MikeFaulk


Mike Faulk

 

 

Mike Faulk is the winemaker & founder of Engracia Wines, a small boutique winery producing about 500 cases annually.  By day, he is an advising winemaker for Enartis / Vinquiry.

Mike obtained an AS degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales in Miami, FL and holds a BA in Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Florida International University, Miami, FL.

Upon graduation in 2005, Mike moved to Santa Rosa, CA where he became Dining Room Manager at Latitude Island Grill, gaining a broad practical background in catering, banquet, and off-site event management experience at that location, and promoted after nine months to General Manager for Brannan’s Grill, the company’s flagship restaurant in Calistoga.  

In 2007 Mike took a position as Dining Room Manager for the prestigious LaSalette restaurant in the town of Sonoma.  Steeping himself in Portuguese cuisine and culture, he managed a wine list limited to Portuguese and Sonoma County wines with a wide variety of price points.  He developed the “$18 flight to Portugal,” a 3 glass wine flight of Portuguese wines which gave guests an opportunity to sample these unusual offerings before committing to an entire glass or bottle.  In 2007 he was awarded “Best Sonoma County Wine List” from Best of Napa/Sonoma Magazine.

In 2009, Mike left LaSalette to help a long time college friend Michael Fahmie open his small grocery store called the Bodega Country Store in Bodega, CA -- yes, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds.”  Managing daily operations, he also developed and executed menu items for this eclectic store that has everything from Hitchcock memorabilia to fresh local Dungeness crab Mac N Cheese, gluten-free New England clam chowder, BBQ’d oysters and fresh produce brought in by local farmers. Mike organized production and accounting systems that enabled the store to expand into wedding catering and dinner preparation at the Casino Bar and Grill across the street

In 2006 Mike began making wine at home, starting with 15 gallons of Chardonnay in his kitchen.  By 2012, was making full barrel quantities of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.

After stabilizing a profitable business for Michael Fahmie and the Bodega Country Store, Mike expanded his restaurant portfolio as Manager for Wildfox Restaurant in Novato.  But realizing that his real passion now was in winemaking, he left the restaurant business in 2012 and went to work as a harvest intern at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood.  In January of 2013, he was scooped up by Clark Smith of WineSmith Wines & Consulting and where Mike Faulk currently works today.

In the early spring of 2013 Mike was having some people over for dinner at his house.  A friend of a friend that was there tasted Mike’s wine that he was pouring that night and liked them so much, he approached Mike and asked him why he wasn’t doing this commercially.  Mike simply said… Money!!!  The gentleman said- “Well, come up with a business plan if you’re serious and propose it to me”.  Four weeks later, Mike and Noah sealed the deal and Engracia Wines (named for Mike’s Cuban matriarch grandmother) was born, crushing 7 tons in 2013, a mix of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley Syrah from Deerfield Ranch Estate, and an Angelica (fortified wine) from juice from the Syrah.  In 2014 they again produced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Silva Vineyard in Cotati and added St. Laurent, a screwy Austrian variety from Ricci Vineyards in Carneros.  In March of 2015 they released their 2013 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Angelica with plans to sell 60-75% Direct to Consumer and the rest through allocations for small local restaurants and retailers.

Although no longer in the restaurant business, Mike applies his wealth of expertise at GrapeCraft Wine Academy to the training of wait staff for professional wine service careers and offers consulting to local area restaurateurs.