Erik Liedholm, Company Wine Director for John Howie Restaurant Group, has been named “Sommelier of the Year” by Seattle Magazine. The self-effacing wine professional, known as much for his tongue in cheek humor as for his vast knowledge of wines and pairings, was utterly speechless when he found out about the honor. “It totally caught me by surprise,” said Liedholm, whose accomplishments include food & wine pairings for Washington Tasting Room Magazine.
The award, presented to an individual who “…exemplifies the profession, delivering exceptional service and education to his guests, and continues to develop his own knowledge and that of his staff”, came right on the heels of another company tribute. Under Erik’s mentoring, eight members of the John Howie service team passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Level II certification.
Liedholm figures that he has tasted thousands of wines during his 20-year career. His wine lists have received numerous awards including Best New Wine List in America by Food and Wine Magazine, Best Wine List in Seattle byseattle.citysearch.com and Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine. Liedholm was named Sommelier of the Year in 2004 by the Washington Wine Commission and was the honored 2006 recipient of the Seattle Times Walter Clore Award for outstanding achievement in the wine industry.
A Cum Laude graduate and honorary faculty member at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business, Erik has returned to present several class seminars. He was the youngest member ever to be inducted into the Chicago chapter of Les Amis d’Escoffier, is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Sommelier Society of America. 2012 marked his 9th year of teaching a successful annual curriculum of wine classes at Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar with fellow Scandinavian “wine hack” Lars Ryssdal, which The New York Times lauded as “…pours only the Gold Standard.” Erik’s expertise has been featured in many newspapers and magazines both locally and nationally including Food and Wine, Sunset, Gourmet and The New York Times. He has appeared in a PBS documentary on Washington State wine and his pairings appear in John Howie’s new book “Passion and Palate: Recipes for a Generous Table”.
Few know that Liedholm is also an accomplished chef who has cooked alongside such culinary luminaries as Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, Takashi Yagahashi and the late Jean-Louis Paladin. When Erik isn’t pouring wine he is spending time with his family, cooking, running or cycling.