europe and South America.
Some of my earliest travel experiences (without parents leading the way) were with my high school friend Mark. Many long hours were spent together in our cheap little cars, driving to places like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Ohio State Fair, and even a tiny farm town in Southern Indiana that seemed like it was from another planet to our naive eyes.
We got out of there unscathed, thankfully avoiding any "My Cousin Vinnie" type incarceration.
As we grew older, Mark and I went our separate ways. But eventually we both ended up in California -- me in Hollywood pursuing the dream, and he in the Napa Valley pursuing his love of wine. Mark founded a wine marketing business, and he and his wife took numerous trips to the vineyards of Italy, France, and Chile.
They built entire vacations around drinking some the finest wines of the world -- sounds good to us!