Northern California grapes are part of Michael’s heritage. His family settled in Napa in the 1850s and planted orchards, including grapes. Although he has traveled extensively and broadened his palate, northern California is home to Michael and he has chosen to return to this area and open Main Street Cellars in charming Winters.
Michael grew up in a family whose culture was very food and wine-centered. Although he was always interested in wine and winemaking, it wasn’t until he was presented with and opportunity to work for a wine distributor selling to individual retailers that he realized just how committed he was to the world of wine. He was hooked, realized he loved the interaction with people in the industry, and wanted to pursue it further.
He began making wine at local Winters Winery, where he learned every aspect of winemaking, from harvesting the grapes to bottling the wine. He learned how to run a tasting room and obtained a solid start in the wine industry.
Michael then moved on to Shenandoah Vineyards and Sobon Estates Winery in Amador County, where he gained valuable insight and education working with Lee Sobon. Michael’s winemaking career truly blossomed while at Sobon, as he progressed to cellar master and learned the business of running a family winery with a worldwide sales base.
After Sobon, Michael worked for Carneros Creek Winery in Napa, where he became an assistant wine-maker under California Pinot Noir pioneer Francis Mahoney. Michael gained invaluable experience at Carneros Creek in many areas of the wine industry, from the details and significance of different varietals, to the business end of a very large winemaking facility.
Most recently, Michael was the wine buyer for Nugget Market in Vacaville, California. During his four years in this position, Michael was responsible for every aspect of the wine department of this multi-million dollar organization. As wine buyer for the market, Michael broadened his palate as he became familiar with an international variety of wine. He traveled to Chicago, New York, Washington, Argentina, Chile, and Canada where he gained extensive knowledge of wines from those areas. He brought this experience and knowledge back with him and helped the wine department flourish, including establishing a regular local clientele. Michael became the local wine adviser to many customers and often managed special orders for those with particular interests.
Michael supplemented his first-hand experience with education at UC Davis and Napa College, where he studied enology, winemaking, and wine appreciation. In 2003 he became a certified Level 1 Sommelier through the Culinary Institute of America in Napa.
Entertaining and informed, Michael pours each taste of wine with enthusiasm, care, and expertise. He is eager to share his knowledge and passion for wine and welcomes all questions regardless of a person’s familiarity (or not) with wine. He has a special talent for matching the right person and the right wine and looks forward to sharing his love of wine with others at Main Street Cellars.