Where it all
What happens when you have a restaurant manager, turned pursuant sommelier, turned winemaker? Robert Haynes. Born and raised in New Orleans, Haynes had offers to various universities throughout the nation, but sought to develop his skills within New Orleans at the University of New Orleans (UNO). During his time at the University of New Orleans, Haynes served as Student Chapter President of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Treasurer of the Theta Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, and Social Chair of the College of Business Executive Council. His first true introduction to wine was during his senior year at UNO, where he took “Wines of The World”, where he had the opportunity to take the CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine Exam). After not passing by a small margin, Haynes found a huge interest in every facet of wine.
To further develop his classroom experience, Haynes worked all Front of House stations at Citricos, Gordon Biersch, Zea Rotisserie and Grill, and found his second home at John Besh’s Luke Restaurant. At Luke, he climbed the ranks from server, to bartender to banquet captain, and became a manager after his first year. Looking for a change of pace and new growth, Haynes transferred to Johnny Sanchez New Orleans, where he served in the capacity as Bar Manager for a year and a half. Throughout his nine years in hospitality, Haynes found one common interest, beverage and specifically wine.
It was during a walk on a beach in Maui after spending twenty hours over two days in a classroom where he completed his Introductory Court of Masters Sommelier, that he realized his true passion was in wine. Upon returning back to New Orleans, he left Johnny Sanchez and thought for two weeks what aspect of wine really inspired him. After researching different aspects of wine with sales, food and beverage, and production, Haynes found production to be at the top of the list. Soon after he applied to University California -Davis’ Winemaking Certificate Program, who had a lengthy waitlist on a Thursday and was accepted on a Monday. To get more hands on experience in the industry, Haynes moved to California to work harvest in one of Jackson Family’s newest acquisitions, Siduri Winery in Sonoma County. At Siduri, Haynes helped process 450 tons of grapes, which translated to 56,000 cases of wine. After completing his harvest with Siduri, He relaunched his New Orleans based business Tasting Tuesdays, a hands on, interactive take on wine tasting at Drink lab New Orleans. Haynes is currently finishing up at University California - Davis and working in different wineries to further his craft to pursue his own label.
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