Category Archives: The People of PlumpJack

People of PlumpJack: 20 Questions with Jason Schulz

From the daily management of the wine list to wine trainings and seminars, the responsibilities of PlumpJack Cafe’s Wine Director, Jason Schulz, are endless. With ski season just around the corner, we sat down with Schulz, at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, and played 20 questions.
Jason Schulz_Food and Beverage Manager_PlumpJack Squaw Valley
What was your dream job growing up?
I wanted to be an Architect/Mechanical Engineer. I always loved designing multiple types of houses, something I still enjoy today.

Do you have a personal philosophy?
“Do as you will, but harm none.” It’s an ancient motto that we could all live by today.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled?
Ollantaytambo, Peru!

 

Favorite hotel/restaurant there?
Pescados Capitales in Lima, Peru has THE best grilled octopus I’ve ever had.
ticr_890_370First thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Brew a fresh pot of coffee. It’s an impressive habit that makes me human again.

When not working, what do you love to do?
Ski, Hike, Golf, Kayak, Camp

What’s your current favorite song?
Pets by Deadmou5 right now. Disco Science by Mirwais, as well.

How did you get involved with PlumpJack?
I wanted to work at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn since I first visited Tahoe in 1997. When I moved up to Tahoe from San Francisco in 2011, I pursued it immediately. When the position became available, I interviewed… and here I am!

PlumpJack_Squaw Valley InnTell us about your journey as PlumpJack Cafe’s Wine Director.
I attained a wealth of knowledge through some of the best Wine Directors and Master Sommeliers (and aspiring M.S.s) in San Francisco, in addition to working for a wine distributor for a few years. Wine has always been a passion of mine. As the need for a Wine Director at the Cafe became apparent, it was a logical choice to have someone with a multitude of experiences from both the buying and the selling sides of the wine business to lead us and to continue the legacy of world class offerings that PlumpJack has become synonymous with.

How did you become interested in wine?
I’ve literally grown up in the restaurant industry where wine was always around. Since I was 13, working in an Italian restaurant that a family-friend owned, wine and food have always gone together for me. Plus, it’s just SO delicious.

What do you think is the most versatile wine?
German Riesling for whites and reds from Piedmont, Italy. Although, I could throw Northern Rhone reds in there, too.

What is the bestselling wine at PlumpJack Cafe?
Chardonnays and Pinot Noir’s still reign supreme, but it is my goal to match wines and foods together as best I can.

Favorite food and wine combination?
There are so many food and wine pairings that I enjoy! Foie Gras and Sauternes. Spicy Thai and German Auslese Riesling. Mushroom Risotto and Barbera d’Alba. I also just had some phenomenal Charcuterie with a new world Grenache that was outstanding.

Favorite food?
Any variety of noodles – Pho noodles, Thai noodles, Seafood Ramen… I love them all.

What do you believe is the most underrated wine?
Two styles of wine that I feel are grossly underrated are Madeira and Champagne, frankly bubbles in general. People think that Madeiras are strictly for dessert, but they’re laden with wonderful acids that pair with a wide variety of foods, especially meats and game dishes.

Any wines that are misunderstood?
Champagne and bubbly wines are typically held for festive occasions only, but their global diversity is unmatched, and they can pair with everything from cheese and charcuterie to heartier seafood dishes. Plus, who doesn’t love a glass of bubbly any time?

What advice would you give to someone getting started in the wine industry?
My advice would be to work in the environment and to engross themselves in the wine world. Work in a restaurant that has a Sommelier or Wine Director and learn from them. Attend wine seminars and tastings when possible. Visit wineries and meet the winemakers; one can learn an infinite amount from these passionate, talented people.

Who do you admire most in the wine and hospitality industry?
We genuinely care about the experience that our guests receive and want to make sure that, when they are in our restaurant, they have the best care possible. From a wine point of view, it’s the people and http://www.cialispharmaciefr24.com/achat-cialis-en-ligne/ effort that go into making wine. The winemakers are the epitome of devotion to their craft, but no one can do it alone. The workers in the fields that pick and sort the grapes are some of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet, and their passion for what they do is admirable.

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What has been the most significant project or accomplishment of your career?

Starting a beverage consulting business (Mountain Beverage Solutions) with my partner, Jake Spero, has been exceedingly significant and rewarding for me. Maintaining and managing a “Best of” Award of Excellence winning wine list that features some 725 selections at PlumpJack Cafe has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I was also Lead Captain at Saison Restaurant in San Francisco when we received our Michelin Star, which was awesome.

