We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Kaner and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Matthew, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has only recently been clearly defined in my life and career. As a younger entrepreneur, I didn’t assess risk as much as I could or should have. I followed a feeling, jumped on an opportunity, and went for it because it felt right. Only after I closed a business for the first time did I start to understand risk as a continuum with highs and lows. Bar Covell seemed like fate. I opened the wine bar with Dustin Lancaster in 2010 when we were young and excited and we worked our butts off. Augustine Wine Bar came next, and that too seemed like it was meant to happen. Bring educational and fun drinking experiences tailored to a neighborhood, and the business will follow. But when I opened a restaurant in 2017, my relationship to risk changed dramatically. I’ll never be the same after opening (and closing) Good Measure. For better or for worse, that’s still yet to be seen. Now, though, I look at any and all feelings and opportunities differently. Add in COVID-19, and anything more than waking up daily seems risky 🙂 The hospitality industry is likely changed forever. I, too, am forever changed. I’m thankful to have a more clear perspective on risk, now, with both successes and “failures” under my belt. This has allowed me to understand that I learn way more from the “failure”.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Nothing about forging a career comes easy. You must have passion, invest the time, and find a way to connect. I pride myself as being a modern raconteur, now the stories I tell are those of the history of wine and the people who forged ahead to bring us to modernity. Within the wine world it’s easy to focus on what wines smell and taste like, but I prefer to tell the story of the region, the vineyard, the winemaker. To me, those are the most interesting things to focus on. What things smell and taste like are open to interpretation, but the story of how the vineyards were planted and the passion of the families behind the decisions, that’s where the rad stuff happens.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
With COVID this is a bit tough to truly accomplish, remember when we used to go to bars and restaurants? Taco Trucks are a must-see in LA, so one night is dedicated to a taco truck hop. I love Taco Zone, Mariscos Jalisco, and Tacos al Pastorcito. A hike up to the griffith park observatory is obligatory! Also a hike to Millard Falls up above Altadena, with a bottle of Champagne to open once we reach the falls. It’s not LA without eating Night+Market, so nowadays I order delivery and eat it on my terrace overlooking the Silverlake Reservoir. Crispy rice salad, party wings, pork toro, and the panang curry with hangar steak makes for a pretty darn tasty evening. The next night you have to BBQ at my house, invite a few friends over (no more than 6 people total) and we grill while drinking epic wines and have the Dodgers game on in the house so we can keep up with their epic baseball playing. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to the Silverlake Wine crew. George, Randy, and April. I moved to Los Angeles trying to be a singer/songwriter and with their help I realized my path and lane in the community as a person who can communicate about wine. They allowed me to be me, parented me at times, helped me gain perspective, and showed me truly what being a part of the community looks and feels like. I’m forever grateful.

Website: http://www.sommtv.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/matthewjkaner/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewjkaner/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/matthewjkaner
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matthewjkaner
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/covell-los-angeles

Image Credits
for the Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40 photo please credit: Ashton Worthington

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