ARTHUR von WIESENBERGER
Host of “Around The World” KZSB Radio
Arthur von Wiesenberger was born in New York City and spent his childhood between Manhattan and his family's country home in Pound Ridge, Westchester County. He was given the nickname "Nipper" because of a friendship that his father, Arthur Sr, had with David Sarnoff, then the head of RCA. Nipper is the name of the RCA dog on "His Master's Voice" recording label.
Arthur's father was an investment banker. He had two seats on the New York Stock Exchange, owned a financial services company, Wiesenberger & Company, and produced numerous financial publications including the annual yearbook, Investment Companies. Arthur's mother, Frances Bayes, was a singer and actress, born in Los Angeles, California.
In the early 1960s the family moved to Rome, Italy. Arthur Sr. sold his company to the Nuveen Corporation and semi-retired. He consulted with the Vatican until his death in 1970. They lived at the Costello Olgita in La Storta and spent summers at Porto Santo Stefano.
Arthur "Nipper" von Wiesenberger attended Aiglon College in Villars, Switzerland. He learned French and Italian while at Aiglon and became the editor of the school newspaper, Quest. Before leaving Aiglon, he ran the school film club and produced short films about the school. An active board member of FOAC (Friends of Aiglon College) he received an Aiglon College Citation Award in 2008.
His interest in filmmaking evolved into summer jobs working with his school friend, Erik Friedl, on films for Swissair, the Swiss National Tourist Office and the Comoro government. The documentaries that Mr von Wiesenberger and Mr Friedl produced won numerous awards including the Photographic Society of America's "10 Best", and the PSA Golden Microphone and Best Editing Awards. In 1972 Mr. von Wiesenberger produced and directed the award-winning White on White about skiing down the Eiger (mountain) in Switzerland.
In 1973 Mr. von Wiesenberger attended Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California completing a course in motion picture production in 1976. He then worked for Herman Saunders, a seasoned Hollywood television producer known for Dragnet, Adam 12 and F Troop. Mr. von Wiesenberger was the associate producer of Hollywood Out-Takes with Marilyn Beck which aired on NBC in 1977.
In 1978, Mr. von Wiesenberger wrote his first book on bottled water, Oasis: The Complete Guide to Bottled Water Throughout the World (Capra Press). The book's timing, with the growing popularity of bottled water in the United States, launched
Mr. von Wiesenberger's career into a new direction. Around that time Anheuser-Busch hired him to consult for their beverage division which was exploring water sources and companies. Over the next decade he worked on a number of AB products including "A Sante" bottled water in Santa Rosa, California, ultimately finding the company a natural mineral water source in Northern California. His consulting business expanded to other beverage companies including Perrier, Evian, San Pellegrino, Mountain Valley, Chippewa Springs, Hawaiian Springs, Vittel and many others.
In the course of his writings on water, Mr. von Wiesenberger participated in the first water tasting by Les Amis de L'Eau at the Vizcaya Palace in Miami, March 1978. Subsequently he organized the Great Bay Area Water Tasting for The San Francisco Chronicle which was published on June 9th, 1980. He has served as the Water Master at The Winter Festival of Waters, Berkeley Springs, 1991 - 2009.
Originally starting as a hobby in 1982, Mr. von Wiesenberger and his childhood friend from Europe, Horatio Lonsdale-Hands, opened a Champagne bar in Montecito, California called "Nipper's". The success of the Champagne-only concept with indulgences such as caviar and foie gras brought forth a second "Nippers" in 1984 at the Rodeo Collection on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. According to Nation's Restaurant News,, in January 1985 "Nipper's" was selling "over 5% of the nation's annual consumption of imported bubbly". "Nipper's" became internationally known and won numerous accolades including Playboy Magazine's "The Best" in January 1987.
Also in the mid 1990s, Mr. von Wiesenberger served as the Food & Wine Editor for Santa Barbara Magazine. Besides writing regular articles about food, restaurants and beverages he also produced the regular Nipper's Guide to Santa Barbara Restaurants. He launched Nippers, www.nippers.com, Santa Barbara's first and leading restaurant and wine review website in 1994. In 1995, Mr. von Wiesenberger launched the BottledWaterWeb, www.bottledwaterweb.com, which won website of the month from Popular Science Magazine. This website is in the top-tier position on most search engines when searching the words "bottled water".
Another area of interest came to fruition In the mid 1990s when Mr. von Wiesenberger began a weekly travel radio show. Ultimately the show became known as Around the World, www.aroundtheworldradio.com, and today is aired in Santa Barbara on KZSB AM 1290, in Australia on 30 stations and worldwide on the web. In 2008, he was awarded the International Restaurant & Hotel Award (IRHA),, for the Best in Travel and Dining in Radio.
He continued his writing and websites and in November 2003 began writing restaurant reviews for the Santa Barbara News-Press. In 2006 he was appointed co-publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press and over the past three years has moved the publishing company towards more local news coverage and expanded the on-line products. Today the Santa Barbara News-Press has an extremely popular website, www.newspress.com, which also incorporates News-Press TV, a streaming on-line local television news component.
Beyond his family and career, Mr. von Wiesenberger's interests include skiing, (both snow and water), scuba diving, mountaineering, travel and cooking.
In 1988 Mr. von Wiesenberger and his partner sold "Nipper's" and the new owners ran both clubs until the end of the decade. Meanwhile, Mr. von Wiesenberger married Leslie Sinclair of Dallas, Texas and in 1990 they had their first of three sons, Alexander. He also returned to the beverage and hospitality industry and wrote H20 The Guide to Quality Bottled Water (Woodbridge Press 1988), The Pocketguide to Bottled Water (Contemporary Books, 1991) and Champagne & Caviar A Connoisseur's Survival Guide (Capra Press, 1992). His family increased with the birth of Christopher in 1992 and Nicholas in 1995.
Mr. von Wiesenberger was a speaker at Wine America in New York, March 1993, The Midwest Wine Exposition in Chicago, October 1993, The Society of Wine Educators, Los Angeles National Convention, 1995 and Kapalua Wine & Food Symposium, Maui, Hawaii, June 1996. He also served as the President of the International Food, Wine and travel Writers Association from 1990 to 1994. During his tenure, Mr. von Wiesenberger expanded the membership as well as conference locations to include international destinations including Malaysia in 1992, as well as conferences in Brazil, Hawaii and France.
In 1990 Mr. von Wiesenberger authored The Santa Barbara Restaurant Guide, (Best Cellar Books), a second edition came out in 1994 (Pacific Books), a third edition in 2001 (Best Cellar Books). In 1993, Mr. von Wiesenberger began reporting on Santa Barbara restaurants for KEYT-TV, initially for the Midday Show with Beth Farmsworth and eventually for the 5 PM and 11 PM news.