Sue Simpson, TasteVin’s Owner and CWO (Chief Wine Officer), opened TasteVin in August, 2013 after 10 years of dreaming about owning her own business.
Before opening TasteVin, Sue had a 25 year career in software sales and project management. In 2000, Sue moved from Virginia to California for her corporate job, and fell in love with the California fresh produce, the foodie San Francisco culture, and most of all, the wine. Always curious and wanting to learn more, Sue started taking wine classes, where she met Chef Cynthia Bloebaum. Chef Cynthia taught a food and wine class at Berkeley extension -- that class forever etched in Sue’s memory the glorious magic of food and wine pairing. It was an epiphany! This is what she knew she wanted to do – have others experience the enjoyment of how wine enhances food, and how food enhances wine.
Sue then decided to take her wine education to the next level. In 2008, she attended the Campbell Professional Culinary Institute’s Wine Program, where she studied and became a Certified Sommelier. In that class, Sue discovered nirvana – Burgundy! Soon after, the concept of TasteVin Wine Bar & Bistro was born. A TasteVin is an ancient cup that was used in Burgundy by sommeliers to evaluate wine, and the name seemed a perfect name for her wine bar.
TasteVin Wine Bar & Bistro is truly a dream come true, and Sue hopes you will be delighted by the TasteVin experience every single time you walk through the front door.
Chef Cynthia, the Culinary Concierge.
Chef Cynthia Bloebaum is a cook in her heart and believes a meal should always be accompanied with a glass of wine. Her philosophy to her recipes is that they are fresh, simple and well made.
Chef Cynthia's career spans over 25 years and she has held just about every position in the food industry. She is an accomplished cooking instructor, wine trainer and wine judge. Her palette is her best tool and as she says is a "gift that I just can't explain". Chef Cynthia has been conducting wine and food excursions since 2000, and has taken her clients to Argentina, France, Italy and Spain.
At the age of 10, Chef was put in charge of cooking her family's meals and loved the way she felt when the family like them. In a meeting with a college career counselor the only thing she could think of that she enjoyed doing was cooking. She entered the Culinary School at San Francisco City College and has never looked back. Even today, she gets that same feeling when she sees a customer enjoy one of her meals.
The deliberate attention of marrying food and wine is truly her passion. Pairing is a way of life for Chef Cynthia, not just a concept.
She joined TasteVin because she loves that the selections on the menu are thoughtful, the level of attention that is given to pairing the food with the wine and the dedication to locally sourced fresh produce and ingredients.
Lillian Lim, TasteVin's Wine and Cheese Buyer
A Wine Appreciation class from Cornell’s Hotel Administration School left such an imprint in Lillian’s heart she had to follow it years after a long career in the software industry. While she loved writing software her heart was no longer in it. It was time for a new direction for her life. It was time pursue her passion for wine and cheese.
Lillian started her new career at The Cheese Shop in Carmel. She was quickly promoted to Cheese Buyer and more importantly she was introduced to wines from Burgundy that forever changed her world.
Not only is Lillian a cheese expert, in 2010 she became a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In 2013, Lillian joined Sue Simpson during the pre-opening stages of TasteVin. As TasteVin’s Wine and Cheese buyer Lillian seeks out wines from all over the world that are delicious, rare, unique, and varietals you don't normally see.
Lillian hosts TasteVin’s weekly wine tastings. She loves the process of planning and preparing events. Her dedication to finding informative wine guests and new tasting flights each week is incomparable. She deeply cares about adding to your wine education and hopes during one of the tastings you will find a passion for wine, just like she did at Cornell.