NYC wine power list: #3 – Michael Skurnik

Screen shot 2013 03 27 at 9.01.09 AM Michael Skurnik is the third most influential person in wine in New York City according to our survey of industry elites.

Although he studied zoology as an undergrad, he got bitten by the wine bug while working at Windows to the World under Kevin Zraly. After a few other jobs in the wine world, he set up his own importing and distribution company in 1987. His brother, Harmon, joined the firm two years later.

Michael Skurnik Wines has an incredibly diverse portfolio of estate wines from around the world: the annual trade tasting is always packed. The portfolio includes many domestic wines as well as imported ones, including the those from Daniel Johnnes and Terry Theise (Skurnik is responsible too for distributing topless pictures of Theise). Over the years, top Skurnik sales reps such as Doug Polaner and David Bowler have gone off to found their own successful companies, further showing the importance of Skurnik as a training ground for top talent.

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14 Responses to “NYC wine power list: #3 – Michael Skurnik”


  1. Better choice than the last one.


  2. Well, none of my submissions are the list thus far.

    I had asked for clarification from Dr. Vino, when he first asked for the top 5, about whether they had to reside in the NY area, and he said no, so Robert Parker etc was my obvious choice.


  3. So RP,AG and Asimov left and two spots. Maybe they should revote.


  4. Okay. One sommelier, two importers. I guess the NY Wine Elite don’t get their wines from retailers?


  5. Dave

    I had previously typed my list here since I missed the deadline, but I had Don Zacharia on the list.

    I had none of these 3 folks on my email…too bad I failed to send it in ontime.


  6. AG took me a minute to figure out so I’d say he shouldn’t be on the list. And if we’re really going to include importer/distributor… I think others that should be seriously considered are Mark & Ed Lauber, Larry Goodrich and Charlie Marinoff.

    The moves that these 3-4 people were involved in have effected Daniel Johnnes, Michael Skurnik, Doug Polaner, David Bowler and Joe Dressner as much as anyone in the New York wine market whether Metro or state wide.


  7. Dave & Daniel,

    I’d say there certainly should be a retailer on the list and there are many options… including Don as well as a Kaplan and a Aaron. But if we’re talking the last decade that internet thingy played a big part in both retail and restaurant wine markets, maybe Al Gore should get a spot. Or I hate to even type this here… that Jet guy that’s Jetted from the industry after kicking the retail mark-up metric in the ass.


  8. I should mentioned that both Don and John Kapon were on my list.


  9. Congrats to Michael – a first class guy who gets the job done… I am lucky to admit that if we went to school together, he would have sat right behind me alphabetically…. not that it would have served him well to look over my shoulder to copy my tests!


  10. Congratulations MS & HS. What a great contribution to the industry you have made over the years.


  11. Great list, and an effective way to roll it out. Congratulations to the winners. Well deserved from what I’ve seen so far.


  12. And the man plays a mean guitar.


  13. How about selling a pin up calendar of influential people (à la Terry Theise) in the wine world to defer Antonio Galloni’s legal fees.


  14. […] Asimov, NYT Paul Grieco, Hearth and Terroir wine bars Michael Skurnik, Michael Skurnik Wines Daniel Johnnes, Dinex Group, Daniel Johnnes Imports, and La Paulée Joe Dressner, Louis/Dressner […]


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