We are delighted to announce Jonah Beer has joined Gabriel-Glas as the new North America CEO! Jonah brings more than two decades of experience in the global, fine-wine world and is a leading voice in Napa Valley for sommeliers, restaurateurs, and wine retailers alike.
His ownership of Gabriel-Glas North America brings him back to where it all began—with a wine glass. But instead of polishing them, this time he’ll be bringing the joy of a purposefully made, beautifully designed, universal wine glass to a thirsty continent!
A Q&A Session with Jonah Beer
How did you find your way to the world of fine wine?
“After 23 years in the wine business in the Napa Valley, one thing I have learned is that each of us that has been “bitten by the wine bug” has a similar origin story: we had that “one bottle” of wine that changed everything! I moved out to the Napa Valley from northern Indiana—where bartending paid the bills, and one eye was loosely on Law School—because I fell in love with a bottle of 1992 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, and the dream of a life of fine wine and elegant living. I moved to California, now that I look back on it, without much of a plan. I didn’t know anyone west of the Rockies, had no place to land, no place to live, and no relevant experience. My early days of “elegant living” were marked by sleeping on floors, in my car, and eventually on a sailboat. So, not the start I drew up in my mind. But it all fell into place when I landed my first j-o-b in the wine biz…”
What was your first job in the wine industry?
“Glass washer at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. A job that I quickly retitled as “Crystal Engineer.” Sounded better to the folks back home, and undoubtedly sounded like it paid more than the $5.15 per hour that Warren Winiarski was parting with for my fine services. But truth be told, I kinda landed in the perfect spot. A farm boy from the Crossroads of America with the work ethic taught to him by Hoosier farming legend Maurice G. “Morrie” Beer stood out like a sore thumb amongst my fellow engineers. And it amazes me to think about how that job has come full circle with Gabriel-Glas. I mean, I am back to being an “engineer” all because I met Tim Clepper—fellow partner in Gabriel-Glas—because he booked a tour at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars the very week I got promoted to tour guide. 23 years later we are in business together telling the story of one of the finest wine glasses the world has ever known. Kismet!”
Who do you look up to within the hospitality industry?
“To be honest. I look up to almost everyone in the hospitality business because they have chosen to make serving others their profession. They have chosen to see the gift of hospitality as a gift that sometimes means the world to the recipient. Sitting at a beautifully set table—complete with elegant stemware—and having a sommelier approach the table with a special bottle of wine is a gift that I’ll ask for on my birthday each and every year! So, to all the Somms—from Angler to Zuni and back again—thanks for all the gifts these past 23 years. I look forward to returning the hospitality someday soon with a bottle of something grand and the elegant chime of toasting Gabriel-Glas stems!”