Wine Warrior & Kalinist Sommelier and Maitre’D George Skorka wasn’t yet a teenager when he tasted his first wine, a cup of tea with the teaspoon of white wine in it, and he remembers it clearly, it always brings back memories: "The wine made the tea immediately lighter in colors, and it’s flavors with the odd but stimulating bouquet, good acidity and gentle richness mesmerized the little boy." By age 6 he was cooking daily fresh food from the farmers market with his grandmother. The Hungarian Olympic kayak team member made supporting money by being a bar back in the most famous night club in Budapest. Master Sommelier
After college and working in the classic floor system in many ranks, Skorka become assistant Food and Beverage Director in the 200 years old legendary Hotel on the Danube’s treasure Margaret Island in the heart of Budapest. At age 30 the revolutionary New York restaurateur Paul Kovi of the Four Season gave him a Gourmet Magazine review of Gyertya, his former Restaurant in Budapest. They collaborated in the New York Years in the complete rewriting of the Transylvanian Cuisine, published in 1984. “I must thank Paul for a half of my inspirations in life he was magical to direct people towards to spiritual values in our material business”- said Skorka, the other great amongst of my many mentors is Terry Leighton the renaissance man of Kalin Cellars. Escaping communist Hungary for political reasons in 1981 with $ 5 in his pocket and not to speak English, gave a great new opportunity to Mr. Skorka: start again. In a few months the busboy become a waiter in N.Y. Moved to Washington DC and from waiter became a Manager of the Kennedy Center, running Ronald Regan’s Inauguration Ball. In 1985 The Jefferson Hotel Maitre’D become the Maitre’D of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles. In the next two plus decades Skorka spent in Los Angeles and became a Maitre D’/Sommelier in Shutters on the Beach and Casa Del Mar Hotel, New Chasen and Crustacean, La Merigot and many more. The wine buyer/MaitreD position in the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel become the major opportunity to discover a Central Coast’s potential before it become known for many. Skorka’s own restaurant in Beverly Hills 456 North Bedford was a turning point. Constant touring of the vineyard become a passion, and Skorka is proud of his contribution in Tantara Vinery. He spent years in the winery and his chosen barrel in the spring racking got the highest score from Robert Parker in that time.
Years with one of the leading wine Company as a District Manager further benefited him and the organization. He was one of the first among them to be tested with the Court of Master Sommeliers then three level advance exams. The entire group started to focus on the education of the employees afterwards. Skorka’s current plans are learning and teaching: After running the successful Jonathan Club and Bastide, his latest was the opening of BottleRock downtown. “The casualty but Riedel standards fit to the new generation” said the opening Skorka. Skorka is also on the advisory Board of the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, and in the last half decade he is a judge on the largest wine event in the USA: the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Skorka’s philosophy is shared with his winery find and sommelier certified wife, his mountain cabin and two Bernese Montain dogs: “I am very lucky, in my life I always being paid for what I love to do anyway…”
Sean Tevik - Operations Manager, Thomas George Estates
Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, Sean had a natural affinity for food, beverages, and music at a very young age. While attempting a career in music he became drawn to the production of beer. Beer in turn led to simple distillations. The proverbial next step came in the form of wine while studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.
After courses with the International Sommelier Guild and the Court of Master Sommeliers it was obvious that hands on experience in the wine industry was needed. After working as a Sommelier and wine director in Scottsdale, Arizona, Sean made the plunge to wine country.
Sean is now the Operations Manager at Thomas George Estates helping out with anything that needs to be done and staying as close to the wine as possible.