Bucket of wine and champagne If you were not working in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
If I was not in the wine industry, I’d probably be involved with the ski and golf industries on some level. I have been skiing since I was three, and I used to work in that world for a while and enjoyed it immensely. I’ve also been, at one point, a low, single digit handicap golfer and could see myself being a teaching pro.
PlumpJack Cafe is now taking reservations for the Holidays and it’s busy winter season. Don’t wait to book, especially if you have a larger group.

The People of PlumpJack: Jared Forkner


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Featured this week on The People of PlumpJack is Jared Forkner, Entertainment Director at MATRIXFILLMORE. Jared has been with the PlumpJack family for more than 10 years and got his start in 2005 waiting tables at Balboa Cafe San Francisco. Just a year later he began DJing at MATRIXFILLMORE and now manages the club’s entertainment. Extremely passionate about Electronic Dance Music, Jared helped create the blog Dancing Astronaut, which is considered to be one of the biggest ‘EDM’ blogs in the world.
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Originally from Malibu and Santa Barbara, he attended boarding school in Indiana at Culver Academies. Little did he know Jared had a PlumpJack connection early on in life. During his sophomore year he roomed with, now former Chef at Balboa Mill Valley, Dave Wasemsmall world, right?

When he’s not working you can find Jared in his hometown of Fairfax, mountain biking, ghost producing music for Bay Area DJ’s and working on special projects with Dolby Labs.


“I love working for a company that takes care of it’s employees. I’ve had the opportunity to grow and learn and it’s really meant a lot to me.”
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1. What would your last meal be?
My families lamb recipe for sure!

2. What is the best advice you have ever received?
First you give them what they want, then you can give them what you want.” – The Big Night. This quote has remained relevant for me in all avenues of my career.

3. What is the last thing you googled?
Resetting PRAM Macpro 3,1

4. What is your personal mantra?
Follow your heart and be good to others.

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Jared DJing in 2001

Jared DJing in 2001

5. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
Tough question! Maybe I’d go back and tell my parents and ‘childhood me’ to FORCE me to play piano. Aside from that personal history I’d really like to go back and watch Nikola Tesla work. His mind was so far ahead of his time.
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6. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
Maybe the days leading up to the end of the dinosaurs. I would love to see how the world looked and the shape of the continents back then.

7. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would love to be able to really play piano. I understand it decently but would love to play well.

8. What was the last gift you gave someone?
I gave my wife some earbuds last week.new balance mens tennis shoes

9. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
Paul Rudd. A buddy says I look like him.

10. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
I would work on music, have dinner with my family and then walk up the hill behind my house and
watch the sun set at a place that I want to have my ashes spread.air jordan all models

“Jared is a wonderful asset to the MatrixFillmore team, as his entertainment and music knowledge have helped excel our Events Department and service our clientele with all relative and pertinent information. He is always offering to assist in any way possible and is dedicated to the success and growth of our company.”
– Ashley Guillory, Director of Events at The PlumpJack Group

The People of PlumpJack: Jacqi Almond

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This week on The People of PlumpJack we feature Marketing Manager at The Carneros Inn, Jacqi Almond. She has been with The Carneros Inn for nine months, and has worked in the Napa Valley resort industry for eight years. For Jacqi one of the greatest parts of her job is the ability to share the property and connect with people who haven’t had the opportunity to experience it yet.

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Originally from Woodbridge, Virgina, Jacqi lives in Santa Rosa. She is an avid football fan and always roots for the Washington Redskins. When she’s not working, you can find Jacqi reading and running, she has run over 15 half marathons, marathons and ultra relays. This upcoming July she is reregistered for the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. Clearly a disciplined women, Jacqi has a personal goal to read 100 books this year. One of her favorites is Zero to One by Peter Thiel. We hope you enjoy getting to know Jacqi a little more in this weeks post on The People of PlumpJack.

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What would your last meal be?
Authentic street tacos

What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you want to be successful, prepare to be doubted and tested. Be stubborn with your goals, and flexible with your methods.

What is the last thing you googled?
Avengers Movie Times

What is your personal mantra?
“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
The last dinner I had with my dad

If money were not an object what would you do?
Travel and experience as many cultures as possible.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
I would want to opportunity to experience space.stephen curry shoes 2013

At Odette Estate Winery

At Odette Estate Winery

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Professional dancing. Dancing is one of my favorite activities and would love to be better at it.

What was the last gift you gave someone?
Seth Godin’s latest book to a few of my favorite marketersstephen curry blue and yellow shoes

If you could learn any language fluently, what would it be and why?
French and Italian because why choose?

