Erik Segelbaum was just a kid when he realized he wanted to be in the restaurant industry. In the last 30-plus years, he’s worked in every aspect of it, from cook to head chef to becoming one of the top sommeliers in the country.
Now, Erik is collaborating with Monogram as it begins a more serious exploration of products that truly speak to a wine enthusiast’s every need. The owner of Somlyay, which offers full-service wine consultations, education, events and more, has joined Monogram as Wine Director. In his role, he’ll help the brand create products that best serve its consumers’ wine serving – and preserving – needs.
“As someone who loves to cook and entertain, I know Monogram is professional grade,” says Erik, who was named 2019 Food & Wine magazine Sommelier of the Year and a 2020 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 Tastemaker. “I care very much about culinary and wine appliances and Monogram sets the utmost standard in luxury.”
A Seat at the Table
Erik’s partnership with Monogram happened by chance. As part of The United Sommeliers Foundation, created to help sommeliers who had lost jobs during the pandemic, Erik was invited to a 2021 Bon Appetit event honoring restaurants, people and organizations that had helped their communities when it was most needed. It was there he met the executive director of Monogram, a sponsor of the event, and the two began a collaboration to expand the brand’s intentions in the wine space.
Erik had no hesitation. As a professional chef whose kitchen was outfitted with Monogram appliances already, the partnership made perfect sense, he says. He only works with clients if he believes in their products and the way they conduct business.
“Monogram is making wine and beverages a serious part of their brand package. It shows they want to be the benchmark for the industry,” says Erik.
Serve and Preserve – Tailoring Appliances to How People Live
Monogram is equally excited to welcome Erik’s expertise as it seeks to tailor appliances to the way its customers live. Erik’s role as Monogram Wine Director is not just establishing its point of view on wine, but notably, guiding the brand in what features are important in a wine appliance.
“We want to know how our consumer uses wine and how they view it to make sure our products and our technology fits their needs” Elise Raydo Kersh, Monogram Brand Experience Manager, says. “We see that storage is a really important deal. A wine enthusiast doesn’t just drink wine, they collect it. So, we’re looking at storage needs and preservation needs.”
Erik is eager to embark with Monogram as the brand expands its horizons in the high-end wine appliance field. The 30” integrated column wine refrigerator, launched in 2021, is the ideal spot for wine to age, he says.
“Wine is a living, breathing thing,” he says. “Think of it like a family member. The Monogram wine column is giving your wine a comfortable place to age, with space and an ideal temperature. It ensures longevity for your wines.”
A Perfect Pairing
Of course, Erik is also offering a strong, vibrant opinion on wine itself. The partnership debuted at the 2022 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) where Erik wowed attendees with a wine experience that was a highlight of the event.
“It turned what was a trade show into an experience that was second to none,” Elise says. “He does a fantastic job making luxury wine seem very accessible. Not only is he super personable, you just want to listen to him.”
Erik will make his next appearance for Monogram June 17-19 at the famed 2022 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Erik says he’s excited about the future possibilities of curating, sustaining, and caring for wine collections for the wine enthusiasts. And Monogram is looking forward to the impact Erik’s expertise in food, wine and hospitality will have on customers.
“From multiple perspectives,” Elise says, “this just makes sense for Monogram.