Sommelier Christopher Miller of Spago - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

October 2011

When you are raised in a Creole household in New Orleans, gastronomy is often an essential part of your daily life; attending college in New Orleans will ensure that libations are as well. Christopher Miller began his restaurant career while working his way through Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. Finance degree in hand, he embarked on two years of equity research at an investment bank. The idea of a third year, however, led to migraines.

A weekend vacation to Seattle changed everything. While visiting wineries in Washington, for the first time in Miller’s life, he knew exactly what he wanted to do for a living. Miller figured if he was going to start a new life and career, he wanted to train with the best. In Seattle, that meant Canlis restaurant.

Miller signed up for a sommelier course taught by Shayn Bjornholm, MS, who also happened to be the Canlis wine director. Miller’s plan was perfect, with one snag: Canlis would not hire him. Three months, four applications and two interviews later, however, Miller was rewarded with the title of ‘busboy.’ Apparently, this was going to take a little longer than expected.

Four years and several promotions later, Miller left his position as cellar master at Canlis for the chance to run a dynamic wine program at Spago in Beverly Hills. In 2008, Miller was named one of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s “Best New Sommeliers in America,” and he became the second American to win the title of “Best Young Sommelier” at the International Chaîne des Rotisseurs Competition. Three weeks later, Chris passed two portions of his Master Sommelier in London.

Miller is currently studying for the final portion of his MS and releases his first wine later this year.