Co-Founder, Events, Ideas, & Aesthetics Director
Known for her relaxed style of wine education, Cara Patricia's motto is "Drink for Yourself", a reminder that regardless of the trends and fads of the beverage world, what is most important is what makes YOU happy.
Cara has been specializing in wine and beverage since 2008 when she became the first Manager/Wine Steward of Chicago’s Longman & Eagle and events coordinator at fine wine & spirits retail at Chicago's LUSH Wine & Spirits.
In 2011 she moved to Napa Valley to attend the nation's premier school for wine and beverage education: The Culinary Institute of America. Under the mentorship of Master Sommeliers and industry leaders, Cara gained experience in wine, beer, and distilled spirits theory, wine business, marketing, and mixology. While studying at the CIA, Cara met Simi Grewal and trained as a private client wine consultant at Napa Valley’s ACME Fine Wines.
In San Francisco, she was Lead Sommelier at Hakkasan and won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2013, and then simultaneously oversaw the $3MM cellar of Bright Wine Fund & Michelin Three Star restaurant Saison as Cellarmaster, which received the Wine Spectator Grand Award under her tenure.
Knowing that she dreamed to open her own space one day, Cara gained experience on the wine sales and import side at Domaine Select Wine & Spirits and Strategic Group as San Francisco Champagne Specialist representing Moët Hennessy Champagnes (Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignón, Ruinart and Krug.)
On May 1, 2019, Cara and co-founder Simi Grewal opened the doors to DECANTsf, a sustainable wine and craft beer bottle shop & Bar, combining hospitality, education, and curated selections for the every day drinker.
In September 2015, Cara earned her Advanced Sommelier credentials from the Court of Master Sommeliers. In addition, Cara is WSET Advanced, as well as a Certified Wine Professional (CWP) and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Culinary Institute of America and Society of Wine Educators, respectively. She also holds certifications as California Wine Appellation Specialist from the San Francisco Wine School and French Wine Scholar from the French Wine Society.
When she’s not drinking Cru Beaujolais, Cara is hanging out at comedy shows and playing with her cat Siouxsie Sioux.
Co-Founder, Education & Financial Director
Simi’s career with food & wine traces back to her freshman year at NYU, when she fully began to realize how much joy she took in cooking. At NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Simi created an interdisciplinary degree that focused on “The Business of Food”. Rather than pursue a culinary degree, this degree allowed her to complete both Business and Economics minors, as well as complete a comprehensive program of study that explored the impact of food on social, political and economic cultures around the globe.
Simi has always worked in positions that allowed her to gain a holistic understanding of the hospitality and restaurant industries. During her undergrad, she worked as a line cook; interned in the marketing department of a major restaurant chain; interned abroad through every department of a central London hotel; and, worked for the Manhattan luxury grocer, Citarella.
After a year of managing a small restaurant in Manhattan's West Village, Simi headed west to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley to complete the Accelerated Wine & Beverage Program. There, she met Cara!
After graduating from the CIA in 2012, Simi returned home to New York, and joined the team as a server at the acclaimed Eleven Madison Park. Despite working with one of the best teams in the industry, Simi missed California dearly, and was soon hungry for a more wine-focused opportunity. In the summer of 2013, she headed back to San Francisco to join the Grand Award-winning team at The Village Pub, in Woodside.
During her time at the Michelin-starred Pub, Simi gained an incredible amount of insight to the northern California wine market, as well as managing a large, profitable and respected wine program. After three and a half years with The Village Pub, she's moved on to help launch DECANTsf in a full time capacity. Simi has since prepared for owning her own business by working with another wonderful San Francisco wine bar, Birba.
Simi holds a Certified Sommelier credential from The Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as a Certified Wine Professional (CWP) and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Culinary Institute of America and Society of Wine Educators, respectively. She also loves watching European football, and hanging with golden retrievers.
photos: Sarah Rodriguez
Team Work makes the Dream Work
Cara & Simi don’t do it all alone…
Giselle Ramirez is employee #1 at DECANTsf. With experience as a beer wizard at San Francisco’s incredible gourmet grocery store Bi-Rite, we’re so excited for Giselle to bring that knowledge to DECANT.
Sophi Hirsch is a certified sommelier and hospitality maven. Currently bringing great service to guests of The Progress, Sophi will be at DECANTsf learning the intricacies of running a program, creating efficient systems, and getting her hands all over the cellar.
Adjunct Faculty at DECANTsf
Matt Montrose is a San Francisco-based Advanced Sommelier with a LOT of Michelin Stars under his belt. Currently, Matt is the Director of Business Development at OmVino. Previously, he was the Wine Director for Atelier Crenn. You’ll find him behind the bar at DECANTsf whenever Simi or Cara really need a night off! Ask him ANYTHING about any wine in almost any language.
Davis Smith is a Certified Sommelier who has dipped his toes in all parts of the Bay Area wine industry. Currently, Davis Smith represents the Bonhomie Imports book, and previously was a sommelier at Acquerello, 1760, and The Bay Grape. His Italian wine knowledge is vast, so you’ll see him at DECANTsf as a special guests teacher of SCHOOL of DECANT!
Kelly Evans is a wine industry veteran who also has a burgeoning stand up comedy career. Currently, Kelly Evans represents the H. Mercer wine portfolio as well as operates tours of Napa Valley. Previously he worked with Cara at Saison and Les Clos, and with Simi at Birba. He loves being bossed around by the ladies of DECANTsf, so be extra nice to him when you see him behind the bar! Ask him to tell you a joke– he loves that.