Matt found his way to wine in 1995 while waiting tables to support a ski habit in Aspen, Colorado. Realizing the world of wine was a grand stage, he soon segued into wine sales—first for a local distributor and later for a national importer that afforded him annual pilgrimages to Burgundy. The hook was set deep.
In 2001, Matt and sommelier Kevin O’Connor connected while tasting wine in the back alley behind Spago-Beverly Hills. The two were critical of the heavy-handed wines of the day and wondered if it were possible to make some local wines that favored nuance over power. In 2005, relying on nothing more than their palates and their rolodexes, the two founded LIOCO. The traditional wines of Europe, and more restrained California wines of the 1980’s served as the inspiration.
Today the winery is completely family-owned. Matt and his wife Sara Licklider manage a small team from their office in Healdsburg, and produce the wines at Punchdown Cellars in nearby Santa Rosa. All of their fruit is purchased from family-owned vineyards spanning 200-miles and three counties (Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Mendocino).
When Matt is in the OFF position, he can be found on his 6’8 pintail at Ocean Beach or traversing out to the West Chutes at Squaw.