Gabriel grew up in the country town of Columbus, Texas, just west of Houston. An avid golfer, he often spent his free time walking the course in his usual scratch game. Even though he had offers to play collegiate golf, Gabriel joined the Navy after high school instead. After his service he left his Chicago base and moved to Dallas to work at Texaco as a multi unit manager. This was Gabriel’s first experience with management, as well as retail product placement.
It wasn’t until years later when Gabriel was managing a small bistro in San Antonio that he fell in love with the world of wine. He began to immerse himself in his passion; the more he studied, the more intrigued he became. Gabriel finally decided to take a more formal approach to his education and applied for induction to the UK Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009; Gabriel is currently a Certified Sommelier. For three years, he directed the wine program for renowned Chef Andrew Weissman, to include Il Sogno Osteria, The Sandbar Fish House & Market, and The Luxury.
In 2011, he joined a group of young sommeliers on a working trip to Italy, and took in the sights of Piedmont and Tuscany and all the wineries in between. It was then he could see the potential of the distribution and importation side of the business. And so in 2012, when his wife relocated to Houston for work, he joined his first importation marketing company.
For the next six years, Gabriel rubbed elbows with Becky Wasserman and Le Serbet, diving deep into Burgundy, Champagne, and Loire Valley. “You always end up in Burgundy once you develop your palate,” he would say to the California Die Hards, often inciting a riot. The acid of the young, tart fruit-forward wines of Bourgogne stole his heart. And he has never turned back since.
“There are three types of wines in the world,” Gabriel famously says when asked what his favorite wine is. “One: Champagne. Two: Burgundy. And Three: Not Burgundy.” He says this so often, in fact, that his daughter Rheagan made a parody video mimicking his tone and taste. The video has even been featured in Bill Nanson’s Burgundy blog.
Gabriel is happy to join Bertrand’s Wines, to represent the soils that drive his passion for wine, and bring a new family of vignerons to the US. He is supported at home by his wife, daughter, and two dogs.