Posted on 10-03-2017
Hailing from the ‘Great White North’ is Canadian born Lamar Engel. Engel has been well known in California as the ‘out-of-the-box’ sommelier who has been flipping the wine industry upside down for the last 15 years with a fresh new perspective on wine marketing, writing, media, consultation, wine education and creative wine events. His wine programs have been featured in multiple syndicated publications such as Wine Enthusiast, Decanter, 7X7, Sunset, and Prevue Magazine as well as video blogs of wine professionals through the country and now BuyWine.com. Engels’ wine philosophy is that each wine holds a personal memory waiting to be unlocked by the sipper calling it Memory Rapture™, a unique way of training oenophiles how to be more in tune with their palate and sense memory. Once a touring musician, playing heavy art rock and punk music, now a Certified Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Masters and is studying to take his Master Sommelier exam within the next year. Lamar cut his teeth on wine in 2002, with humble beginnings in small tasting rooms throughout Napa Valley as well as working in restaurants in San Francisco being mentored by some of the world’s greatest Master Sommeliers such as Larry Stone. In 2005, Lamar managed movie director and winemaker Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon Estate (now Inglenook) in wine and hospitality programs as well as curated the Coppola family’s personal wine cellar, entertaining Hollywood’s elite celebrities that would visit the family. During his time with the Coppola family, Lamar began to mentor young sommeliers in multiple tasting groups through the bay area, to ready them for restaurant service as well as future Court of Masters examinations. Engel also took on the task of acquiring wine to build personal wine cellars and collections for people such as Jim Jannard, Founder of Oakley and Red Digital Cinema. Lamar began to receive numerous requests to consult and entertain celebrities through wine in private homes for dinner parties and charity events. At this point, Lamar could not manage all the requests on his own and began to call on the talents of local sommeliers, starting his own company called it ‘The Wine Militia’. Since 2008 the Wine Militia has dusted the cobwebs off of classic wine events and created new programs such as the ‘pop-up’ restaurant phenomenon, giving everyone an opportunity to discover their own sensory experience in an unpretentious way. In 2011, Engel teamed up with Christies’ David Elswood on a memorable dinner commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic celebrating the last meal served on the vessel with original wines from that era. Engel and his Wine Militia, have become well known for his creative events with large corporate groups such as Google, IBM, Apple, Tube Mogul, Facebook and Pandora , creating customized sensory wine experiences themed to match each company’s’ personalities. As of 2012, Engel has been building his underground army of wine aficionados and sommeliers, he has aptly named his ‘wine armada’, in hopes to soon open up his dream of a multi-location wine bar & school throughout the west coast of the United States and Canada, teaching each palate how easy it is to fall in love with wine in their own way.