Taking his love of wine to the next level, Sommelier Joshua Klapper develops an award-winning boutique winery label, crafting Burgundian-style wines from the most outstanding vineyards in Santa Barbara County and beyond.
Sommelier turned winemaker Joshua Klapper is the co-founder of this month's Pinot Noir Wine Club feature, Timbre Winery. Joshua began making wines in 2005 on California's Central Coast and realized that his Sommelier training had been the perfect preparation. Today, his small-production winery turns out exceptional wines that could rival any on the Central Coast.
Joshua Klapper grew up in Manhattan, New York and though he always had an insatiable thirst for learning, he decided not to pursue college immediately after high school. Instead, he followed the nontraditional path and started a professional serving career at New York's Coco Pazzo restaurant.
After just one year, Joshua found himself amidst the elite working at Cafe Boulud - he was just nineteen years old and one of the youngest servers ever to work at the acclaimed restaurant. Over the next three years, Joshua became an expert at blind tasting, he mastered the art of food and wine pairing, and he was exposed to some of the most renowned winemakers and vintages in the world. He also participated in weekly wine seminars that further opened his mind and palate to the expansive world of wine. It is easy to see why Joshua's time at Cafe Boulud is what led him to his great passion in life - wine.
In 2001, Joshua had the opportunity to move west, enroll at USC's Marshall School of Business, and be a part of the opening team for one of Los Angeles' most acclaimed restaurants, Sona. The restaurant opened the following year, and after just 6 months, Joshua's talents from Cafe Boulud were greatly recognized and he was offered the distinguished position of Wine Director. He even earned a Level I Sommelier Certification and designed a wine list that was nationally recognized and earned Sona a coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator in 2006.
After years of tasting wines professionally and then visiting the winemakers and regions he respected most, Joshua decided it was time to get his hands dirty and take on the next challenge - winemaking. Unlike most winemakers starting out, Joshua had a unique advantage. He had built strong relationships with many California winemakers through his work in the restaurant industry, and thus had access to some of the state's most renowned vineyard properties. Plus, let's not forget Joshua was an expert both at tasting and selling wines, so his palate was a force to be reckoned wine.
Joshua decided to focus on California's Central Coast, specifically Santa Barbara County and Monterey County, since Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are well-suited to their cooler climates and these are his two favorite varietals. He made his first bath of wines in 2004 and released a minuscule 225 cases. 2005 marked Joshua's first official vintage from his boutique wine label he initially named La Fenêtre (French for 'The Window'), and he later renamed the entity to Timbre Winery (in 2010).
Timbre (pronounced TIM-ber) is the "color" of music. It is what makes two voices sound different, even when singing the same song. It is why two winemakers, working with the same vineyards, make unique wine. As a terroir-driven winery, Timbre makes wines expressive of the places and times from which they came, and as a winemaker, Joshua channels those sites through his own experience, adding his own mark - Timbre - to the resulting wines.
In 2010, Joshua was joined by his best friend, Alex Katz, who now serves as the General Manager, Partner, and CFO for the winery. Joshua's wife, Chiasa, also helps out, taking care of the customer service and administration side of the company. Together, they are seeing Timbre grow into a leader in California's movement back to more balanced, food friendly, and terroir-driven wines. They are thrilled with the success of their small label and look forward to expanding further in the coming years.