The 11th Annual Washington Wine Awards were announced by Seattle Magazine at their Red White & Brew event. We’re honored that our Tim O’Brien won Sommelier of the Year 2016. He’s now an extraordinary two-time winner having previously won in 2006. Here’s what Seattle Magazine authors Paul Zitarelli and Jessica Yadegaran had to say about him:
“It’s a point of pride for Salty’s Waterfront Seafood Grills (saltys.com) that they offer a come-as-you-are vibe that makes diners feel as comfortable ordering a cheeseburger and beer as they are ordering lobster tail and Champagne. That ethos carries over to Salty’s wine program, capably run by its corporate director of beverage and our Sommelier of the Year, Tim O’Brien. ‘At Salty’s we have a very wide demographic of guests, from locals to international travelers,’ notes O’Brien. ‘I want our wine program to be accessible to everyone who picks it up, yet still impress the most knowledgeable wine geek.’ O’Brien began his career by getting a bartending job in Pioneer Square while attending Seattle University, and then spent a decade with Red Robin (finishing as its corporate beverage director) before joining Salty’s, where he has been since 1994. He is known in the trade not just for the excellence of his wine programs, but also for his role as a mentor to young talent who worked for him. Notable examples include Brian Grasso—who went on to launch Seattle-based Structure Cellars—and Chris Horn, this magazine’s 2015 Sommelier of the Year, who went on to fulfill roles at Wild Ginger and Heavy Restaurant Group.” (See more at seattlemag.com.)
If you know our Tim or ever get the chance to get to know him, you’ll heartily agree that he’s one of Salty’s greatest assets with an aura and energy that lights up any gathering whether related to wine or not. He’s pictured above with Salty’s proud owners Gerry and Kathy Kingen.