SAn Arizona native, Sommelier Erika Szot’s passion for wine began with a trip to Germany when she was thirteen. The German monasteries and hillside vineyard immediately mesmerized Erika and her interest sparked. It was there that she realized the importance of food and wine in cultural identity. She returned stateside to study biochemistry and physics and took breaks to backpack the world for more inspiration including France, Portugal, Hong Kong and Chile.
A brief tasting from a mutual friend introduced her to the Northern Michigan wine industry in early 2014. After some further research, she took a winery internship at Left Foot Charley Urban Winery, in Traverse City. Winemaker Bryan Ulbrich mentored her from daily cellar work to tasting room representation. The mentorship in the region was incredible, and she cannot thank the regions wine tastings and dedicated community enough. She learned the importance of soil and weather and the conclusive decision of vinificiation style. Intensive studying allowed her to pass the Certified Sommelier exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In 2015, she returned to California to be mentored by the prior Beverage Director, James La Mar at Chez TJ. She is proud to bring her story full circle: offering appreciation of food and wine for cultural identity.