June 14, 2023
The Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café strives to provide an environment of hospitality to all our guests, which is why we are pleased to announce that Matt Williams is our new General Manager. Matt is no stranger to the café and you may have known him as a Wine Sales Associate and Wine Club Manager. He has been working here in various roles since 2007 with some gap periods that he spent pursuing other passions.
As a natural leader, he is stepping into this role to help drive our business operations forward. With this deep understanding of the ins and outs of the café, a love for wine, and a passion for leadership, he will seamlessly step into the position of General Manager.
Matt’s Goals as General Manager
Matt is a goal-centered individual who is constantly in pursuit of challenging himself and those around him, which is part of his motivation to take on the role of General Manager. To put it in his own words, “I am looking forward to growing with a group of people and elevating our service and practices.” One of his goals is to learn new skills and explore ways to continue to bring the best quality service to our customers.
We have no doubt he will effectively handle any hurdles in this role because he steadfastly remained with us through the most difficult days of Covid-19 and has seen the ebb and flow of the business through the years. We have always been able to rely on Matt to assist where needed, taking on tasks that aren’t on his list of specified duties. When the restaurant is bustling and food needs brought to guests or dishes need to be bussed from tables, he is always there to help the team.
Matt was even our cellar rat (an affectionate term for those who love the art of making wine and don’t quickly burn out from the hard work involved during harvest) for our Bernat wines. After a long day at the Wine Merchant & Café, he would tend to the daily punch downs required before the wine is ready to go to barrel.
From His First Wine Tasting to Sommelier
” I tend to geek out on things, anything I am involved in, I tend to just take a deep dive.” – Matt
Matt’s persistence is how he came to the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café in 2007 and a reason why we know he will excel in his new role. Once his interest was sparked in a career at the café, he immediately applied and remained persistent for months until he joined our team. No one’s first day ever goes as smoothly as they would wish, but his first day ended at urgent care to get stitches on the tip of his thumb that he managed to nearly cut off. Although he believed that was where his career with us would end, we are happy that he and his thumb continue to be part of the café’s story.
Growing up in Orcutt, California, Matt developed a keen sense of the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez communities and naturally developed an affinity for wine and good food. Right before coming to the café in 2007, he went on his first wine-tasting trip to Paso Robles where he stumbled through the pronunciation of the varietals, specifically Sangiovese. Matt has now completed the first level (of 4) of the Court of Master Sommeliers. His knowledge of wine will propel our team to the next level to bring even more expertise to the service and products we provide.
We asked him how his passion for the world of wine grew and he shared, ” I tend to geek out on things, anything I am involved in, I tend to just take a deep dive.” He is most fascinated by how making wine has hardly changed for thousands of years; still taking the humble grape through a relatively similar process as it was from the start, to become the captivating beverage that is shared around dinner tables and amongst loved ones throughout the world.
Who is Matt outside of the Café?
He shared, “I missed the people — the regulars I have genuine relationships with and the camaraderie with team members.”
Matt’s journey often brought him back to the café although he is accomplished in more areas than just wine and restaurants. He dreamt of being the first in his family to attend college, so he ventured to UC Santa Cruz where he obtained his B.A. in Geology. His second stint away from the Wine Merchant & Café was to pursue his Ph.D. in Seismology at USC. We were happy to give him the space to pursue his dreams but even happier when he pivoted back to the restaurant business. He shared, “I missed the people — the regulars I have genuine relationships with and the camaraderie with team members.” And they all couldn’t be happier when he returned… again!
Apart from taking on the responsibilities of general manager, his greatest adventure is being a husband and father of three — with twins under two years old!
All of his life experiences and challenges have made Matt into a well-educated leader who can handle the issues du jour that happen in this industry and have the confidence to lead a front-of-the-house team to be the best that they can be. In return, we hope to provide Matt and his family the stability to grow with our business for many years to come.
– Owners, Sam and Shawnda Marmorstein