ABOUT US  
History   Our Philosophy   Scrapbook   Unfined & Unfiltered
         
  WHO WE ARE      
    Michael Skurnik Wines is an importer and distributor of fine wines based in Syosset, New York. We taste, select and offer for sale (to the trade only) an excellent portfolio of wines from around the world. The company began with just a handful of relatively unknown estates in 1987 and has since grown to represent over 450 estates, from the traditional to the cutting edge. We are the exclusive representatives for these wines in our home markets of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and are the national importer for many wines, as well.  
 

Michael & Harmon Today

     
       
  COMPANY AT A GLANCE    
  Incorporated 1987  
  Employees 75  
  Portfolio by Country 30% USA, 20% France, 20% Italy, 10% Terry Theise (Germany, Austria), 10% Spain, 5% Australia, 5% all other
       
       
  OUR PALATE    
  We don't have a "house palate" per se but we do favor and select those wines that express their terroir through limited yields and non-interventionist techniques. The wines must also exhibit balance and finesse. We like many wines that are barrel-fermented; however we avoid producers who overwhelm their fruit with toasty new oak barrels just because it's the fashion. We never forget that fine wine comes from exceptional GRAPES and the ripe fruit flavors must always shine through loud and clear.    
       
  OUR HISTORY    
 

The genesis of Michael Skurnik Wines really occurred in 1970 when Ruth and Nat Skurnik (Michael and Harmon's parents) went to France for the first time and returned home "winos". It was after this trip that they built a wine cellar in the basement, stocked it with Bordeaux from 61 and 66 (at incredibly cheap prices!), as well as a selection of Rhones, Germans and other goodies. Mom and Dad started opening wines with dinner each night and it was at our dinner table in Merrick, Long Island, that we got our first real exposure to wine.

   
 
Michael and Harmon, November, 1963
   
 

Other roots of the company derive from a very close relationship between two brothers (Michael and Harmon) who, to this day, share many common interests (wine and music among them) and cooperate on a whole host of activities to make the company greater than the sum of its parts.

In 1977, after graduating from UMass Amherst, Michael took a waiter's job at Windows on the World while he waited to land a "real job" that would utilize his degree in Zoology! During his stint at Windows, he befriended their "wonder kid" sommelier, Kevin Zraly. At the time, Windows was at the forefront of the wine scene, particularly the fledgling California wine scene.

Michael saw the potential in the Windows wine program and he took a huge pay cut to work as a "cellar rat" for Kevin. He progressed quickly to assistant sommelier and had the opportunity to taste thousands of wines from their extensive cellars.

Michael left Windows in 1980 and worked as a salesman on the street for a now defunct wine distributor named Establishment Import Company. He was selling all sorts of new, boutique wines from California like Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Montelena, Sutter Home, Stonegate etc.

Soon after that, Michael was wooed by Mommessin in 1982 to handle their national distribution. He accepted this position and was made national sales manager, travelling to markets throughout the United States to promote the wines of this Burgundy house.

In 1987, he founded Michael Skurnik Wines in order to bring in a few boutique wineries from California and the rest is history. The business grew rapidly and now Michael Skurnik Wines represents a host of wineries from California, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary and even Slovenia!

Harmon Skurnik joined the company in 1989 after working for 10 years in marketing and advertising for firms such as BBDO, Needham Harper, and Market Facts. Harmon has been with the company almost from the beginning and has played an integral role in making it the successful company it is today. From tasting to buying to managing the business and its employees, Harmon makes his presence felt every day.

To this day, Michael and Harmon taste every vintage of every wine that makes it into the portfolio - to insure that they are good enough to wear the Skurnik name.

   
       
  OUR PHILOSOPHY    
 

The goal of Michael Skurnik Wines is to search the globe and assemble the finest portfolio of estate-bottled wines available at all price points. Wines selected to be included in the Michael Skurnik Wines portfolio must represent the highest quality and meet our exacting standards as regards character and winemaking. We are very proactive in searching out QUALITY FIRST and will do everything in out power to insure that the wines we taste make it INTO THE BOTTLE. Over the past 20+ years, we have developed an excellent reputation and it is our goal to insure that if a wine says "Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines" it is as close to a guarantee of quality as possible. To this day, Michael and Harmon taste every vintage of every wine that makes it into the portfolio - to insure that they are good enough to wear the Skurnik name. Wines are shipped using refrigerated containers (reefers) and are stored in our warehouse at a constant 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This insures that the wines arrive at the customer's door in optimal condition.

To hear a radio interview with Harmon Skurnik on the "Restaurant Guys Radio Show" click HERE.  You will need an MP3 player.

And, to hear the WFUV radio interview with Michael, Harmon and legendary DJ Pete Fornatale, click HERE to listen!