#069 – Birk O’Halloran: The Art, Passion, & Stories Behind Iconic Wine

  • July 3, 2018
Birk O'Halloran of Iconic Wine and Eat Ink

Birk O’Halloran

Birk O’Halloran leads us in a toast to “getting drunk with the right people at the right time” – and it’s so forking appropriate for this episode (and, heck, the past 68 episodes too)! Birk is the owner of winemaker Iconic Wine, the author of Eat Ink, and a former sommelier.

When Birk started writing Eat Ink, he was trying to answer an age-old question: Why do all chefs look like pirates? It ultimately became a cookbook, but it began as a photo story about tattoos, misfits, and the culinary world. He didn’t come up with a definitive answer to his question, but he did come away with a book full of delicious recipes and incredible photos.

“I like to say I owe my whole career to getting drunk with the right people at the right time.” –Birk O’Halloran

We also discuss:

  • Slowly drinking his way up the supply chain
  • Why the younger generation is currently making wine like their grandparents
  • The wines they make at Iconic Wines: Heroine, Sidekick, and Secret Identity
  • Geeking out on comics & recruiting comic artists to create wine labels
  • Making a delicious and affordable wine, Sidekick
  • The decision factors that go into why people buy a wine
  • Being a Virgo
  • Selling things you’re passionate about
  • The three ways to get into owning a wine brand
  • Working with Pour Management
  • Why affordable wines have to be produced in a large volume
  • Pouring wines at charity events

Resources:

Birk O’Halloran of Iconic Wine and Eat Ink’s Bio:

Birk O’Halloran founded Iconic Wine with a focus on producing world-class California chardonnay. Since the first release in 2010, the wines have been very limited, but have found their way to some of the top restaurants in the country including Eleven Madison Park, Saison, Husk, Daniel and Tribeca Grill. The top wines remain very limited, with as little as 50 cases of the top cuvée produced per vintage. In fall of 2015, Iconic expanded production. The new series “Sidekick” was created with the goal of producing that great everyday wine under $20 a bottle.

A continuing entrepreneur in the wine industry, O’Halloran has also opened three fine wine shops, is the published author of Eat Ink, a photo essay and cookbook that explored the tattoo culture in the professional chef industry, and in 2017 founded Pour Management, an international winemaker talent and marketing agency where he advises and invests in new winemaker talent the world over. The first project under Pour Management, a collaboration with Tuscan based winemaker Tim Manning called Vinaccio, will be released August.

I love the world of food and beverage, everything about it, it’s soo damn sexy! Every time we eat and drink it ignites us sensually…the look, texture, taste, smell, sound all in a unique combination, encapsulating a moment in time. The act of sharing a meal with friends, chatting, eating, and drinking together is so forking perfect. It is a feeling that echoes a sense that All Is Good! Very, Very good!

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