Leif Sundström moved from his native Texas to Portland, Oregon in 2002 originally in search of a more expansive nature and smaller community in which to focus on music and creative pursuits. Amongst all of this, by way of working in restaurants Leif also discovered his passion and interest in food, agriculture and most notably, wine.
Leif eventually found his creative role as opening Beverage Director at Le Pigeon restaurant, which led to a more intimate involvement in the local Oregon wine community. While managing the restaurant and running the beverage program Leif also spent a year as a part-time stagiaire at Boedecker Cellars before eventually leaving Le Pigeon and taking a full-time position at the winery during the 2007 harvest season.
Soon after Leif was hired to work under Kevin Pike in the Skurnik Wines National Division in 2008. He quickly moved to New York City, and here Leif found his stride working with various markets across the country and largely focusing on selling and educating about the wines of Germany, Austria and Grower Champagne. Leif continued at Skurnik, working closely with Kevin Pike, and was eventually promoted to manage the Terry Theise portfolio in the local market until he left in 2013 to seek more intimate work environs.
After leaving Skurnik Leif moved to Rüdesheim, Germany in hopes to reconnect with his desires to have a closer connection with the land and the process of creating something from it. Leif spent the 2013 harvest season working at Weingut Leitz, both in the vineyards and the cellar. It was while working in Germany that Leif began to turn an interest towards producing cider back in New York State. Encouraged by Johannes Leitz along this path, Leif wasted no time. Immediately after returning to the states Leif purchased 3 varieties of NE heirloom apples and produced his first vintage of cider. Leif soon relocated to the Hudson Valley to explore horticulture and apple fermentation. Today Leif operates one of the country’s most forward thinking cideries, Sundström Cider, focused on varietal typicity, terroir, and the promotion of better variety selection in the orchard as well as progressive orchard practices with health and quality in mind.
Leif now splits his time between the Hudson Valley, where he operates Sundström Cider, and Brooklyn, where he is thrilled to be working closely with his longtime colleagues again, promoting and educating about the wine regions and terroirs that he loves most.