In a wine shop in Bordeaux

This is my story, this is who I am…

My name is Ricardo N. Ponce, and I am the owner of Alternative Wines, LLC. I’m pleased to share with you a little bit more about my background and what brought me to where I am today. 

I graduated and worked as an engineer for many years. Part of my career was in Argentina. Later in my younger years, I moved to Canada, where I lived for many years, and I continued my education and career objectives. Finally, I moved to the beautiful city of Huntsville, Alabama in the United States, and I made it my home.

In my early years, when I was child, my grandfather had a small vineyard in San Juan, Argentina where he made wine every year. I remember vividly people stomping on grapes, as his methods were traditional and his production was very small. My father also had a small vineyard, but he did not care about actually making wine as much as he liked drinking wine with family and friends. My father preferred to just make raisins or sell the grapes.

I have been interested in wine for many years, and I have dedicated much of my free time to learn and to educate myself on the subject.

When I was a child, wine was on the table at every meal, and the children were given a small glass of wine with a bit of seltzer water as a common practice. I don’t recall ever having a soft drink with our meals. My mother would have an occasional bottle of beer.

Later in my life, wine has been present all the time, in meals, with friends, and in social gatherings. This is still the case with me now.

For some years now, I have been interested in learning the most I could about wine. I have taken courses, have read a lot about it, and have visited many wineries in Argentina, France, and California. As part of my wine education, I have achieved the level of Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, US Chapter, some years ago.

My exposure to wine also includes commercial operations. I formed and developed Alternative Wines, a wine merchant company that was operational for some years until the downturn of the economy in 2009, and personal financial issues made me interrupt it for some time. Fortunately, I was able to sort it all out, and I am back at it now. I own and operate Alternative Wines LLC (reloaded), a wine import and wholesale company.

Some of my wines

My mission

I will continue to provide our community with the best wines I can find in my quest-for-wine trips to countries such as Argentina, Chile, France, Spain and even to California and Oregon, right here in the US. I intend to continue being a small company that works together with the wine makers and importers in order to obtain the best value possible. I must say, it is a daunting task sometimes, but I promise I will do my best.

A winery in the Loire Valley

A winery in the Loire Valley

Food for thought

Wine tasting at The Wine Cellar

One more thing

As an additional aspect of my mission, I intend to include wine educational activities. We hear a lot about wine, and there is quite a lot to read out there. But the opportunities to learn about wine through wine sessions, wine tasting, and wine courses are somewhat scarce.  I intend to share all I have learned about wine, and all I will continue to learn in the future, too. I don’t even entertain the slightest thought that I know all there is to know about it. In fact, sometimes I feel I have only scratched the surface of the universe of wine knowledge. There is much to be learned! But I do wish to do it with you. Let’s learn together about wine. Let’s talk about wine. Let’s discuss wine. Let’s grow a community of friends and wine lovers. And of course, let’s drink a little bit of wine together too.

This an invitation…!

Carved on a wall at the wine bar of the School of Wine of Bordeaux (L’École du vin de Bordeaux), it reads something like this: “There is a civilization of wine, where men want to know each other in order to not to fight each other”, by Gabriel Delauney. I believe that by “men” it is meant human kind in general. I found it really nice and so true, that I wanted to share it with you. (The original in French: “Il ya une civilization du vin, c’est celle où les hommes veulent se connaître afin de ne pas se combattre”)

Well, I know I am doing my part. Cheers!