Like many of his peers, Casey DiCesare took a circuitous route to the wine business. He was born in southern California, but grew up in Irvington, New York, a small Hudson River town 20 miles north of New York City named after the author Washington Irving. He and his two brothers, one a twin, had an all-American upbringing playing stickball with friends, fishing in local ponds, and exploring the wilderness.
Casey’s Italian heritage ensured that food and wine were a constant during his formative years. “My grandpa always said, ‘Italians express our love with food.’ My mom made sure to prepare a feast every night and have the family sit down around the dinner table. Her cooking, as well as the occasional trip to a Zagat-rated restaurant in New York City, exposed us to a wide array of foods.”
Casey went to the University of California, Los Angeles where he competed in track and field. He placed in multiple conference championship meets in the decathlon and pole vault and was ranked in the top 25 among amateurs and professionals in the USA. He majored in political science but was looking for a path that inspired more passion in him. “Fortunately, the family of one of my teammates owned a winery in Paso Robles named Cinquain Cellars. I began helping around the winery on weekends and soon was hooked on wine.”
Later Casey went on to complete a Masters in Enology from Cornell University in the Finger Lakes AVA, under advisor Dr. Gavin Sacks. He returned to California in January of 2017 and took a job at Scheid Family Wines as Assistant Winemaker/Enologist. At SFW his responsibilities include designing and executing all experimental wine trials (of which there are many), implementing and assessing new lab procedures, doing final checks on the wines before bottling, and working with the bottling team to have the wines ready to bottle.
“After finishing my athletic career, I was looking for a new passion. Winemaking has filled that void. I love that wine is the product of many small decisions that eventually lead to a finished product. All the variables from vineyard to winery contribute to what will end up in the glass. Winemaking allows you to be both scientific and creative, which is very rewarding when you get it right.”