Michael Hopkins

Jo McGarry
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Friday - April 27, 2011 Share | Del.icio.us | podcast Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com

Jo McGarry photo

Occupation: Regional Sales Manager, Majestic Fine Wines

What started your interest in the wine business? Actually, I was in the entertainment industry and I thought I’d better get a real job (laughs). A friend of mine was in the liquor industry, and I thought it sounded like fun.

Turns out it is. Yes, I’m just starting my 17th year in the industry.

Kendall-Jackson is synonymous with Chardonnay,  but the company has a huge portfolio of wines. We have more than 13,000 vineyards, much of it Chardonnay planted in California, and certainly people do associate Kendall-Jackson with Chardonnay, but we have 35 wineries in total producing wines from all the noble varieties. Jess Jackson took the boutique winery concept to the masses with Kendall-Jackson.

Favorite places to eat in Hawaii?  Because I do business with all the restaurants in Hawaii they are all my favorites (laughs). My brother Gordon is a partner in Roy’s, so I enjoy going there, but I go everywhere. I eat pho a lot - at Super Pho on Waialae Avenue - and I really love to go sit at the bar at CPK. Oh, and Lahiana Grill on Maui has the best meatballs in Hawaii. They may be the best meatballs ever.

Which wines do you enjoy most with Hawaii’s food? Actually, right now we have a new wine, Avant, that is perfect with the kind of food we enjoy in Hawaii. It’s immensely food-friendly, crisp, light and fruit-filled. I think it goes incredibly well with seafood, oysters and all types of Asian-influenced foods.

With whom would you most like to have a glass or two of wine? The president. He’s a fan of wine, I understand. It would be interesting to sit down with him to really understand what’s going on with our country. And maybe get someone from the Republican side in the conversation. Maybe Bill O’Reilly (laughs). The two of them and a bottle of wine - who knows what might happen.

Anything about you that might surprise people? A lot of people don’t know that I’m part Hawaiian. The first Hopkins who came to Hawaii was a merchant marine who came as an adviser and personal secretary to Queen Emma.

Note: We learned of Jess Jackson’s death shortly after this interview.


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