BACk TO TEAM PAGE Ben Cuaresma Director of Sales - West

Short bio

Born and raised in Hawaii, I began working in the restaurant industry as a young adult. My love affair with food and wine eventually brought me to San Francisco where I discovered I was not remotely close to scratching the surface. While studying at the California Culinary Academy, I worked as a waiter at Rubicon and food runner at Charles Nob Hill. After culinary school, I peeled shallots, assembled canapés and made gnocchi daily until the wine industry came calling. Who would have known that after a couple of lucky breaks, I would end up being a dad of four amazing young adults, a well-trained ball thrower for my Chocolate Lab Coco and have a rewarding career in the wine industry! A quick moment of gratitude for each person who helped, inspired, mentored and encouraged me along the way…I’m truly grateful.

 Where have you lived?

Island hopped in Hawaii-> Northern California->?

First Car

A fun and care-free 1975 Jeep C-J5. Banana boat yellow with dual exhaust and a bikini top to cruise the beach roads!

How did you start in the wine business?

Me: “Hey Barbara, how do I get a job like yours?” Barbara: “Talk to Heather, she’s leaving the Henry Wine Group in a couple of weeks.” Me: “Hey Heather, I heard you’re leaving…can I network through you and explore the opportunity?” Heather: “Sure, let me put you in touch with my boss Ron.” Fast forward a few weeks later…Ron: “Is that a hospital band on your wrist (during my interview)?” Me: “Yes, my daughter Jillian was born early this morning!” Ron: “…And you’re here!?” Me: “YES, that’s what we do, we show up!” Ron: “Ahhh, #$@&%*!, now I gotta hire you.”

Best concerts of your life

November 6, 2006. The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang concert tour. 

After tasting wine all day, I want to drink an…

IPA or Sazerac

After staring at a computer all day, I want to drink an…

IPA or Sazerac

What puts the biggest smiles on your face?

Aside from an IPA or Sazerac? My kids, Coco and finishing the WOD (work out of the day).

Fantastic wine experience

My first time having a wine sent back. 1996, Decanting table side serving a 1975 Chateau Latour. Service, flawless…until the customer rejected the wine after tasting it. Great opportunity for the staff to taste old or perceived as old First Growth Bordeaux. We’re not drinking, we’re learning!

Last bottle of wine of wine you ever want to drink

It would be red and likely Pinot Noir based…let me get back to you on this.

While on the wine route I love to…

Get up early and take a run through the vineyards. I recently did this at Borgoluce and Castello di Ama…AMAZING! Yes, please!

Favorite vacation spot

Any location where the sun sets into the ocean.

Favorite cheese

This one is lay-up…they’re all my favorite but if I had to pick one, the style would be Crème style cheeses.

Great food & wine pairing

Anything deep fried…particularly chicken or squash blossoms with a glass of Blanc de Blanc!

If you won the lottery…

You wouldn’t know…nothing would change. I’m doing what I love. Business as usual!