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.