We Heart: Wine Whiz, Erik Segelbaum

Photo by Charlie Ainslie.

The Ultimate Catch: Intriguing Seattleites

Photo by Charlie Ainslie.

Erik Segelbaum

30 | Belltown

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Occupation: Schwartz Brothers Restaurants Corporate Wine Director + Court of Master Advanced Sommelier

Why We Heart Them

“Take Your Child to Work Day” meant something different for 13-year-old Erik Segelbaum. Instead of bringing him to the school where she worked, Erik’s mother dropped him off at a local restaurant in Toronto to assist prep cook duties in the kitchen. From there, he never looked back. Climbing up the gastronomic ladder to a classically trained chef and following wherever the job went, Erik transitioned to the front of the house, resuming managerial and sommelier duties as he took over the wine program at a high-end Miami restaurant.

Erik is now one of the youngest and most certified sommeliers, both in the Court of Master Sommeliers and Certified Specialists in Wine, in the Seattle area. With this additional credits, Erik oversees the wine buying and direction for the five restaurants and catering shows run by the Seattle restaurant chain, Schwartz Brothers.

As the consummate host, Erik’s true passion is the comprehensive culinary experience. Whether it’s enjoyed through travel, out with friends or at his own home where he flaunts his mean kitchen skills, Erik’s heart might be found closer to his stomach than others. An avid snow and wake boarder, Erik tries to make the most of the ever-changing seasons of the Pacific Northwest by staying active and “keeping the old liver kicking” to counter his duties as a professional wine enthusiast.

When he’s not savoring the city’s supreme sips or riding down Whistler Blackcomb, Erik lends his time in several philanthropic efforts including the reputable Poncho International Wine Auction for the Arts, the Washington Wine Festival at Camp Korey which serves children with serious and life-altering medical conditions and their families at no cost as well as the Auction of Washington Wines that benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital Uncompensated Care. At last year’s auction dinner, Erik broke the 24 year record while he and a box of handpicked wine were up for bid as a private sommelier for the evening, selling for nearly $10,000.

As one of the youngest wine directors in the city, Erik is defying the odds in a more elderly populated career path. “People expect years and years of experience and I have that, I just started really early,” Segelbaum said. “I like being put to the test when people mistake my youth for naivete when it comes to wine. It’s part of the fun.”

Are you intrigued and like what you see? Let us know! Email us at catch@seattleite.com.

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