2018 Portland Rising Star Sommelier Ksandek Podbielski of Coquine

2018 Portland Rising Star Sommelier Ksandek Podbielski of Coquine
March 2018

Coquine
6839 SE Belmont Street
Portland, OR 97215

Photos

Ksandek Podbielski’s was born and raised abroad by his father, who served in the U.S. Army, and his mother, who was a school teacher. Growing up, Podbielski would play “restaurant,” cooking dinners and pouring wine for the family at 11 years old. He attended high school in Warsaw, Poland, and made his way to California to study English at San Diego State University. When cloudless skies and 70-degree weather began to get old, Podbielski made a fateful turn north.  

In 2007, at 23, Podbielski visited the Willamette Valley, sent his résumé to 50 vineyards, and never looked back. He scrubbed tanks, drove a forklift, and even once fit two full barrels of wine in his Ford Focus. He worked for Anne Amie Vineyards as assistant tasting room manager and eventually rose to director of hospitality, often staying late just for the chance to work in the cellar—Podbielski even began making wine at home. He also went on to work with Rising Star Chef Trent Pierce, running the wine program at Roe’s original location.  

One night after work, he and his wife, Rising Star Chef Katy Millard, began to put some thoughts to paper about the future. Those notes became the business plan for Coquine. The restaurant started as a pop-up, and in the summer of 2015, after a long search, they discovered a home for Coquine in the quiet Mt. Tabor section of Portland. The next year, Bon Appétit named Coquine one of “America’s Best New Restaurants.” As co-owner and sommelier, Oregon wine doesn’t quite dominate Podbielski’s 450-bottle list, but it is the only region represented in every category and varietal