Jacob Fairchild of Max's Wine Dive

So now that you know a little about my first experience at Max’s Wine Dive, I can go ahead and introduce you to Jacob Fairchild, who is the wine sales manager there. He gets to travel the world, meet with winemakers and taste some very delicious wines… and then bring them back home for the rest of us to enjoy at Max’s or in our own homes.

“What? At home?  I thought Max’s  was a wine bar?” you must be thinking. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that.

Back to Jacob:

So Jacob is a Houstonian who thought he wanted to become a band director, but the love of the grape (and the attempt at coordinating band parents) made him re-think that one. And Houston wine drinkers should be thankful.

Jacob switched gears while at the University of Houston, earning  a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and was one of Conrad N. Hilton College’s first students to pursue a minor in beverage management and marketing.  While in school, he began working at Max’s Wine Dive in 2008, opening the Austin location in May 2009, the same month he graduated. And he has enjoyed shaking up people’s perceptions of wine and coming up with innovative promotions ever since.

He hosted a regular The Price is Right-type  game with wine, where guests would taste a mystery wine and guess the prices. The winner, or whomever could guess the closest retail price without going over the price, would win a bottle take home.

“I must have a unique angle,” Jacob explains.

Jacob also wants all of the Max’s wait staff to not just serve wine, but to have an understanding and love of wine.

“We offer a very aggressive employee discount on wine so they can taste it at home,” Jacob said. “The best way to learn about wine is to drink it.”

In addition to just enabling staff to buy wines at a deep discount, though, he is also committed to training, educating and empowering each and every employees. Eight of the 11 servers on staff are taking the Certified Specialist of Wine exam next week and Jacob is preparing them for the rigorous 100-question exam through weekly lessons and required study sessions.

“It is a very detailed exam and I am taking them through it, making the information applicable, walking them through region by region,” Jacob said.

The exam is just around the corner: October 26. The national pass rate is 30%, but I have a feeling there will be many shouts of celebration once this team gets the results, especially with Jacob as their guide. His enthusiasm for wine is infectious and he makes it all make sense and seem so simple.

Jacob hopes that in educating his staff, his staff will be even more confident in suggesting wines for customers.

“I want our servers to be your tour guide and then become your partner in buying wine,” Jacob says.

He is quite liberal in enabling staff to offer tastes of wines and encourages staff to ask questions of the customers to get an idea of what they might enjoy, rather than just guess.

And then, once the guests have had a great experience at Max’s Wine Dive, just like Walt Disney World, he likes to send everyone home with a little bit of the magic.

“When someone leaves, I want them to feel like they met someone who understands them,” Jacob said. “And I want to hook them up with some good wine to go!”

Yep, Max’s not only serves wine, it also sells it by the bottle and by the case. And if you aren’t sure about a bottle to add to your case, they’ll give you a taste of it first to be sure you are will enjoy what you buy.

In addition to his in-restaurant duties, Jacob enjoys traveling to wineries and experiencing the wines there, too.

On one trip to winery in Oregon he enjoyed tasting several wines in the different growing areas within one vineyard and was able to see the makeup of the ground or the terroir and how it impacted the wine.

“The wine was the same, yet different because of the soil,” Jacob said. “At the bottom where there was more clay, the wine had a bigger feel.”

When asked who is wine hero might be, Jacob didn’t hesitate a second.

He said that those who have had wineries for decades are the rock stars.

He mentioned  Aurelio Montes, of Santiago, Chile,  whom Jacob had the opportunity to meet on a  recent winery visit. Jacob explained that Montes helped shape a movement to plant vines along the slopes of the valleys in Chile, rather than just on the valley floor, thus taking Chile to a new, more lucrative level of wine production. Montes’ vision enabled Chile to grow to produce luxury wines and gain more notice from the rest of the wine world. His new way of thinking and risk revolutionized the wine world in Chile.

Hmmm… no wonder Jacob likes him so much. Didn’t he say he likes to have a unique angle, too?

Visit Jacob and his team at Max’s Wine Dive at 4720 Washington Ave. at Shepherd in Houston.


Max’s Wine Dive HOURS: 

SUNDAY: 9am to 11pm

9am to 11pm
Brunch: 9am to 3pm

MONDAY:  4pm to 11pm

4pm to 11pm
Dinner: 4pm to 11pm
Happy Hour: 4pm to 7pm

TUESDAY through WEDNESDAY: 4pm through Midnight

Dinner: 4pm to Midnight
Happy Hour: 4pm to 7pm
“Reverse” Happy Hour: 10pm to 12am (discounts on food only)

THURSDAY: 4pm through 2am

Dinner: 4pm to 2am
Happy Hour: 4pm to 7pm
“Reverse” Happy Hour: Midnight to 2am  (discounts on food only)

FRIDAY and SATURDAY: 10am through 2am

Brunch: 10am to 3pm
Dinner: 4pm to Midnight
Happy Hour: 1pm to 7pm
“Reverse” Happy Hour: Midnight to 2am  (discounts on food only)

Phone 713.880.8737


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