Tom Kobylarz: Partner Apex Fine Wine & Owner Wine Solutions, WSET3
While I have my particular tastes, it is yours that matters the most. The goal is to learn from each other so that I can bring you wines I know you will love. I cater to all price points and do my best to get the most bang for your buck. A collector at heart, I have been a consumer for over a decade so I know what it’s like on the other side of the transaction.
The wine bug bit me back when I was living in San Francisco in the early 2000s. I started to take notice of how unique and special wine was culturally there. Napa and Sonoma are an hours drive north, wine was very common in the social fabric as it was so accessible - I immersed myself as much as I could. After migrating back to NYC, I missed my easy trips to wine country so I threw myself into reading about wine and attending tastings to keep learning. I started a successful tasting group, the Hoboken Wine Group. I partnered, organized and executed successful wine events with producers and retailers. I started to make close friends in the wine business. And most importantly I have visited many of the great wine regions around the world in Europe, Africa, and the US – there is no better way to understand a wine than to visit the source of its creation.
WSET Level 3 certification with Distinction and recently passed a few parts of the WSET Diploma which will conclude my professional wine studies with a “DW” Diploma in Wines.
Eric Stokes, Apex Fine Wine Owner and professional sommelier, has worked in the wine trade for over 25 years. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Philosophy, he combines his love for wine with his deep passion for how wine has been a part of culture. Eric draws on his experience to be able to offer an unrivaled accessibility to some of the world’s most sought after wines like California gems Harlan, Caymus, Silver Oak, Verite and Cardinale; legendary Rhones, such as Guigal La Las, Chave Hermitage, Beaucastel; First Growth Bordeaux; Grand Cru Burgundy, to name a few.
Mikaela Brown, Store Manager, Wine Professional Extraordinaire
Mikaela is a Jacksonville, Florida native who's dreamed of North Carolina since the days of long drives to Raleigh for soccer tournaments. Beyond the tournaments and non-stop traveling the southeast, Mikaela has discovered a passion for wine, art, reading, and the outdoors. With a B.S. in Marketing from Florida State University, she brings a unique background teeming with work in a small-town winery and vineyard, restaurant/bar management, and the fast-paced marketing agency world. Her dream of working in wine started with the notion that wine is not just an alcoholic beverage, a simple drink, or a sought-after commodity. Authentic expressions bring people together in ways that showcase the history, land, climate, and people of the place it came from. To some, wine is nothing more than a housewarming gift or girl's night party starter – but to others, it's the world in a glass and a lifetime of exploration.
This fantastic dream has turned into a reality as Mikaela joins the Apex Wine Solutions team in Cary, NC. In the shop, you will find her writing about a recently tasted wine, studying the beloved wine regions of the world, or the less glamorous tasks of packing, moving, and shipping cases of the good stuff.
Mikaela holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wine with Distinction, is preparing for Level 3 and aspires to obtain the Master of Wine title.