Rising Star Sommelier Michael Garcia of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada - Biography

Las Vegas, NV

November 2011

2007 San Francisco Rising Star Sommelier Michael Garcia got the wine bug while in graduate school at Fordham University studying philosophy and economics. There he met Don DePaoli, an undergraduate professor who loved the pleasures of the table and travel – specifically Burgundy. It was not a formal education but Garcia put in hours of learning at the table and embarked on a Grand Tour through the great restaurants of San Francisco, New York and Paris, while enjoying the great Burgundian wines. Inspired to learn more, Garcia took a position at San Francisco’s Campton Place with Laurent Manrique.

Though he never went to culinary school, Garcia’s stage in the kitchen at San Francisco bistro Chapeau! with Philippe and Ellen Gardelle gave him a true appreciation for back-of-house. Pairing wine at XYZ, Garcia built flavor with the wines as the menu progressed, often starting the meal with something sparkling and finishing with complex and complimentary cocktails that echoed the desserts’ flavor profile.

In 2009 he left his position as Sommelier for Starwood Hotels & Resorts to work at Southern Wine & Spirits.