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?
I generally listen to marketing podcasts like #AskGaryVee & Social Media Examiner Show

“I love Jacqi’s robust and contagious energy of elevating The Carneros Inn brand and social media presence.” – Amanda Heath, Buyer for PlumpJackSport

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The People of PlumpJack: Rob McCormick


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This week on The People of PlumpJack, we feature Rob McCormick. He is the Director of Sales at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn for the past 19 years. On his free time, Rob enjoys exploring Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. He often opens a map, looks for a region he has yet to explore and ventures out there to hike, ski or 4 wheel. When he isn’t skiing at the resort with his wife and son, he goes backcountry skiing. Another passion of Rob’s is music, he has been djing as a hobby for 15 years.
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 “When I go into the backcountry I have a fairly selective rotation of ski partners.  Who you choose to travel with in the wilderness is very important because you want to make sure your partners have similar attitudes toward goal flexibility and risk tolerance.  Getting into adventures with the right people is so much fun in so many ways, but most of all just being away from the constant distractions of everyday life.”

In 2011 Rob was lucky enough to fly around the mountains outside of Truckee in his friends Cessna 180, where they discovered an amazing couloir (a steep, narrow gully on a mountainside). Two years later when conditions were just right, they navigated their way into the location and skied it in perfect conditions. Rob describes it as an unforgettable experience and found it rewarding to put in the time researching maps and weather conditions and getting to eventually go.

1. What would your last meal be?
Maine Lobster
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2. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 
It’s better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around.
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3. What is your top bucket list item?
Trip to Europe with my wife and son.

4. If you could travel back to any one point in time when would it be?
February through May 2011 – I’d really like to relive that ski season.

5. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
John C. Reilly
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6. What is your personal mantra?
Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgment.

7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
A backcountry ski adventure followed by a BBQ on Donner Lake with my friends and family.
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8. What is the last thing you Googled?
Ski conditions at Grand Targhee, WY.

Check out Rob’s Ski blog here

Rob’s enthusiasm for all things outdoors & Lake Tahoe in general transfers into his day to day interaction with all of our Clients. Rob is always sharing favorite activities and his passion for Squaw Valley with corporate groups and wedding couples to add to their experience during a stay at PlumpJack. It is always fun catching up with Rob after the weekend or a day off. Rob takes full advantage of living in Lake Tahoe and is often plotting a fun camping trip, BBQ with friends, bike ride or backcountry ski trip. Other places you may find Rob .. a ski movie, a DJ party, or his favorite vacation destination .. Mexico.

Ilana Heyne
Catering & Sales Manager at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn

The People of PlumpJack: Sandra Roberts


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Welcome back to The People of PlumpJack, the series that introduces you to the people inside the PlumpJack community. Featured this week is Sandra Roberts, Director of Sales for PlumpJack Estate Winery, CADE Estate Winery and Odette Estate Winery. She has been with the PlumpJack team since 2011, overseeing all wholesale operations, as well as strategic planning for the three wineries. In her spare time, she pursues international adventures—everything from following the old Irish hunt trails on horseback to crossing the Dalmatian Coast by bike. At home in Napa, she enjoys gardening, LSU football, cooking, hiking and exploring the outdoors with her 150-pound puppy (and the official winery dog of Odette), Sophie.
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Sandra on the wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Sandra on the wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia


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1. What would your last meal be?
Burgers!  Grilled in my backyard surrounded by all of my friends and most of my family!  
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2. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be yourself, and be kind…you never know what others are going through or working on right now.
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3. What is your top bucket list item?
Bali is next…but it’s a full bucket!

4. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
To have dinner with my dad.

5. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
I’m stumped! Seriously….hum – Julia Roberts
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6. What is your personal mantra?
“What will you do with this one wild and precious life” – Mary Oliver
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7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
Living! And in the backyard referenced above for my last meal!
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8. What is the last thing you googled?
The poet who’s quote I quoted!

“Wine Sales isn’t something done remotely, it’s a relationship business and requires a feet on the street approach to share our story, bring a sense our vineyards and our passion for winemaking to our customers. We take nothing and no one for granted.” – Sandra Robertsstephen curry christmas shoes

The People of PlumpJack: Katie Snider


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Featured this week on The People of PlumpJack is Katie Snider. She leads the charge on creative design for each of our individual businesses. Since joining PlumpJack in 2005, Katie has been involved in all facets of design, including print collateral, digital, logo development, signage and packaging. Originally from Kentucky, Katie went to school at Indiana University and moved out to San Francisco after college. She is passionate about music, and you can find her spending her free time at awesome concerts across the city.
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10953288_10152671197083388_6765806116841876595_n1. What would your last meal be?
The best grilled cheese sandwich ever made. Or burrata with some tasty fresh bread & olive oil.
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2. What is the best advice you have ever received?
”Keep smiling. It’s more fun that way” – Granddaddy Snider
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3. What is your top bucket list item?
Backstage/VIP/All Access pass to Glastonbury. Oh, and Patagonia. Wanna hike in Patagonia fo sho.
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4. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
Hell no. Let’s go to THE FUTURE!
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5. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you? 
Duh. Why is this even a question?

