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A three day celebration of Champagne and sparkling wine in Los Angeles

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Clifton Dates

Born in a small commercial fishing town on the coast of Virginia, my family and I were blessed with an abundance of seafood, fresh produce from our gardens, and plenty of sweet water from a natural spring.

My parents divorced when I was six years old, which resulted in my mother relocating herself and three children to Baltimore, MD. where we lived until I graduated from high school in 1971. Known for my ambitious and outgoing spirit, I always sought to pursue interests and life differently from my friends and classmates. I attended an engineering high school because of the significant challenge it presented – even with a limited math and science background – and sought to pursue a college education outside of the state of Maryland for exposure and education in an environment that broadened my outlook on life.

My college career brought me to Boston, MA, where I studied health administration and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration degrees from Northeastern University. For a two year period, I worked as an administrator at the Dr. S.C. Fuller Mental Health Center of the Boston University Medical Center as the Director of Medical Records & Information Systems. As I progressed further into my career, the lure and attraction of the business and finance industries led to an attractive offer from the Prudential Insurance Company, which resulted in a very diverse career in a number of capacities in the insurance industry.

At a very early age, my mom taught me the basics about food preparation and southern cooking, which was the birth of my enthusiasm and insatiable interest in the food and wine industry today. Virginians are known for their passion for food and the joy derived from feeding friends and family into a gastronomic coma. We further are known for making wine from indigenous fruits and fortunately for me, my tenure with the San Antonio Winery provided an outlet to further my growth and express my passion for the genre of food and wine. My involvement in the industry further extends to my contribution of time and energy to the major food and wine festivals in Los Angeles and Orange counties each year as a volunteer Sommelier to help generate funds and support for local charities that provide aid to local communities.

As a transplant from the east coast, I now reside in the south bay with my wife of thirteen years who is a gifted Exercise Physiologist and Pilates expert who trains an extensive domestic and international clientele and conducts Pilates certification training courses worldwide.

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