Forty-somethings Ben Heskett and Joe Colgan met in 2009 during a wine entrepreneurship course at Sonoma State. At the time, they were both working in industries outside of wine (technology and finance, respectively) but were eager to explore career paths on the proverbial wine trail. In 2010, Corkzilla became that outlet.

They use the blog to share tasting and travel experiences, report industry news (Heskett has a journalism background) and "try to demystify and democratize wine," Heskett says. Here's one way: Heskett and Colgan are both musicians and pen occasional wine and music pairings on the blog. When renowned jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd passed away last year, they wrote a post pairing two of his hard-bop compositions with a 2009 Ridge Vineyards merlot. All three were "silky, sultry, and full of spice." We caught up with Heskett, who lives in San Francisco. Check out both bloggers' musings at www.corkzilla.com.

First encounter: "Robert Sinskey pinot noir: I was doing dinners with friends at Caffe Delle Stelle in Hayes Valley. It was around 1995, so the wines were probably vintages from the early '90s," Heskett says. "I also remember I had a friend that turned me on to some of the early Tablas Creek blends. The Tablas Rouge in 1998 was the first case of wine I ever purchased. It was amazing."

Latest discovery: "The last couple of years have been Rhone-heavy for me. I've been uncovering values wherever they grow syrah and grenache. I found a great value Spanish garnacha, the 2012 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta ($10). It's from old vines and has great finesse and depth that's not overpowering, plus that Old World flavor that I really like."

Tuesday night pairing: "I would throw together pasta and a meat sauce that has some spice to it, inspired by the an amazing Bolognese I like to order at Scopa in Healdsburg. Grenache is fairly balanced, yet when you pull back the layers, there's spice and peppery notes and that goes well with a spicy, heavy meat sauce."

-- J. Yadegaran, Staff