Sommelier Sean Beck of Backstreet Café - Biography

Houston, TX

February 2011

Certified Sommelier (and Riesling apostle) Sean Beck has as much wine expertise as someone twice his age. But that’s no surprise. “When I get interested in something,” says Beck, “I tend to immerse myself in it and learn everything I possibly can.” Born in Rochester, New York, Beck first developed an interest in wine while at University of Houston’s Honors College, where he supplemented his income working as a waiter at Backstreet Café. “I started attending waiter training seminars where the owners discussed the wines on the list. Then I sort of hung around when the wine salesmen gave their presentations in the restaurant, and before I knew it, I was hooked,” says Beck.

Since Beck arrived at Backstreet Café, the restaurant has consistently won accolades in national competitions, including Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Again, no surprise, as the always hands-on, hospitable Beck has used his sharp palate and extraordinary memory to develop wine lists and perfect pairings for Backstreet Café, Hugo’s, and Trevisio—showcasing a versatility in pairing skills from seasonal American to earthy, spicy Mexican and contemporary Italian cuisines.

The ever-versatile Beck is also beverage director for all three restaurants, emphasizing artisan spirits and seasonality in menu and cocktail development and championing Texan spirits and beers. Among his many awards and accolades—not to mention countless judging positions in national and international wine competitions and summits—Beck was the only individual inducted into My Table’s Wine Hall of Fame. And he’s one of just seven sommeliers hand picked to represent www.wineanswers.com, an industry-run site dedicated to educating and inspiring people to drink and enjoy wine. Beck also was chosen as StarChefs.com's 2011 Houston Rising Star Sommelier.

Related Features