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.
If you are interested in more information on the company, its origins and mission, we recommend you read an interview with Harmon by wine-people.com.