As the wine director for new San Diego wine company Vineagogo, Del Mar resident Josh Orr is occasionally spotted around town making deliveries or appearances in “Merlot,” the company’s 1964 DIVCO milk truck. After months of diligent studying, Orr recently achieved his personal goal of receiving the Rudd Scholarship for top honors in passing the advanced certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, making him one of less than 400 Advanced Sommeliers worldwide. As a result, Orr is currently a candidate to become a Master Sommelier, of which there are less than 200 internationally.
Orr found his passion for wine while at college in San Luis Obispo, Calif., which was a bit out of left field being that he was raised in the conservative confines of Salt Lake City, Utah. Moving from one wine-centric area to another, he spent one year in the famed Burgundy wine region of France, and continued his wine journey working as a sommelier at Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante, and Fiamma Trattoria in Las Vegas. Orr and his fiancée, Megan Boyer, are planning to wed this summer, and are excited to start their lives together while living in San Diego.
- What brought you to this area?
San Diego is such a beautiful area that the thought of staying in Vegas or moving here didn’t even raise an eyebrow. The wild and nonstop nature of Vegas appeals to the weekend warrior, however locals always seem to be looking for a way out. So when one arose, especially to a place like San Diego, I jumped at it and am thankful I did. San Diego was an easy choice because of how great life is here and landing a job at Vineagogo just sealed the deal.
- What makes this area special to you? Anything you’d like to see improved?
San Diego has a unique combination of big city living and cali-surfer-laid-back lifestyles. It is also really nice being close to the ocean.
I would like to see more people push the envelope with food and wine the way it seems the breweries do down here. There is an incredible culture for artisan beer here, maybe the best in the world. If wine could channel even half that energy and enthusiasm, San Diego could rival San Francisco in terms of global appeal for beer, food and wine.
- Who or what inspires you?
The almighty grapevine is what inspires me the most. No other fruit produces anything like wine, with its unique flavors that can be traced back to one place in the world. I am also inspired by the Master Sommeliers that I have had the pleasure of meeting or working with as wine director at Vineagogo. They are incredible individuals with talents the likes of which us mere mortals only dream of. I am inspired to work harder by the thought of one day joining their ranks
- If you hosted a dinner party for eight whom would you invite?
Robert Mondavi, Thomas Jefferson, Madame Cliquot, a bottle of 1961 Chateau Latour, Anthony Bourdain, Piero Antinori, President Obama and Mario Batali. The common thread would be a love of wine & food and entrepreneurial spirit/accomplishment.
- Tell us what you are reading?
“Perfect Pairings,” which is an excellent book on pairing food and wine and “The History of the World in 6 Glasses,” which is just that.
- What are your three favorite movies?
“Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Caddyshack”
- Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
At the moment, it would be my recent passing of the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Advanced exam and receiving the RUDD Scholarship for the top score. However I am getting married this summer so that will change once July rolls around.
- What would you still like to do that you haven’t done?
Being only 27, there is a lot I still haven’t done. Being a newbie to San Diego, let’s do San Diego things I haven’t done yet: Join in the debate on who has the better burger between Ho-dad’s and Rocky’s, have another cocktail at Noble Experiment, tailgate at a Charger game with all the diehard Charger fans, two words- brewery crawl and last, but not least, help Vineagogo become one of San Diego’s best spots for wine and food.
- What is your favorite vacation spot?
It would have to be either Cinque Terre in Italy or the French Riviera, two of the most beautiful places on earth. When you are there time just seems to slow down.
- What is your philosophy of life?
Life is what you make of it. Fate plays a roll, but in the end you are the only one inside there making the decisions.