About the Company

Founded in 2016, Field Blend Selections is a new wine importing and distribution company based in New York City, serving the New York and New Jersey markets.

In both name and practice, Field Blend Selections celebrates agricultural traditions and diversity. The name is an homage to the nineteenth-century immigrants who co-planted an assortment of grape varieties in vineyards throughout the United States, many of which survive today. Alongside their vines, they often co-planted other crops, including fruits, grains, and legumes. This approach of co-mingling various plantings to achieve balance in the vineyards is now referred to as polyculture, and it is widely recognized as one of the best methods for naturally enriching soils and reducing disease. Polyculture, by replicating nature’s diverse ecosystems, produces healthier fruit without the necessity of artificial herbicides or pesticides.

At Field Blend Selections, we, too, believe in diversity and balance. Our portfolio of wines from around the world prioritizes wines of character made by grape growers with minimal intervention in the cellars. We believe that wine is an everyday accompaniment and we strive to bring wines of value to the market.


The Field Blend Team

Jake Halper of Field Blend Selections

Jake Halper

Jake Halper was first introduced to serious wine as a freshman at NYU in 1989. His roommate, who had gotten a job at Astor Wines & Spirits at age 17, invited him to various tastings with the motley crew of salespeople there. It was at one of these home tastings where Jake had what he likes to call his “wine epiphany.” There were two wines that he tried that evening that stick with him, a 1976 Schloss Vollrads Auslese and 1980 Penfolds Grange. They were revelations.

By Jake’s senior year, he had a part time job at Astor Wines and, after flirting with documentary film, continued working with wine. While working at Astor, Jake also became an administrator/teacher at the prestigious International Wine Center before joining Michael Skurnik Wines in 1996.

When he joined, Skurnik had less than 20 employees. By the time he left in 2003, the company had grown to 50 employees and sales had quintupled. The small size and rapid growth of the company meant that Jake had multiple responsibilities throughout the years: customer service manager (where he trained all new hires and groomed them for future roles in sales or portfolio management), sales representative, and portfolio manager for Italy, Spain, California and Chile.  He was ultimately named as an Executive Vice President at Skurnik.  In 2004 Jake joined Europvin, a prestigious importer of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Hungarian wines, where he was in charge of sales for the Northeast U.S., Florida, and Puerto Rico.

In 2009, after getting married and starting a family, Jake joined David Bowler Wines, where he was critical in bringing the Louis/Dressner portfolio the company. In addition to managing the Louis/Dressner portfolio, Jake managed a growing book of direct Italian imports.

Jake started Field Blend Selections in 2016.

 
Harrison Miller of Field Blend Selections

Harrison Miller

For as long as he can remember, Harrison has always enjoyed and appreciated great food, coffee, and wine. After studying Spanish and environmental studies in college, he decided to move west to San Francisco and break into the coffee scene there. He started off as a barista at Google’s headquarters but had his eyes set on roasting and sourcing coffee. About a year later, he started roasting coffee for a coffee company called Front Coffee in San Francisco. After honing his skills on the roaster, he also began sourcing Front’s Coffee from Bay Area importing companies, which exposed him to the vast diversity of coffee varietals and flavor profiles. He also helped expand Front’s wholesale coffee operations.

At the beginning of 2015, a longtime interest in wine led him to Australia, where he interned on a small dry-farmed vineyard in Heathcote, about two hours north of Melbourne. From there, he moved on to two vineyards in Sicily, COS in the southeast, and Ciro Biondi on the southern slopes of Mt. Etna. This year of deep exploration of the production side of wine captivated him and laid the groundwork for a start in wine sales when he relocated to New York in January 2016.

After nearly one year of wine sales experience in the New York market, Harrison is thrilled to join the Field Blend Team and share his passion for and knowledge of wine.

 

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Fabrizio Barbagelata

Fabrizio developed a passion for food at an early age, and grew up dreaming of working in restaurants.  Growing up in a Peruvian household, cooking and hosting friends was an integral part of his childhood, but dining out and exploring restaurants was generally reserved for special occasions.  Fabrizio’s liberal arts education revolved around, studying politics, managing the student run café, and exploring the food scene in Philadelphia.  Fabrizio made his way back to New York, and worked several jobs after college before being offered a shot as a service manager at a top neighborhood restaurant in the West Village. 

Fabrizio’s position resulted in an incredible education, learning to manage a seasoned staff of restaurant professionals, who taught him the ins and outs of service.  It was there that Fabrizio stumbled into a passion for wine that he hadn’t known existed.  Not only was it the pleasure in drinking and experiencing great bottles that he got a chance to taste, it was also the connection to the guests in the restaurant that sparked Fabrizio’s passion for wine. 

After several years focusing on learning as much as possible about the world of wine through his work as a wine buyer, Fabrizio’s excited to join the Field Blend Selections team, broadening his knowledge even further, and sharing wines with other wine professionals throughout New York.  

Amanda Miller-Burg

Amanda Miller-Burg

A fortuitous introduction brought Amanda to the wine world. She met David Bowler weeks before he launched his new company and was hired as his first employee. Educated by passionate and experienced industry veterans, Amanda's early wine lessons revolved around Burgundy and Germany - not necessarily the typical starting point - so it's obvious why she was so quickly hooked.
 
It was easy to fall for wine and the industry, and for Amanda, the idea that wine could tell a story was the most compelling part. She loves the experience that goes with wine and believes that the addition of wine turns food into a meal. And as Field Blend Selections emphasizes, Amanda cares about balance and diversity in wine.

Amanda received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University and her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. She has held a number of roles with growing businesses in operations and financial management within the food, wine, and hospitality industry, including COO for City Winery, Director of Business Operations for an independent fine dining restaurant group in Buffalo, New York, and COO & Director of Finance for David Bowler Wine. She is thrilled to bring her experience and enthusiasm to Field Blend Selections as a partner.

For close to a decade, Amanda also taught dance to children and adults. She takes great pride in her past and present involvement with various community-oriented studios and after-school programs in New York City and Buffalo. Amanda is also a big fan of her husband and their son. 
 

 
 
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Carolyn Walther

Growing up in a family of oenophiles, wine has always been personal for Carolyn. At every meal, whether pizza on a Friday night or Christmas Eve dinner, wine brought people to the table. A shared bottle was a communal experience. While studying abroad in Paris, Carolyn first encountered the distinctive joy of local wines.  Traveling throughout France, she heard many stories of a shared history and learned that the cultural ties to wine were often as strong as familial ones.

After graduating from college, where she majored in Middle Eastern History and French, Carolyn entered the fashion industry, working for legendary costume jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane. As she transitioned through different roles, managing key accounts and directing press operations, the best part of the each workday remained the same: coming home to a glass of wine.

In 2013, Carolyn picked up her first Petillant Naturel from a neighborhood wine shop. She was instantly smitten and soon fell down a rabbit hole of natural wines, amazed by the way a wine that has developed without manipulation can transport you to an exact place and time. Through books and helpful store clerks, Carolyn taught herself the basics of viniculture, hosting a nightly tasting group of one (although her cat often observed).

When the opportunity arose to join Field Blend Selections, Carolyn jumped at the chance to make her passion a profession. She is delighted to bring her enthusiasm and curiosity for wine to the sales team.