An Interview with Ideal 55 Wine Lockers' client Jason Milner

By Matthew Goldfarb, Owner
The Cellar Manager
A Wine Advisory Co., LLC

Ideal 55 Wine Lockers’ client Jason Milner leads a hectic life, touring the globe with one of the music industry’s biggest stars. On the road for nearly 45 weeks a year, I got a chance to catch up with the globe trotter while he was traversing Europe for his client’s new tour.

Matthew: When did you first catch the wine bug?

Jason: “I was living in Birmingham, AL, enjoying the food scene, and my palate began to develop. My first interest in wine was in…1998. Before that it was mainly beer and some Port. This is when I began my transition into a collector.”

Matthew: Do you remember the first bottle of wine that inspired you to collect?

Jason: “It was a Rhone, but I can’t remember the title. Anyway, the dollar was strong back then and before I had the means to purchase expensive collectible wine, I bought Australian and Chilean wines. My first big purchase was a bottle of 1996 Penfolds Grange. In 2001, I drove to Birmingham and drank the bottle with some friends at a delicious meal. It was a tremendous wine.”

Matthew: How many bottles are in your collection?

Jason: “I have about 220 bottles in my collection, but I’m looking to drink my drinkable wines and hone my collection.”

Matthew: Do you have a buying strategy?

Jason: “I don’t have a formal buying strategy yet, but I’m beginning to formulate one. I have some Italian, French, CA cult wines, Australian, and New Zealand wines…it’s currently all over the place. About 200 of my bottles are collectible. I’d like to get into the Bordeaux futures market. I see the strategy developing as:
1.    Buy interesting wines
2.    Buy and sell wine as an investment
The worst that can happen is I get stuck with lots of really good wine.”

Matthew: How do you effectively keep track of your inventory?

Jason: “I use CellarTracker. It’s the only way I can keep it organized while I make purchases during my travels.”

Matthew: Do you have a specific purchase you most proud of?

Jason: “A magnum of 1977 Dow’s Vintage Port. I held it for a long time and when Alabama played in the Rose Bowl, I opened it with a group of good friends. It’s the longest I’ve held a really special bottle.

I was also given a bottle of Penfolds Grange on my 40th birthday from Peter Gago, of Penfolds. He’s a friend of mine and I knew that the bottle had only had one owner. I’m really proud of that one.”

Matthew: What’s your favorite wine pairing?

Jason: “Port and chocolate. Like a molten chocolate cake with a 20 year old tawny.
I also love Sauternes and foie gras. My favorite pairing so far has been a 1959 Chateau Caillou “Crème de Tete” with foie gras from Le Comptoir du Terroir in Paris.”

Matthew: Anything else you’d like to share about your collection or wine in general?

Jason: “I see, I buy, and I figure out as I go. My collection is an education in itself.”