6. What is your personal mantra? 
Laugh. A lot.

7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
Flying all my friends & family to an abandoned island and throwing a music festival
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8. What is the last thing you googled?
Modest Mouse new album release date

“Katie is great to work with! She is always happy and brings up the energy level in the office with her amazing sense of humor and jokes. Being on the creative team with her has helped me learn and grow my design skills.” – Tea Ribar, Marketing Specialist at the PlumpJack Group 

The People of PlumpJack: Debbie Brown


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Debbie Brown
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Featured this week on The People of PlumpJack, is General Manager of PlumpJack Wine & Spirits, Debbie Brown. She has been with the Fillmore wine store for 15 years. On her free time Debbie enjoys going to the beach, spending time with her cats and participating in a fantasy football league. Debbie’s favorite part of the job is interacting with customers and getting to know new people.
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1. What would your last meal be?
Braised Short ribs, mashed potatoes, and Caesar salad or a cheese burger from Nopa with their fabulous fries.
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2.What is the best advice you have ever received?
Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.

3.What is your top bucket list item?
African Safari

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4. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
1920’s–the flappers were fabulous–loved the clothes and hair styles

5.If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
Jennifer Aniston
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6.What is your personal mantra?
Things happen for a reason, and everything has a way of working out for the best.  I will survive!

7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
Eating a burrito at the beach watching the ocean.
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8.What is the last thing you googled?
Information about phosphorus and protein in cat food

 “Debbie has admirable determination in tackling projects. She can overcome obstacles that would waylay most others, and come out shinning on the other side. Her baking talents have touched many, and she shares her warmth and caring with everyone she comes in contact with.”

-Paul Birman, Wine & Spirits buyer at PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in the Marina.

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The People of PlumpJack: Chef Ben “Wyatt” Dufresne

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Get to know the People of PlumpJack! This week get a behind the scenes look at, Executive Chef of PlumpJack Cafe at the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, Wyatt Dufresne. Originally from New York, Chef Wyatt started in PlumpJack Cafe‘s pantry in 2002. He worked his way to sous chef, left and came back in 2010 as the executive chef for 5 years, this March. Dufresne’s cuisine draws off his love for sustainable, organic, and seasonal ingredients as well as his educational background in science. His knowledge of how things grow, the anatomy of animals and fish, and the environmental impact of sourcing sustainable products has great influence on his menu selections. Here is more to know about Chef Wyatt.nike air max one

1. What would your last meal be?
My last meal would be my Mother’s mac and cheese.  I used to help her make the pasta from scratch when I was a kid and I’m sure it helped to influence where I am today.  I have her make it for me every time I visit home!

2. What is the best advice you have ever received?
One of the most influential Chefs I’ve worked for (Larry Dunning at PlumpJack and West Shore Cafe) said, “Pay attention to the small things and you’ll be successful,” on our last day working together.

3. What is your top bucket list item?
Travel the world.air jordan all

4. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
The 60’s and 70’s.  It just seems like people were creating a lot of changes in the world while having tons of fun:)

5. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
Daniel Day Lewis with his “Gangs of New York” mustache.

6. What is your personal mantra?
No regrets!womens air jordan shoes

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7. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
With my wife, family and friends eating awesome food and drinking great wine.  I would never forget our dog, Winter, either!

8. What was the last thing you searched for on google?
“Mignonette,” because I wanted to make sure the spelling was correct on the menu I just wrote.

 “My favorite dish Wyatt has made is, Cervena Venison Cheek: Black Winter Truffles, Asian Pear, Five Spiced Butternut Squash – to me this dish encompassed it all – rustic, but elegant, simple yet refined.  I can still taste everything in my mind – great dish.”

 “Wyatt’s best characteristic in my mind is he’ll always rise to the challenge and do what it takes to get the job done.”  nike air max junior

“My favorite memory with Wyatt was watching him win the 2014 Blazing Pans competition at the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival this past September.”

Steve Lamb, General Manager at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn