Garth Hodgdon, Director
How did a double-major in philosophy and English end up one of the foremost experts in the wine industry? Some might think Garth Hodgdon’s Napa Valley roots are the beginning and end of that story. Turns out, his journey into the world of wine has many twists and turns.
Garth’s passion for knowledge has always been balanced by a thirst for creativity. A one-time aspiring poet, he took his love of the written word and channeled it into a new opportunity: working for a record label in the City of Angels. When his favorite band came to town for an album release party, he was willing to do just about anything to score an invite — including volunteering to bar-back for the evening. He had never stepped foot behind a bar prior to that moment, and was never officially hired, but Garth went on to bartend there for over a year.
Anyone looking for proof that humble beginnings can breed great success should just follow the trajectory of Garth’s career. A few years later, that novice bar-back found himself back in wine country with a brand-new purpose: head sommelier at Thomas Keller’s Michelin-starred Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, Calif. The following year, he passed his Advanced Sommelier exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers and placed second in the National Chaîne de Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier Competition.
His tireless work ethic and unparalleled knowledge turned heads in the industry, where he was working alongside some of the best winemakers, sommeliers and hospitality professionals in the world. Garth’s name commanded attention on both coasts, where he charmed oenophiles in two more top-rated Michelin-starred restaurants, The French Laundry in Yountville and Per Se in New York City. He earned recognition as one of the “Best New Sommeliers in America” by Wine & Spirits Magazine, and has been a featured panelist in food and wine festivals across the country. He’s also proud to claim his 25 seconds of red carpet fame with a cameo in the critically acclaimed documentary film “SOMM.”
Ready for his next big challenge, Garth stepped away from fine dining to land one of the most coveted jobs on the planet: United States Ambassador for Krug Champagne. Wine education, tastings across all 50 states and hosting dinners and events kept him permanently on the road. He was a nomad whose life was driven by a deep love for Champagne, hospitality and connecting with fellow wine lovers.
Feeling that all of his experience has led him to his greatest opportunity to date, Garth is now the Managing Director of the Legacy Cellar Foundation. In this role, Garth is responsible for working with the world’s most passionate wine aficionados to transition their collections into transformative gifts to charities and causes they care about.
But Garth will tell you that all his achievements and accolades don’t measure up to his greatest personal success — marrying his wife, Cat. While Garth spends most of his days focused on the Legacy Cellar Foundation, he is also co-founder of Champagne Happy Hour, and is always looking for ways to interact with, educate and expand the world of wine.