ONE ON ONE | Edward Goist Animal naturalist doubles as wine aficionado

What influenced you to work with animals?
I've been interested in animals my whole life. Growing up, I was in Mill Creek Park an awful lot of my youth, and a connection between animals, nature and myself has always been strong.
What's the most favorite pet you've ever owned?
That's difficult. That's almost like asking who your favorite child is because they all have unique personalities and they all offer so many different things.
Have you ever had any unique pets?
There are so many homeless dogs and cats in the United States, and in our area as well, that I feel a person should take on the number of dogs and cats that they can comfortably afford a good home to, instead of taking on exotic animals.
Are there any pet peeves you have with pet owners?
One is outdoor cats. Animal Charity and myself feel very strongly that domestic cats should be indoors only. It's much healthier on the cat; cats are very susceptible to contagious diseases. Additionally ... they take a tremendous toll on our native wildlife.
Where's your favorite place to go in the Mahoning Valley?
Definitely Mill Creek Park. I learned to drive on the roads in Mill Creek Park. I believe that Mill Creek Park is one of the keys to maintaining a high quality of life in the Mahoning Valley. Not to get political, but I'm a staunch supporter of the levy for the park that's coming due. I'm an active member of the citizens council to get that levy passed, and I really feel that Mill Creek Park is one of the gems of the Valley.
What do you like to do there?
Oh, a lot of walking. I like to walk around Lake Newport. I live fairly close, and the trails around Lake Newport are spectacular. I also like to drive through the park; I make a point of driving through the park every day.
Where do you like to eat around here?
Alberini's Restaurant is probably my favorite restaurant. Not only for the service and the menu, but of course the wine list is exceptionally good. Additionally, I like the Springfield Grille. I think the Springfield Grille is a very, very good restaurant, as is Rachel's Steak & amp; Seafood. But I give them to you in that order: Alberini's, Springfield Grille and Rachel's.
You serve as a consultant at Michael Charles Premium Wines.
A lot of it is wine education. Helping to choose wines to add to the inventory. One of my expertise's would probably be European wines, French and German wines in particular. I try to broaden the scope from which people can choose so that they're not just stuck with domestic wine. To show them, for example, that if they like a California Cabernet Sauvignon, they're probably going to like a Bordeaux wine from the Medoc region.
What's your favorite wine on the market right now?
Oh God, that's like "What's your favorite pet?" The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon. Montes does an exceptional job with his entire line, but his higher tiered bottling -- the Alpha line -- which retails at around the $20 range, drinks like a $40 wine.
Do you do any wine making?
I've been a home wine maker for several years. Right now, along with some partners, I'm going through the process of trying to get our wine making operation bonded so we would be a commercial winery for the state of Ohio. We already have registered the name; it's Odyssey Cellars.
What will be Odyssey's specialty?
We have a philosophy of enhancing the quality of life in the Valley by making premium wines that are affordable and that are very user friendly. We plan on making half of our production, in the early stages, from grapes from California, and half of our production from grapes in the eastern region.