Jonathan Cristaldi came west by way of New York City, where he led a dual existence—a radio publicist by day, and avant-garde solo-performance-artist by night (stage name: Jonny Cigar). Aiming to combine his performance endeavors with a burgeoning curiosity in wine, Jonathan founded The Noble Rot, a clandestine pop-up wine salon that brought together sommeliers, winemakers and amateur enthusiasts—swirling, sniffing and sipping away while live musical entertainment underscored the tastings. The club quickly gained notoriety and its activities were featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal. Cristaldi has also appeared in shows on the Cooking Channel and HGTV.

In 2011, while working harvest in Napa Valley, Time Out New York named Jonathan a “Wine Prophet” for his outgoing personality and creative, unconventional approach to wine education. During his time in Napa, he acted as a social media consultant for Ram’s Gate Winery, hosted tastings at Swanson Vineyards and worked the crushpad at Alpha Omega Winery.

By early 2012, after a brief stint aboard a Brooklyn-bound L-train, a career in beverage journalism began to take shape as Jonathan was invited to contribute articles on wine to Complex Magazine’s First We Feast (a James Beard award winning blog). He moved to Los Angeles with his wife and began writing for Time Out L.A., and The Tasting Panel Magazine.

In 2013, The Tasting Panel brought Jonathan on board as Deputy Editor (the magazine later acquired The SOMM Journal and the DE position extends to it as well). In addition to his roll at both magazines, JC is a regular contributor to Los Angeles Magazine’s “Liquid LA” blog, and Jonathan is WSET Level 3 certified and is a WSET Nominated Educator working with the Napa Valley Wine Academy.

While working harvest in Napa Valley in 2011, he produced a podcast series of interviews with prominent winemakers such as Chris Phelps (Ad Vivum, Swanson Vineyards), Robert Foley (Robert Foley Vineyards, Switchback) and Jean Hoefliger (Alpha Omega) — archived episodes are here: Noble Rot Talks.


Tweets from: @NobleRotNYC (ideas expressed are my own and not that of my employers’)