October 20, 2021

Zolls Show

Show The Baby

Meet Jeremy Parzen, the new wine director at Roma in Rice Village

Jeremy Parzen describes himself as a “writer, translator, educator, songwriter, guitarist (and) music producer.” He forgot to contain “wine director,” his newest incarnation.

But Parzen will have to be forgiven for his omissions. When you’ve obtained as quite a few plates in the air as he does, who can keep track? He retains a Ph.D. from UCLA in Italian scientific studies. So he’s uniquely competent to be crafting an remarkable new Italian wine record for Roma restaurant in Rice Village, in no way head that he lacks any of the official alphabet-soup certifications that are seemingly requisites for the posture.

In their stead? Personalized relationships with myriad Italian winemakers and wine families proven through countless several hours of boots-on-ground voyages of discovery. My most recent conversation with Parzen took place over dinner in Alba, Italy.

He was there simply because he was back again teaching his course in wine and foods communications at the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche in nearby Pollenzo.

Completely fluent considering the fact that his grad-school years, Parzen enjoys an international viewers of aspiring foodstuff-and-wine entrepreneurs and/or journalists. He has been educating extended plenty of — the gig commenced in 2016 — that he’s beginning to bump into previous pupils doing work in the real globe of wine, which he finds “extremely gratifying.”

Parzen, now 54, was born into an affluent Jewish relatives in La Jolla, Calif., but he was not born into a wine-centric household. That passion improbably progressed from a unforgettable assembly with Sir Roy Potent, a famous English artwork historian who was the director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum when he came to speak at the College of California, San Diego, having been invited there by Parzen’s mom, a college continuing-education and learning plan director.

He majored in Italian at UCLA, spending his junior 12 months researching at the University of Padua and graduating with honors a year later. One more vacation to Italy adopted, encouraging him acquire a whole scholarship to UCLA’s graduate school. Parzen would go on to earn his doctorate — with a dissertation on medieval poetry — when touring northern Italy just about every summer time with his address band and paying a year functioning in the Vatican library on a Fulbright scholarship.

Up coming, he moved to New York in 1997 to reinvent himself. Early on, he landed a occupation with La Cucina Italiana, a large-profile Italian month-to-month magazine centered on gastronomy and foods culture. One particular of his initial assignments was to generate 300 words and phrases about Prosecco, which he’d occur to know nicely from his time in Padua. He submitted a 3,000-phrase piece instead. Yep, he was a author, all right.

The ten years put in in Manhattan proved to be a roller-coaster trip. He bought married, and divorced. With his spouse, a singer, he had joined a distinguished Klezmer band, owning before become aspect of a cooler-than-neat downtown fake French band. A music he co-wrote for that group bought for some significant bread to HP for an advertisement marketing campaign. Wine retail profits were in the combine as properly, and he also found time to work as a U.N. interpreter in 2003, when Italy held the presidency of the European Union.

“My time in New York proved to be a formative experience,” he claimed. “Not only did I satisfy some of my musical desires — I landed an album in the prime-10 higher education radio charts — but I also started generating the contacts and assembly the winemakers that would be vital to my vocation in wine.”

It was in close proximity to the finish of his tenure there, in 2007, that he introduced his blog site, Do Bianchi, which continues to this working day and grew to become, serendipitously, the automobile as a result of which he achieved his spouse, Tracie, who was blogging absent herself whilst living on Ischia, an island off the Italian coast, immediately after leaving her position training in an Austin elementary university at the age of 30 to flap her wings and practical experience the entire world.

They started to communicate by using email, and the friendship grew. A single night, soon after she experienced broken up with a longtime Italian boyfriend, she poured her coronary heart out to Parzen in a prolonged, psychological textual content message, telling him she needed to get back again to Texas and get on with her lifestyle. Following factor they both equally realized, Parzen would be shifting to Texas himself, to get on with his lifetime — and come to be section of hers.

In 2014, the Parzens moved to Houston. By 2016, he had landed the Italian teaching gig. Existence was likely swimmingly until the pandemic came alongside and a great deal of his profits stream evaporated. But Tracie stepped up, reinventing her stay-at-house-mom self as a actual estate agent virtually overnight this previous spring.

“We’re navigating the troubles of balancing residence everyday living in between two functioning parents and two pretty active young children,” he explained. “But Tracie has been having fun with her return to full-time work while I’m getting on much more of the parenting and household duties.”

Parzen is now back in Houston for a couple months in advance of he returns to Pollenzo to instruct a next session in September, and reinvigorating Roma’s wine application is entrance and center on his agenda. Owner Shanon Scott, who will tell you the practically weekly virtual Zoom wine dinners Parzen pulled together for him during the pandemic crisis stored the restaurant going, has not very presented him carte blanche, but Parzen promises to craft an intriguing, eclectic list that must be in area by year’s conclusion.

“Tuscany will stay a important focus of the plan,” Parzen mentioned, “but I’m scheduling on slowly but surely creating a library of reds from the Piemonte, which are still an unexplored group for a lot of Houston wine drinkers.”

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