In Fords in Four, we ask a Haverford School alumnus four questions about his time at the School and about his life beyond. This month, Hayden Felice ’93 shared his thoughts on literature, wine, and the restaurant industry. Felice is a co-founder and winemaker at Trippers & Askers, while also serving as a sales representative at Beaune Imports.
What friend or mentor relationship from the Haverford School has influenced you?
The friends I made at Haverford have all influenced me one way or another, either in the midst of the community then, or routinely from 1980 to present day. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the English Department and my attendant and persistent love of letters.
The Haverford School taught me the value of loyalty, camaraderie, and friendship. It gave me an appreciation of aesthetics.
Trippers and Askers gets its name from a Walt Whitman poem, Song of Myself #4. Who are some of your favorite writers?
All of my cuvée names are derived from literature I love. Some of my favorites are Bishop, Lowell, Dickinson, Auden, Brodsky, Melville, Pynchon, M. Amis, Foster Wallace, and Beckett.
What do you find most enjoyable about making great wine?
I’m not sure I’ve achieved greatness yet, but crafting something I can not only drink alone and appreciate, but also share and discuss, is quite satisfying. Connecting with people who like the wine obviously amplifies the satisfaction. Talking to someone who has been moved, to whatever limited extent, by the wine, or, at the very least, has paused and actually thought about it, is always a treat for me.
Managing red fermentations is also quite fun, as there’s a lot of feel involved when you work as low tech as I do.
What lessons from the restaurant industry have you brought to your daily life?
Patience. Problem solving on the fly. The need for level-headed, honest, and forthright communication under fire. The importance of culture in any organization.
I do feel like it most likely would be a good idea for everyone to work in a restaurant at some point, even if it’s for just a week.
Also, you can tell a lot about a person by how he or she treats service staff.
(Watch The Bear; it’s pretty good—especially Season 2, Episode 6. The family Christmas episode—has nothing to do with restaurants but is riveting television. Disclaimer: skip if prone to anxiety.)