How NVIDIA Helped Drive Me to Drink (Better)

by Chris Gonzales

Live, Eat, Drink……..

That’s my motto and they are each my passion. I love to cook, host, and drink wine – that’s where living starts for me.

I work at NVIDIA’s Human Resources department.  I have spent over six great years here.  The great thing about my job is that it allows me to live by my mantra… with a high-tech twist.

I’m one of the lucky few oenophiles – the technical term for “lovers of wine” – who are able to work for a company where I can combine the world of fine wine with the fascinating world of cutting edge technology. Thanks to an NVIDIA GeForce-powered PC and Tegra-powered mobile devices (not to mention plenty of work with my two hands), I now have a new walk-in wine cellar to call my own.

Where it all started

“Wine Tasting” room never disappoints

I bought my home in 2004 from a friend. I always loved its layout, the beautifully quiet neighborhood, the warm oak floors and the spacious yard – just to name a few. Then there was the large walk in closet that had previously been used to store extra pots, pans, food processors, etc.  I knew the day would come when I would turn that walk in closet into a wine cellar.

As I was home over the holiday I was sitting on my couch, relaxed and happy. That’s when I had thoughts of beginning my wine cellar project. I had started researching this project years ago, but the timing just didn’t make sense.

The last few years have been very tough on the wine market. For example, Napa Valley Cabernet wines, as delicious as they are, recently faced difficult times selling moderate to high-end labels. Wines from $40 – $100 were hit the hardest since touch economic times have cut wine buyers’ discretionary spending.

Luckily, I have friends and family in the industry since 1994, and I’ve been a member of a few great wineries and a few special allocated wine lists.

With a wine market being strangled by the economy, my private lists finally came in very handy. I was being offered these Cabernets at over 50 percent off. Thanks to my various industry connections I now have a collection of over 750 fairly valuable bottles of wine.

Building the dream

Tuscan limestone flooring

To address the problem of storing several hundred bottles of wine, I decided to build a custom, walk-in wine cellar. For the design phase of the build, I used a CAD (computer-aided design) program on a PC running an NVIDIA GTX 580 graphics card.  I designed the cellar, submitted the design for review and it was approved.

There were almost too many options to choose from, but I figured since I was taking the plunge, there would be no cutting corners for cost. I ordered stained mahogany racks, a mahogany door with arched window and Tuscan limestone tile to give my new cellar and my expansive array of wines the air of refinement they deserve. The environmental control system keeps the wine at a consistent 57 degrees and 70 percent humidity level.

My collection has grown so large, in fact, that I’ve recruited my trusty Tegra-powered Motorola XOOM Android tablet and Samsung Glyde super phone to help me keep track of my reds, whites, Italian labels, California labels and everything in between.

Keeping tabs on all this wine is not a simple matter. I use a web-based tool called CellarTracker, which I can access from anywhere using my phone or tablet. CellarTracker allows me to catalog my collection, add tasting notes, read professional and consumer reviews and, most importantly, record the location of bottles in my new wine cellar. That last part is especially important when you’re dealing with 750+ bottles.

The wine road ahead

The finished wine cellar

Now that my high-tech “oeno-system” is in place, I’m looking forward to taking my passion to the next level and help fellow oenophiles here at NVIDIA and beyond.

I’ve had the luxury of tasting thousands of wines, and have taken notes on most of them. My goal is to start incorporating my wine tasting notes and ratings into my personal blog at I’d like to share my experiences and knowledge with the greater food and wine community.

My hope is that foodies and oenophiles around the world can use my blog as a resource to create loving memories.

I am also building a partnership with and will be bringing their wines to our events to leverage wonderful wines with great pricing.

Are you a wine lover? Let me know what you think of my wine cellar project in the comments below!