Doc (James) Wilson is a culinary icon who worked as a sommelier at Jake’s Famous Crawfish in Portland, Oregon from 1982-2014. Wilson grew up in Seattle, Washington, where he found a talent for baseball before later deciding to find a different career path. Soon after beginning college, he joined the Army and was trained as a medic. In Vietnam, he earned his nickname “Doc,” which stuck even after returning home. He came to Portland with family and finished school, working various jobs over the years. He began his illustrious career in the wine industry at Jake’s Famous Crawfish. Wilson taught himself the ways of wine and soon began buying for the restaurant and earning his place in the growing industry. His reputation continues to grow today in his position as a wine tour guide.
This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College archivist Rachael Cristine Woody with Doc Wilson, formerly wine master of Jake’s Famous Crawfish in Portland, Oregon. The interview took place at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on January 13, 2015 and covered topics including Wilson’s immersion into wine, the 5 “S”s involved in tasting wine, and Wilson’s perspective on how the industry has changed.