Wine Director Maximilian Kast

Wine Director Maximilian Kast

Max joined The Fearrington House in 2007 as Sommelier, and within a year was promoted to Wine Director with responsibilities for the beverage program for the entire property. He organizes and hosts Fearrington House’s popular Wine Maker Dinner series. And he also teaches popular and inexpensive Wine and Beer Classes at The Fearrington Granary Restaurant.

Max changes Fearrington House’s over 1000 label wine list regularly to match the seasonal changes of Executive Chef Colin Bedford’s menu. The list includes wines from all over the world, from verticals of famous Napa Valley Producers and First Growth Bordeaux to in-depth selections of the best wines from Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy, with a representation of every major wine-making country in the world.

His broader responsibilities include the beverage program for special events, The Goat café, The Fearrington Granary Restaurant, and Roost, Fearrington’s beer garden. Max also facilitates wine and beer oriented teambuilding activities popular with corporate and group clients.

Max has been quoted by, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Wines of France, Sommelier Journal, The Local Palate, Craftbeer Magazine, Wine Spectator and local media like Metro Magazine.

Previously Max was Wine Director at Triple Creek Ranch, also a Relais & Chateaux property, in Montana from 2005 to 2007. Here he increased the scope of the wine list to span over fourteen countries, and over 250 selections. The restaurant received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, and Wine Enthusiast’s Award of Distinction. He also organized the Vintner Series, an annual series of weekends in which winery owners and winemakers joined guests for wine dinners and a seminar.

Having grown up in a very food oriented German-American family in Michigan, Max found his love of food and wine very early on. Every Sunday was spent with his mother and father in the kitchen cooking all day, and at night for a house full of guests. Members of his family also were in management positions at local food purveyors such as American Spoon Foods, Zingerman’s Deli, and Neal’s Yard Dairy – pioneers in the local and fine food movement – offering Max experiences that influenced him to have a love of food, especially handcrafted foods.

Max studied history at the University of Montana, and it was there that he started working in restaurants. It was also where he became serious about wine. What particularly intrigued him was how every wine bottle offered a journey to another place and an introduction to new people, and how, when paired with food, it evokes happiness and shared memories among people.

Since joining The Fearrington House in 2007, Max played a key role in maintaining its coveted Five Diamond award status with the American Automobile Association. Additionally, he:

  • Max placed second in the TopSomm National Finals in 2014, the pre-eminent Sommelier competition in the United States.
  • Received Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence for 2015 and 2014.
  • Was named Rising Star Sommelier for the Carolinas by in 2013.
  • Passed the Advanced Test with the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009 on his first attempt. Max successfully passed the theory and practical portion of the Master Sommelier Exam, and is working hard in preparation to pass the test in the near future.
  • Continues Fearrington House’s run as a recipient of Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, an honor received every year since 2004.
  • Was regional regional finalist, Top/Somm 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 competitions, sponsored by the Guild of Sommeliers and the Court of Master Sommeliers.
  • Placed third in Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’s Best Young Sommelier in the USA competition in 2013.
  • Took the top spot at the second annual Sommelier Challenge at Rodney Strong Vineyards in Sonoma in 2013.