Kevin Pike bought his first case of wine at the age of 18, after being exposed to a bottle of 1984 Inglenook charbono shared at the dinner table with family and friends. He traveled from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio—where wine prices were regulated with minimum markups—to a shop in Buffalo, New York, where he could get a better, albeit illicit, deal. It was clear, that even from a young age, this was someone dedicated to finding great value in the wine business.
After finishing a degree in English at Swarthmore College, Kevin moved back to Ohio to pursue writing fiction. Influenced by the literature he studied, Kevin explored cooking and wine throughout his college experience and started a cellar of mid-‘80s Bordeaux from wines he purchased in travels to New York. To support his writerly pursuits, he took a part time job at local wine shop which led to a head buying position at The Hills Market. Like many writers before him, Kevin had become engrossed and inspired by the unending complexity of wine and his focus quickly shifted from literature to libations, from text to terroirs.
As the director of The Hills’ wine department, Kevin was one of the first major U.S retailers to lend un-wavering support to the great wines of Austria and in particular, the grower-producer movement in Champagne. At a moment when the powerful, oaked-out wines were the fashion, he turned towards the delicate, nuanced flavors of these great northern European terroirs, which ultimately led him to Germany.
After 5 years in retail, Kevin accepted a position as the Director of National Sales and Marketing at Skurnik Wines. In this role, Kevin continued to spread the gospel of riesling and Champagne as he worked closely with legendary importer Terry Theise. In addition, he oversaw the national distribution of Daniel Johnnes Selections, Marc de Grazia in various states and other portfolios nationally. At the end of his 13 years at Skurnik, Kevin led a department that grew 10 fold in sales over his tenure, expanded distribution to its largest reach and educated a generation of wine professionals about grower Champagne, Austrian and German wines through seminars at Aspen Food & Wine, TEXSOM, Atlanta Food & Wine, Charleston Wine & Food, among others.
In addition to Schatzi Wines, Kevin is also in the process of building Branchwater Farms, an artisanal cider house and distillery based in the Hudson Valley.
Click here to check out Kevin’s most recent interview with Levi Dalton on I’ll Drink to That!