John Lederer

Jo McGarry
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Friday - May 27, 2009 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Occupation: Radiation Oncologist.

Where were you born and raised?

Houston, Texas. Although people would argue that I’m still growing up.

When did you come to Hawaii? I came to Hawaii in 1989 to practice radiation oncology.

How did your interest in wine collecting begin? One of my best friends was collecting in medical school and I got into it then. The first six or eight years I was moving around and training, and I kept just a couple hundred bottles because I’d have to keep moving the wine with me, and packing and unpacking my car. Every time I moved, I’d be taking hundreds of bottles into air-conditioned motels and such.


Wow, you were dedicated even then! Oh, yeah. I enjoyed it. At that point, it was Diamond Creek, the Volcanic Hill and the Red Rock Terrace, and those kind of classic California Cabs that take about 30 years to age, and most people don’t even know about them. We were drinking them when they were about $14 a bottle. It was fun. And then the ‘82 Bordeaux came out, so I bought ‘82 futures and that was a huge year. But you know, back in those days you didn’t need to have a ton of money to collect.

How much has changed in the world of wine collecting? The speculation has changed. People from all over the world are trying to buy the same wines now. And wines have become very expensive and very hard to get. People everywhere want them. And there are a lot of people who only know the name and may never have even tasted a wine, like Chateau Petrus, for example, but they just want it and don’t care if it’s $2,000 a bottle. That’s not my wine.

What’s your motivation to collect? I just like sharing it with my friends. I do always rationalize spending the money by saying that I can always auction a bottle off later, but I haven’t sold a bottle yet. It hasn’t been a great investment strategy, (laughs) but on the other hand, I do have very liquid assets.

How big is your collection? About 5,000 bottles. I haven’t counted it for a while.

Is there anything being saved for a very special occasion? I’m not that organized. For my wedding three years ago, we opened Screaming Eagle. I tend to have themes in my life, and I do tie them in with wine. If we have an anniversary, we’ll drink the same Champagne that we had at the wedding, things like that.

Where’s your favorite restaurant? Le Bistro. Alan And Debbie (the owners) are fantastic. The staff is great. I like to go to Maharani for Indian food.

With whom would you most like to share a bottle of wine? I think (wine-maker) Helen Turley. I have met her husband a few times, but I’ve never met her.

What’s always in your fridge? Right now there’s Kistler Chardonnay, there’s some Turley (Zin) some ...

Any food in there? Cottage cheese, protein drinks and tofu.

Do you have a wine that’s truly memorable? There was one night at Alan Wong’s when I opened up a ‘93 Colgin and I remember it was a fabulous bottle. It was memorable because I just couldn’t finish it, I was too tired. I ended up giving half the bottle to the staff to drink.

And the Screaming Eagle at our wedding was pretty memorable.


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