I’m honored to join the team at Surdyk’s and thank the Surdyk family for the faith they’ve placed in me to lead the wine department of this iconic store. This was one of the shops I came to regularly when I decided to focus my career on wine many years ago, and it’s my daily goal to continue to make us someplace someone can get excited about wine… and then succeed me in fifteen or twenty years!
I come from 26 years in hospitality and beverage sales in restaurants, retail stores, and distribution. I was the first Minnesota-based sommelier to pass the Court of Master Sommelier’s Advanced exam and am the only one to have sat for the Master Sommelier exam (so far), an annual demonstration of both my personal drive and probable insanity. You’ll likely find me in a colorful bow tie (self-tied, because clip-ons are cheating) and fun shoes, because while wine can be incredibly detailed, there’s no reason it can’t be fun.
My degree is in Art (hence the career in hospitality) and in art you study the classics before you go your own direction; you learn the “rules” before you break them. I approach beverages in a similar way. The store already has a strong foundation of classics, so the wine team and I will be tweaking sections, mixing in the best of wine’s rising stars, the new generations taking over for their parents, and some delicious things that simply defy labels.
Also, get ready for classes and tastings to return! I love sharing what I’ve learned and providing a forum for others passionate about beverages, so in addition to myself and the wine team I’ll be reaching out to industry voices locally and around the world to share their knowledge and experiences with you.
The community around us is changing rapidly, and whether you’re entertaining friends or just having a quiet night in, we’ll continue finding things to help make life more enjoyable. I look forward to meeting you!