Proprietor & Founder
The Wine Consultant
Eric Stumpf grew up in Berkeley, California with his three younger brothers during the 1950s and turbulent 60s. He graduated from UC Berkeley as a pre-law student in 1972 from the School of Criminology, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa.
Reminiscing, Eric says, "Maybe it was during my teen years when I would awaken very early on Sunday mornings to sample the dregs of left over wine bottles from my Mom's elaborate dinner parties?.... I don't quite know what started it, but somewhere in my growing up process, I became 'side tracked' according to my father, and fell in love with the hospitalilty side of fine dining restaurant work for the next twenty years. It sure helped pay my tuition. My first job as a restaurant wine buyer was 1974. My passion to learn and experience the world of gastronomy became obsessive. For nearly twenty years I honed my skills as a professional waiter, sommelier ....when no one cared who you were, and maitre d'. My wife worked days, and I worked nights and played Mr. Mom to support our two children."
In 1990, with a whopping $15,000 equity line of credit, Eric Stumpf opened The Wine Consultant, a specialty fine wine store and tasting bar in the suburbs of Sacramento county, California. Five years later, the business was prospering, but Stumpf was in the process of a divorce.
In 1998 Stumpf began to use the internet as a marketing tool to e-mail his free "newsletter" to customers. In 1999 his first webstore www.TheWineConsultant.com was developed and launched. Today, The Wine Consultant is not just a little local store anymore. The Wine Consultant's readership is global, and it sells and ships wine to a dedicated, expanding customer and corporate account base throughout the United States.
Stumpf states, "The simple goal at The Wine Consultant is to forage, critique, procure, and then share our discoveries reflecting the diversity of wine produced from distinctive places throughout the world. Of course, our central location in California gives us countless opportunities to source the west coast for new wines. Every year, we travel at least twice for extended trips to explore the local gastronomy of fine wine producing regions in the Southern Hemisphere and Europe. We admire and respect traditional, minimalistic, non-intervention winemaking and viticulture practices. At the same time, we understand and appreciate when modern techniques and approaches can produce a 'better' wine, but without compromising its expression of origin or terroir."
As the name suggests, The Wine Consultant offers a range of consulting services including business startups, marketing strategies, menu planning, cellar design, inventory management, software design - www.Odyssey-VI.com , and insurance appraisal.
Eric Stumpf now 58, married his longtime girlfriend Renee Kroeger in 2004. Renee's 20+ years of retail experience in her family's nursery business has proven indispensible in the continuing success of The Wine Consultant. Renee and Eric live in Fair Oaks near the American River Parkway, where they religiously run 8-10 miles, three times a week to offset their love for consuming fine wine and Renee's excellent, and usually health-conscious cuisine. Slow Food members, Renee is a Farmer's Market addict! Last Spring Eric and Renee purchased six acres (including a commercial one acre, 23 year old vineyard) in the Ophir area west of Auburn in the Sierra foothills of Placer county. They intend to build a new home and practice a modified level of sustainable living within a few years.