Cheers to Change
Celebrated sommelier Michael Flynn departs Mansion on Turtle Creek for new wine adventure
After more than three decades in restaurant service, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek sommelier Michael Flynn is leaving his post as one of the city’s best wine stewards for a job with Favorite Brands, a small fine wine distributorship in Texas. A new division and position were created especially for him.
Flynn will be working with high-quality wines from Europe, Italy, France, Spain and Austria. “I’ll be the manager of a collection of wines that get less attention than they deserve,” he says. “I guess you could call them ‘geeky wines.’ They’re suitable for someone who’s been a sommelier for 26 years.”
“I’ll be the manager of a collection of wines that get less attention than they deserve,” Flynn says. “I guess you could call them ‘geeky wines.’”
Flynn, who has an advanced diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers, began working at the Mansion in 2007. There he oversaw the wine inventory and beverage programs, trained the service staff and led wine events like the popular wine chats. He arrived in Dallas after a remarkable stint at Kinkead’s in Washington, D.C., where he was nominated three times for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.
On his Facebook page, Flynn wrote that he had no idea that his first job as a waiter during graduate school in Georgetown would ignite a lifelong passion in the hospitality business. For many years he triumphed, even during times of great change — computerized point-of-sale systems and OpenTable, culinary revolutions and James Beard Awards, celebrity chefs and movie star sommeliers — but he decided a change was in order as he approached his 60th birthday.
“Looking ahead to this landmark next year, I had to ask, ‘How long can I continue to do this?’” he says. “It is extremely physically demanding. Being on your feet for 10-11 hours a day, running up and down the stairs, you’re covering a lot of ground. I’m blessed I don’t have back or foot problems, but I’m going to be slowing down.
“I thought, with my knowledge and experience and contacts, there has to be another role I can play. So I began speaking to a few people, and things started to congeal around a couple of ideas.”
Flynn, who says he has been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring from friends and colleagues, departs the Mansion on July 12. Then he’ll spend a much-deserved week off at a lakehouse in New York before starting his new gig.
“Late summer is a downtime in the market, so I’ll be on the learning curve for a few weeks and then go right into Texsom, the wine conference, where I’ll play a good-size role with Favorite Brands,” he says.
He is also finishing a book, a professional memoir. “I began writing it about a year and a half ago,” he says. “I’m almost 200 pages into the manuscript. I’m getting into the back stretch.
“The working title is “Vintage Gifts: My Life as a Sommelier. It’s not a tell-all. It’s a tell-some.”