Daniel Gutierrez

A Sonoma county native, Daniel Gutierrez grew up in the wine cellars of his backyard sparking an interest at a young age in wine locally and in far off growing regions. 

After spending his early years behind many bars, Daniel’s passion for sharing wine and spirits lead him to a career in wine sales and distribution. While working for these distributors he spent every day tasting and studying wine and spirits. Over the years Daniel has consulted with well over 300 different bars restaurants and wine shops in Northern California. 

Daniels passion for Spanish wines grew after moving to Spain and working in Madrid in 2016. Not only was it important for him to thoroughly get to know the inner workings of the Spanish wine culture but he was just a hop, skip and a jump to visit some of the greatest wine regions in the world. Upon returning to California, he worked with the Wine Scholar Guild to help with being apart of the first group to take and edit the Spanish Wine Special Course. Daniel now works at one of the top importers of fine wine in the country along side of teaching at the San Francisco Wine School. 

Get To Know Daniel

What is your favorite wine region to visit?

I never get tired of visiting my home area of Sonoma County but in 2016 I was able to visit Mount Etna and was blown away. Vineyards on the slopes of an active volcano in the middle of the Mediterranean paired with one of the most authentic places in Italy, sign me up every time!


What is your favorite class to teach?

The Spanish Wine Specialist course is my favorite to teach. I had the pleasure of being a part of the first group to take the course and help edit and contribute with its development. 


What's your most memorable wine experience?

Recently I had a tripped planned to visit one of the most historic sparkling wine properties in Spain, Raventos I blanc, and instead of spending the day touring the winemaking facilities, the owner, Pepe Raventos, changed plans and took us on his boat up the Catalan coast to the special town of Cadaques. We had some fantastic food an even better wine but most importantly we got to hear the stories and spend time conversing about wine and life itself. 


Why did you decide to become an instructor?

I’ve always loved sharing and teaching. For me the story of wine is about so many things. The people, the cultures the geography, there’s so much to get to know and experience and teaching is the best way to learn and push ourselves further and look at things in different ways.


What's your most memorable food and wine pairing?

The Spanish side of my family came to San Francisco a 100 years ago from Texas and as my great-grandfather didn’t not like the acidic tomato based Crab Cioppino everyone was serving, so they replaced the tomato with a traditional Mole sauce. This paired with an aged Rioja that’s spicy and complex with good acidity is something that can’t be missed. 


What's the biggest challenge in your job?

Taking things slow and not overwhelming myself with too much information. Accepting that we’ll never know everything and focusing on really understanding what’s important at the moment has been crucial in my development as an educator. 


What other passions beside wine do you have?

I am an avid skier in the winter and hiker in the summer and always enjoy traveling to new places, especially when I can combine these activities with exploring a new wine region. I recently hiked a part of the Tour du Mont Blanc and have a plan to hike the Camino de Santiago in the future. 

Name some recent wine discoveries that you find exciting.

Recently I was able to visit the northwest corner of Italy and spend time in Valle d’Aosta. This alpine area on the slopes of Mount Blanc is home to various indigenous varieties that we rarely see in the US. Also the altitude of these vineyards are so high that phylloxera never made here and there are many old vine vineyards producing some fantastic fruit. 


What do you think is the most unappreciated wine or region in the world?

Rias Baixas for higher end whites and even red wines. For too long the industry only saw the value with inexpensive mass produced Albarino which has steered people in the wrong direction. This area also used to produce a lot of red wines and they are slowing making a coming back!