Eric Larkee (32) began his career in hospitality at the Edgewater Hotel while at the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 2002 with a Bachelors of Science in History. Driven by a budding interest in wine, Larkee decided to move to New York City after graduation with the hopes of learning more about restaurant wine programs by working in the city’s top fine dining destinations. He held multiple positions in a number of restaurants with notable wine lists.

As a server and a bartender at Savoy Restaurant, Larkee’s experience with the food and the beverage program was essential in building a strong foundation which ultimately served him as Beverage Director and Maitre d’ at Wallsé, a highly regarded restaurant with a Michelin star to its credit. Since relocating to Miami and joining the Michael’s Genuine staff in late 2009, Larkee has crafted a creative, edited wine list built around a few important guiding principles, most importantly treating it like a menu. It offers escalating value by the bottle and by the glass, highlights grower labels and independent producers, and includes as many diverse varietals – some less common than others – that can reasonably, physically fit in the book, always keeping in mind the need to be in step with the many different kinds of food preparations and ingredients in the restaurant’s nimble, dailychanging menu.

Larkee considers his education in being a sommelier ongoing: “There is an endless amount of information to learn. The job of sommelier is equal parts teacher, businessman, connoisseur, restaurateur, but most important –- listener.”