Heitz Cellar Estate Director and Master Sommelier Erik Elliott grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and graduated from Temple University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration focusing on Marketing.


After falling in love with hospitality and wine while working at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Philadelphia, he sold everything he owned to move to Aspen, CO, to pursue his dream of becoming a Master Sommelier. Erik landed at The Little Nell, the world-renowned hotel and wine program at the base of Aspen Mountain. Erik spent six years in the James Beard-nominated wine program and worked his way up to become the Lead Sommelier. When The Little Nell would close each off-season, Erik would spend his time visiting the most esteemed estates throughout France, Italy, and Spain, honing his knowledge and appreciation for wine. After his colleague Carlton McCoy Jr. accepted a position at Heitz Cellar following Gaylon Lawrence, Jr.’s acquisition, Erik felt that he still had more to learn and traded the mountains of Aspen for Napa Valley’s vineyards.


In 2019, he accepted a position as the Estate Director at Heitz Cellar. In August of 2022, Erik’s dream was realized when he passed the Master Sommelier Exam on his second attempt.


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

I am currently working as the Estate Director for Heitz Cellar in Napa Valley. Being a Master Sommelier has supported me in a number of ways, it has afforded me the opportunity to meet and network with wine lovers at various stages of their wine journey. The community has been so supportive and after passing I have had the chance to be on panels, featured in articles, and attend and work events througout the country. It also just puts you on people’s radar for additional opportunities down the road.


Where were you working when you passed?

I was working in my current role as the Estate Director for Heitz Cellar when I passed the exam in 2022.

What made you want to become an MS?

I initially wanted to become an MS after taking the Introductory course in 2015, I was so inspired by the instructors and the prestige and opportunities afforded those that passed that I continued to pursue the accreditation. Over time, it really just became a personal goal I set for myself, the relationships and experience as a result were the greatest in my life. It is really hard to imagine what my journey and career would be if I didn’t ever take that first Introductory course.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

The biggest piece of advice I would give those pursuing the certification would be don’t compare yourself to others, everyone is on a different path. Enjoy the ride and realize how fortunate we are to be spending our lives studying something that provides people with so much joy, is culturaly significant, and as vast as the world of wine and hospitality.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

2005 Corton-Charlemagne from Coche-Dury