Lisa Lipton gets into spirit of community

Lisa Lipton was born in Binghamton, N.Y., and graduated from Mount Holyoke College, B.A. magna cum laude, in 1976. She attended the University of Connecticut Law School and Suffolk University Law School, earning a juris doctorate in 1982.

After law school and while a case writer at Harvard Business School, she studied at Steven Raichlen’s cooking school in Cambridge, Mass., and was a recipe tester for his early cookbooks. Shortly before moving to San Diego, she was in the first wine certification program offered in the U.S. by the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Lipton practiced law in Boston for many years and was associate general counsel for a national retailer and President of New England Corporate Counsel Association.

In July 2008, she was elected national chairwoman of the American Institute of Wine & Food. She and Stuart, her husband of 28 years, joined the organization more than 20 years ago and used to attend chapter events at Julia Child’s home in Cambridge.

(In 2008, San Diego AIWF awarded $26,500 in culinary and oenology scholarships and presented Days of Taste healthy eating programs to more than 100 underprivileged elementary school students. San Diego also houses the AIWF Culinary Collection at UCSD, with the other half of the collection at Radcliffe.)

Lipton volunteers at Mama’s Kitchen, is a trustee of North Coast Repertory Theatre, a member of The Charter 100 and is involved in special needs educational advocacy.

The Liptons have two children: Jeff, 18, and Jen, 22.

What brought you to Rancho Santa Fe?

We moved from Boston in 1999. My husband, Dr. Stuart Lipton, after 25 years on the faculty of Harvard, received a job offer that he could not refuse from The Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

What makes the Ranch special to you?

The small-town unspoiled environment and Chino Farm.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Rancho Santa Fe?

A magical wish that Rancho Santa Fe and San Diego County were not in the path of the wildfires.

Who or what inspires you?

As the national chairman of The American Institute of Wine & Food, I am inspired to carry out the educational mission of our founders, Julia Child and Robert Mondavi.

If you hosted a wine tasting for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

My family along with Thomas Jefferson, Alexis Lichine and Andre Tshelistcheff

What wines are on your radar right now?

It is impossible to focus on all of them, but Stuart and I are investor owners of Market Restaurant in Del Mar, where Wine Director Brian Donegan has an amazing pulse of what is current, including Owen Roe Sinister Hand from Columbia Valley, Paddy Bothwick Paper Road Pinot Noir from New Zealand and the 2007 rieslings from Germany and Austria. Bonaccorsi wines from Santa Barbara have been on my radar for several years.

If you were going to drink your last bottle of wine - any year, any varietal - what would it be?

Domaine de la Romanee Conte, any year

What do you do for fun?


Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Being able to serve others in enhancing organizations where I have a passion - for law, as president of New England Corporate Counsel Association, and with my hobbies of gastronomy and enology, as chairman of San Diego AIWF for several years and now as national chairman (


What is your motto?

Live each day to the fullest.