I want to create an environment where wine is fun and enjoyable, and stokes curiosity.
An Austin, Texas, native, Ali Schmidt’s curiosity for wine began during
her college years at DePaul University in Chicago while working her first
restaurant job at Lula Café. It was a glass of Tokaji and the mysterious
aromas of botrytis that triggered Ali’s first entry into the 'why' of wine and
left her eager to learn more.
Shortly after graduation, Ali moved back to Austin and began working at
Uchiko where she found her calling in wine and sake training. At Uchiko,
she formed a study group with coworkers and passed the Court of Master Sommeliers' Exam. It was at this time that Ali began to crave a more wine-driven environment, so she followed her passion and accepted a job at Jeffrey’s, a fine dining restaurant whose beverage program is led by June Rodil MS. At Jeffrey's, Ali deepened her knowledge of the world of wine and the core goal of hospitality in the role of a sommelier.
In 2017, Ali accepted a position as the wine director and manager of Emmer & Rye. In this role, Ali is able to embrace her love of exciting cuisine and her ability to push boundaries and she has the opportunity to
lead a staff of wine enthusiasts in creating a dynamic wine program.
Helmed by Executive Chef Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye brings a unique dining experience to Austin as the restaurant is designed around the farmers’ haul. With a focus on seasonally inspired and local cuisine, the menu changes daily. Ali enjoys the opportunity to work closely with the kitchen and shape the wine program to match the food and ethos of Emmer & Rye.