Interview With Susan Ellis

Susan Ellis: For seventeen years I was an investment banker but I got really fed up with how I was treated in banking ,as a woman I was not treated fairly. I knew I had an interest in wine and I wanted to pursue that so I quit banking and I opened a wine and spirit store on the Upper East side for a year and was also studying. Fifteen months in the process of studying I became a certified sommelier and I started studying for my diploma in wine and spirits. 

Mypineappleladies: How do you keep your love for wine from becoming too technical and work related?

Susan Ellis: I have friends who I drink socially with but the rest I am studying and talking about it by educating people because I feel I can do it on a friendly and down to earth manner.

Mypineappleladies: How did you become interested in wine? Could you describe your pathway to becoming a sommelier?

Susan Ellis: I took an extensive class offered by Danny Meyer who is a well known restauranteur here in the city and I became friendly with people who worked with him and I realized I really like learning about where wine comes from, how its made, how the soil from thousands of years ago affects whats in our bottle, so I started taking classes and doing self study.

Mypineappleladies: What do you think is the most versatile wine? What is your favorite food and wine combination?

Susan Ellis: I would say the chardonnay grape is the most versatile wine because it’s grown all over the world, it can be made to be very austere and minerally to almost buttery and very oaky but not quite syrupy. My favorite food and wine combination I would say would be a Sancerre from France and fresh goat cheese.

Mypineappleladies: To conclude the interview can you tell us if there is a person you especially admire within the wine industry?

Susan Ellis: All of the women sommeliers who came before me. I think at the time, as most industry, not many women were able to be part of the wine industry. Now as the years go by more and more women are becoming higher certified sommeliers and are inspiring others with what they do.