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Meet the Wine Consultants


ANDY HALL

Wine Department Manager
Wine Buyer

Never did I intend to work in the wine industry. Growing up, my parents’ wine consumption focused mostly on carafes of Gallo, and I first began drinking wine seriously during my graduate studies at the University of Virginia, where I focused my attention on the subjects of Government and Foreign Affairs. My intention was to teach at the college level once I completed my degree.

During those years hobbies took a back seat to my studies but I did manage to dabble around with my budding wine interest. La Vieille Ferme Rouge and Ravenswood Zinfandel were among those I regularly drank. I was so immersed in academia that I missed the opportunity of a lifetime – a little bar a few blocks away from my apartment featured a band that played every Friday night for about 2 ½ years, called The Dave Matthews Band. I never made it to a single show!

When I moved to Minneapolis, the demand for Foreign Affair experts was pretty dry, so to make ends meet, I took a job at a local wine store. I wore many hats - cashier, warehouse and inventory until steadily, I discovered that I could have a career combining my love of learning and teaching with my passion for wine. That decision led me here, to Surdyk’s where I am the Wine Buyer and Department Manager.

While my focus is on wines from France and Italy, I had the opportunity to tour Washington state’s wine country in 2012 and fell in love with the wines from this fast-growing region.


BILL MCCLEARY

Wine Consultant

My job as a Surdyk’s Wine Consultant is the third scene in the story of my career path. I began my professional life as a college professor at South Dakota State University. I left academia to take over my father’s automotive business, which took me all over the great state of Minnesota. I had always had more than a passing interest in wine – I’ve been enjoying it since I was old enough to drink! 

 

During those years I found myself reading, studying, and developing my wine knowledge as well as beginning to collect notable and ageable wines. But wine was only a hobby at this point. When I left the automotive industry, I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t quite ready to retire yet wasn’t interested in pursuing another corporate career. My oldest son noticed that the International Sommelier Guild was offering a class here in Minneapolis and suggested that I take it, if only to enhance my love of wine. I decided to give it a go. As luck would have it, I was seated next to a Surdyk’s Wine Consultant. During our course work, he mentioned that a position was becoming available on the wine staff and, as they say, the rest is history. As a teacher I loved helping people learn. I’m so thrilled that I have had a chance to return to that teaching role here at Surdyk’s and I could not imagine a better subject matter. 


NOELLE STARR

Wine Consultant
The "Voice of Surdyk's"

I grew up in Minneapolis in a home that did not drink wine – or much of anything else that included alcohol. My wine exposure started out sweet (like so many) with coolers…as in Sun Country Wine Coolers. 

From there the trajectory slowly moved to sweet whites to Chardonnay, where it stayed for a while until I attended a Riedel wine glass tasting with some friends that included a tasting of four different wines in glassware made to enhance each varietal. It was extremely eye-opening! That night, I learned not only about the nuances of the wine making process but that the glass you serve you wine in matters, too. 

 

I was a new mom and had left a career in high-end computer networking sales to stay at home with my daughter and I was looking for something to do. Scrapbooking and Mommy & Me classes were not my thing. This time at home gave me the opportunity to dive into any and everything I could about wine. I read every book I could get my hands on and tasted as much as my budget could afford. 

 

When my youngest headed off to kindergarten, I wrongly assumed joining my husband in real estate would be the obvious career move. He was great at it – I could not have been less interested. After a year, he suggested I figure out what it was I loved to do. “Drink wine!” was my sarcastic response. It just so happened to be looking at Surdyk’s website - they were hiring a Wine Consultant, and I sent off my resume. A few weeks later I was starting what has become one of the most rewarding, educational, and entertaining jobs in the world. 

I live for food and get immense satisfaction helping people pair wine with whatever it is they are having for dinner. I love all wine, but have a special spot in my heart for Bourbon, and like to consider myself the resident Gin expert. You also might have heard my voice talking about wine on the radio! 


DREW FULLER

Wine Consultant
Minnesota Wine Buyer

Like many people, I arrived later in life to wine drinking. I grew up in Connecticut and remember my mom entertaining with wine and food pairing as a priority, it was lost on me as beer and gin were my preferred beverages in my twenties. 

 

Wine started to become a passion after I got my hands on a copy of The Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine. I was a history major in college, reading about the history and study of wine had me hooked on the drink, even more so when I began to consider the stories behind each bottle. While living in Minneapolis in the early 90’s, I began taking classes at Surdyk’s! This love of wine grew into the love of pairing food and wine together, so my mom’s love of food and wine rubbed off on me after all. My career has always been in sales and during my thirties, those jobs took me all over the country. While this was a very transient time in my life, wine was always a constant. Finally in 1997, my passion for wine and my career in sales collided. Since then, I have worked in several aspects of the wine business; distribution, supply, and now retail. 

 

In the past ten years, it has been exciting to see the way wine has taken the US by storm. While I love wine from all over, Spain and South America are my specific areas of interest. I also buy and curate the selection of Minnesota-made wines in the store, a new interest of mine and a particularly exciting section of the store! 


DAVID MAHONEY

Wine Consultant

Bio Coming Soon


TY ROBINSON

Wine Consultant

I started my path towards wine long before I even knew what wine was. My mom was a fabulous cook, and I remember always being involved with whatever she may have been cooking for dinner from the time I could stand at the kitchen counter. That love of food and beverage never stopped. After college I started working at a liquor store and fell in love with learning about all the offerings in the store. Part of me started to wonder if I could study food and beverage academically and with a little time online, I found the way.

 

I enrolled at Boston University to get my master's degree in gastronomy. The program was founded by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin to give students the opportunity to study all things related to food and dining. I focused my studies on the anthropology of alcohol with a tremendous focus on wine. I am a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as a Certified Beer Server. I've found myself in pretty much every roll "in the industry" over the last 12 years, from restaurant to retail to distribution and brand management. While wine is my focus, I also have found a huge passion for agave-based spirits, botanical spirits and most anything in the store. Ask me anything and I'll probably have a story or tidbit of trivia for you!


WAYNE ROEMHILDT

Wine Consultant


Wayne is a beverage industry veteran who comes from bartender breeding.

He helped blaze a trail for the cocktail’s Golden Age return to his beloved Twin Cities. Creating artisanal cocktails, implementing exciting, unique beverage programs, training & educating… Wayne is a passionate dude, with an insatiable desire to learn, and be of service. Combine the skills of a professional Sommelier, Cicerone, Master Bartender and dining room manager with the empathy of a bartender…Wayne is at your service.