Dan Petroski doesn't waste a minute when it comes to getting what he wants.
Such was the case when he met his now-fiancee, Jessica Mennella, on a blind date.
"I told her that harvest was three weeks away and I wanted to see her again before I was too busy to fall in love." As he tells it, they spent about 20 of the 31 days in August together.
It was also the situation when, after nearly a decade working in publishing in New York, he decided he'd rather make wine. Just five years later, Petroski is not only associate winemaker at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga, but he moonlights with his own label, Massican, which makes white blends in the style of Italy's Friuli region.
Somewhat soft-spoken for a guy born and raised in Brooklyn, Petroski studied history at Columbia University before breaking into the magazine business. But his passion lay elsewhere.
"I was always seen as the wine geek amongst my friends," says Petroski. "But I had no understanding of the process."
He learned it quickly - a trip to Sicily led to a yearlong apprenticeship at Valle dell'Acate.
After meeting winemaker Andy Smith, he took an internship at DuMol Winery in Windsor. At year's end, he was hired full time to help make Cabernet at Larkmead - where Smith consults on winemaking.
But it was Italian whites he always longed for at the end of the day - ones like the Friulian blends that weren't easily found here. True to form, he opted to make them himself.
"It was a quick decision to start my own label," says Petroski. "And I was fortunate to find the rare grape varieties here."