This week, Ira spoke with Alex Gambal, author of Climbing the Vines in Burgundy: How an American Came to Own a Legendary Vineyard in France. In this fermented episode of “Ira’s Everything Bagel,” Alex talks about why he decided to write this book, which is both a family memoir and an accessible, detailed look at the worlds of gastronomy and enology; how he learned “winespeak” very quickly; the “seminal moment” when he sold the business; ego vs. knowledge; and turning the page to a new chapter of his life.
In the late 80s, while working for his family’s real estate and parking business in Washington, DC, Alex received a life-changing case of wine as a gift. It wasn’t just wine that was uncorked, but opportunity. In 1993 he and his family moved to France. Over the next 26 years, after his family relocated to New England, Gambal straddled the Atlantic from Boston to Burgundy while creating Domain Alex Gambal, a boutique winery that included some of France’s greatest vineyards. A hard-nosed-businessman in a community steeped in tradition, Gambal defeated the odds by buying some of the most coveted French vines and creating a successful brand that was eventually sold to one of the largest winemakers in the region.