For the past decade, Marika Vida has been one of the most in-demand, highly respected wine professionals in the business. She has served as Wine Director of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park; Sommelier of the top-rated Laurent Tourondel Bistro BLT Market; Sommelier for the Philadelphia Ritz Carlton with ‘Top Chef’ Winner Kevin Sbraga. She also developed the opening wine program at 10Arts with Chef Eric Ripert and Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Carroll. Under the auspices of her new consulting firm Vida et Fils, she most recently consulted as the Wine Director of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. Her most recent project there was the critically acclaimed Phenomenal Femmes Program, which featured female winemakers from around the globe, including a popular dinner series. Marika also consults for Architectural Digest and Wines of Provence. She was recently the Consulting Sommelier for The Essex House JW Marriott New York. Marika is currently the owner and founder of TheMomSomm, a Wine Educator, member of the Full Circle Sommelier Network, working with Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein on projects for Wines of Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Soave and Monterey programs. She has served on Eric Asimov’s Tasting Panel for the New York Times and been featured on Barrons.com for romantic wine picks.
Marika’s work as Wine Director and Sommelier includes much more than simply developing, managing, and selling the wine programs. Her enthusiasm for wine, unique ability to convey knowledge to consumers, and background in broadcast journalism have lead to the creation of some of the most popular, enjoyable seasonal programs to which consumers have access including: The Ritz Carlton’s wine and chocolate pairing course “Chocolate Takes Flight with Marika Vida,” the Viking Culinary Center’s “Pairing Wine with Tricky Ingredients,” and a number of charity events. She also has served as a judge for the Starchef Sommelier Competition and Wine Director for the James Beard Foundation Book Broadcast and Journalism Awards. She is a Member of Les Dames d’Escoffier New York.
In addition to her hotel and restaurant work, Marika is passionate about enhancing the wine education of consumers and colleagues alike. To that end, she has instructed for the American Sommelier Association in New York and the French Wine Society. She holds titles of Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and the American Sommelier Association. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators and holds the Advanced Certificate for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. She is currently enrolled the WSET Diploma program.
1. How did you get into the wine business?
I grew up in Toronto and started working in hospitality when I was 14. I continued my career in restaurants when I was at University, and whatever restaurant I was working in at the time, I would assist with the wine program.
In addition to my restaurant jobs, I also worked for a film director who was a big wine buff. We would all sit down after a shoot and drink amazing wines. I had the great opportunity to travel to a lot of European wine regions when in school… after all these experiences I was hooked!
2. What are the most frustrating and rewarding parts of your job?
Working in the wine business is really a synopsis of ALL subjects: Geography, Science, Math, Art, History, English, and even physical education (if you’ve ever worked the floor) it’s utterly fascinating all the boxes it checks. I love educating and presenting to people on wine. It is my serious passion and it combines my broadcasting and communications background with my love of wine.
I least like the minutia of running a wine program. Inventory and updating a wine list (and just in general sitting in front of a computer) is not my deal.
3. What is your most memorable/funniest/craziest wine experience?
Very hard question. I’ve been so blessed to have gone on so many amazing wine trips over the years. And I’ve met incredible people on these trips that have become lifelong friends. I’m particularly enamored with Greece and Sicily. The beauty, the wines, the culture and the food!
4. What is an upcoming trend you see in wine?
Packaging and portability—more than ever, producers are making it easier to drink good wine anywhere (cans and carton) with a consciousness of helping the environment.
Owner – The MomSomm
5. What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
“What do you want your life to look like?” That’s when I started making the necessary changes to doing more of what I love to do and less of what I don’t like.
6. What is one tip you have for someone just getting into wine?
Uhmm see above lol! And if you can, at some point in your wine career…work the floor as a Somm. Having hospitality experience will help you with EVERYTHING you do, plus it gives you credibility, especially if you go to the sales side.
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