MasterAbout This Expert
Richard Betts, 36, was born in Syracuse, N.Y., but grew up in Tucson, Ariz. And he’s taken an off-the-beaten path to the wine business, graduating from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1994 before going on to earn a master’s degree in Paleofluvialmorphology [a specialized branch of geology] from Northern Arizona University in 1996.
Betts first took notice of wine while spending time in Florence, Italy, in 1992, but it wasn’t until 1996 that he decided to pursue a career in wine, first working as a cook and then accepting a job as sommelier at Janos in Tucson. He spent two years as sommelier at Janos, building up the wine program there before moving in 2000 to take the sommelier position at Montagna at the Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner since 1997. Today Betts also partners with Dennis Scholl in their Betts & Scholl label, which produces wines from Australia and France’s Rhône Valley. He also assists fellow sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, both of Boulder, Colo.’s Frasca restaurant, with their own wine label, La Scarpetta, which produces and imports Italian wines.