Date an MW: 1990
Based in: USA
Profession: Wine Educator
- Date of Birth
- Website www.mywineknow.com
- Email address
- Current employer
- Work City
- Work County
- Work Country
- Work Email address
1716 E. Highland Dr.
- Non-wine hobbies
Photography, SW Indian Art, Historical studies
As one of the first two resident American Masters of Wine (1990), Joel Butler, MW has had a long and varied career in the wine industry.
Born in Denver, Colorado around mid-century, Joel Butler graduated from Stanford University, and also received a Masters Degree in European History from the University of Colorado. Shortly after graduation from Stanford, he returned to Europe in the fall of 1972, spending many months visiting wine producing regions, participating in the harvest in Burgundy, and gathering information for an industry organization his father represented.
This experience, following on that of attending university in Italy and living within a "wine" culture, led him to return to California in the spring of 1973 and enter the wine trade. Joel has spent over 40 years in the wine trade as a buyer for on and off premise licensees, as an importer and distributor, and more recently as Education Director at Diageo Wines and Ste Michelle Wine Estates. He has also been a highly regarded wine judge, with experience at the International Wine Challenge in London, the Decanter World Wine Awards, various Australian Show judgings, the San Diego National Wine Competition, Dallas Morning News Competition, Seattle Wine Awards, San Francisco International Wine Competition and the California State Fair.
In 1977, Butler started writing professionally on wine for VINTAGE magazine. Subsequently, he wrote for WINE COUNTRY, FRIENDS OF WINE, THE INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR and the LOS ANGELES TIMES and the INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY of London, to name a few.
'Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age', published in 2012, is his latest book,which has been well-received critically. He began making wine (non-commercially) in 1980, and has since produced many award-winning wines at the California State Fair and Orange County Fair.
Until mid-2013 Joel was President of the Institute of Masters of Wine, North America, Ltd., and helps coordinates the annual North American seminar program and also is an instructor for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) courses offered through his company, WineKnow LLC, a wine education provider, and does some consulting.
Butler's outside interests include archaeology, ancient coins, SW Indian art, photography, music and reading, as well as historical research. He has one daughter, Karin.