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Sam Sadden, Class of 2006, reflects on Iowa Law

Wine, Law School and Lasting Friendship

When I started law school at the University of Iowa as a summer starter in May 2004, I wasn’t sure who I would meet in my first classes. Type A gunners in head-to-toe Brooks Brothers? Diehard liberals who want to save the whales via human rights law? Maybe some people in between?    

Our summer start group was small and I quickly realized that I would be making some lasting friendships while learning about the finer points of criminal and property law. In the fall of 2016 many of us from the 2004 summer start program will rekindle those friendships in Iowa City at our ten year reunion.  

One friendship from that group has proven to literally be fruitful; fermented grapes to be exact. Michel Ayer was my Jessup International Law Moot Court partner and we became fast friends. I got to know him and his wife Stacy Workman Ayer over dinners, brief editing sessions and early morning tennis matches.  

Michel’s family has deep roots in agriculture in Iowa and California and Stacy’s family has a long history in the California wine business. Before Michel began his studies at the Boyd Law Building, he and Stacy were working at vineyards in Napa. As a wine enthusiast, I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss and drink wine with them.

I have fond memories of going to the New Pioneer Coop and John’s Grocery with Michel and taking notes of all the great wines he pointed out. And one afternoon, when I was trudging down to my study cubicle in the basement of our beautiful law library, I was delighted to find a bottle of Opus One sitting on my desk. To this day, I assume it was a token of gratitude seeing that I took on the laboring oar of our moot court team.

After law school, I moved to Europe and Michel and Stacy moved to Phoenix where he was an associate at a Big Law firm. Michel and Stacy dreamed of making their own wines and that is exactly what they did when they created Workman Ayer Wines a few years ago.

Workman Ayer has two wines in its stable, the “de facto” which is a red blend and the “ipso facto” white which is one hundred percent Viognier. You may need a copy of Black’s Law Dictionary handy to look up the names of these wines but I can wholeheartedly confirm from personal experience that both are fantastic. I have been ordering wines from Stacy and Michel since day one.

I recently had the pleasure of helping Michel pour some Workman Ayer juice at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills after having not seen him for a few years. It was great to catch up and in the process I learned about wine making terms such as pumpovers vs. punchdowns, malolactic fermentation and heavy lees.

So raise a glass of Workman Ayer Wine to lasting friendships, Jean de Fiennes and the University of Iowa College of Law.

And be sure to check out

Go Hawkeyes!
Sam Sadden (‘06)     

Sam Sadden is an attorney and consultant working primarily in New York and Washington D.C. Since graduating from Iowa Law, he has clerked for the European Court of Justice, interned for the European Commission DG Competition, and practiced as an associate at firms in Brussels, Belgium where he focused on antitrust and trade matters.

Sam Sadden (Class of 2006) and Michel Ayer (Class of 2007)