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July 21, 2021, 12:20 p.m. EDT

Worldwise: Crurated Chief Strategy Officer Christy Erickson’s Favorite Things

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As a kid, Christy Erickson spent countless summers in the city of Eger, in her mother’s native Hungary. The highlight was roaming around the family’s wine cellar, a space crammed with bottles that she treated like a playground. 

“A lot of my interest in wine goes back to those moments of us all together there. They are what I remember the most vividly from my childhood,” says the chief strategy officer of the newly launched membership-based wine community, Crurated

Those memories ultimately led Erickson, 38, to a career in wine. While studying environmental law, she wrote her thesis on the consequences of pesticide runoff in vineyards, but it was only when she was left unfulfilled by three years of practicing law in Washington, D.C., that she dove back into wine fully. She pored over books, took classes, and eventually worked for a small biodynamic importer.

Then, in 2010, Erickson landed a job in the wine department at Christie’s New York, and was “immediately hooked” by the heady realm of auctions. “I felt like a little kid in a candy shop, because I was working with the rarest wines in the world and getting to taste things that I would otherwise never get to,” she says. 

Next came Zachys, a New York-based wine auction house, where she developed the company’s European arm, a position that allowed her to move to Paris in 2018.

“The most interesting piece of auctions for me is the historical research into the bottles and collections and the fascinating stories,” she says. “It just feels like you are treasure hunting all the time.”

Founded by Alfonso de Gaetano , who leads Google Publishers business across EMEA emerging markets, Crurated brings together oenophiles who sign up for one of four membership levels. After perusing the wines on offer, they bid on the hand-picked collections spanning mixed cases and library vintages from venerable producers across Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne, such as Domaine Fourrier, Armand Heitz , and Vilmart & Cie. Soon, Italy and other regions in France, such as  the Loire Valley and Jura, will be added to the mix.

When they first met at a wine dinner, Erickson instantly sensed de Gaetano’s enthusiasm for the industry, but also his frustration. 

“As a new collector, he ran into a lot of the classic challenges of people who love and want to buy these wines, but either can’t get them because of the strict allocation policies, or when they can, they’re for outrageous prices. He also battled with wine provenance and storage problems and those things came to a head for him,” Erickson says.. 

A desire for a more democratic and streamlined platform is what motivated de Gaetano to establish Crurated. All bottles are sealed with unique blockchain codes that track the wine as soon as it leaves each producerto ensure authenticity; members receive complimentary storage at Crurated’s temperature- and humidity-controlled warehouse in Burgundy; and all the wines come straight from the cellars, eliminating the middleman and “closing the gap between buyer and producer,” Erickson says..

Recently, Penta chatted with Erickson about some of her passions.

My earliest wine memory is… Egri Bikavér, the famous Hungarian “Bull’s Blood” wine. There was always a bottle in the house, and as kids,  we were given a thimble of it when we were feeling sick.  

The trip I’m most excited to take is to… Japan—for the culture, the cuisine, and the ceramics.

What I love most about Paris… the sidewalk cafes and caves à manger. La Crèmerie and Sauvage in the sixth arrondissement are two favorites. 

The wine region I’m currently most excited about is… Alsace. There is a whole new generation of winemakers who have spent time learning in other regions and are bringing it back, implementing those practices and elevating the quality of the traditional wines, as well as pushing boundaries and experimenting with varietals and techniques.

My favorite wine bar, anywhere in the world, is… Il Santino in Florence, for enjoying a bottle while sitting on the sidewalk outside the little cobblestone street and talking with the locals. 

Where I find inspiration… growing up, we spent a lot of time as a family visiting national parks, hiking, and camping. My parents are both passionate about farming and gardening, which they have passed on to their children. For me, any moment in nature is one that inspires and makes me stop, watch, listen, and learn.

The vineyards I most want to visit are in… Georgia, the birthplace of wine. The history of winemaking there dates back almost 10,000 years. It’s one of the wine regions I’ve always dreamed of visiting to learn about the historical practices and use of qvevri (egg-shaped terra cotta vessels) and to see the ancient varietals grown there. 

How I unwind… yoga—and cooking with music and wine.

One of my favorite things to cook is… fresh pasta, with a glass of Emidio Pepe Cerasuolo from Abruzzo, Italy.

My go-to glassware is… Zalto Universal, because it truly is universal. I use it for everything, from Champagne to Beaujolais. It’s a glass that actually adds to the pleasure and enjoyment of drinking. 

The best book I recently read… The Metamorphosis of Plants by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , written in the late 18th century.

This article has been edited for length and clarity.

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