Meet Winemaker Nori Nakamura, who got an early introduction to the world of wine working in his uncle's Italian restaurant in Tokyo, named Marie. Nori's childhood was full of family get-togethers at Marie, including the most delicious meals accompanied by that ever-present Red Sauce Joint requisite table fixture; those straw-covered Chianti bottles from the not too distant past.
With the base for his future as a winemaker paved by his family’s roots in hospitality, we can fast forward to after Nori graduated from Keio University when he started a position in hotel management at Nikko Hotels International. Before he truly set his course, Nori took a grad trip to Italy where he tasted an ‘81 Barbaresco, a truly defining moment that helped him realize his passion and firmly place his sights on a career in the wine industry.
Earning his Sommelier Certification through the Japan Sommelier Association while managing in the hotel was the next logical step for Nori before transferring to a catering manager position at the high-end Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. His new location was extremely close to California Wine Country, which fueled Nori’s quest for wine knowledge. He would land cellar positions at Koves-Newland and Pine Ridge Vineyards, where he gained more hands-on winemaking experience. Nori earned a Viticulture & Enology degree from UC Davis, which cemented his wine education, providing opportunities to elevate his winemaking career.
With his training complete, Nori secured a winemaking position at Artesa Vineyards and Winery that eventually led him to his role as Head Winemaker at Jamieson Ranch, Reata, and Larson Family Winery, where he still holds that title today.
Finally, in 2010 Noria Wines was created on the foundation of making wines to pair with the delicate and fresh ingredients of Nori’s Native Japanese cuisine. Nori puts his vision into words when describing the passion behind his wines, "Sensai in Japanese describes when something is nuanced, sophisticated and infused with subtle details. I strive to create wines that reflect this sensibility."
Noria means water wheel in Spanish and is the symbol on the Noria wine label, evoking life bringing elements like flowing water, vitality, and the turning cycle of nature into view. If you think of that concept in relation to Nori’s life and then apply it to your own, it makes perfect sense that all of the elements from your daily and past experiences are in constant motion creating the energy that is necessary to drive you to follow and achieve our goals...Never stop chasing your dreams!