About Our Sommelier Guides
Max Roher and Evan Rothrock
Max was born in Michigan, but had an international upbringing, growing up in Italy, Canada, Arizona, and the United Kingdom. Wine was always a topic at the dinner table, and Max grew up thinking that all eight-year-olds knew the good years of Bordeaux! After finishing college in February 2004, Max moved to San Francisco to work as an architect, and immediately became fascinated with California’s wine country.
A Chance Meeting…
“After working as an architect in downtown San Francisco for about a year, I decided that it was time for a change, although I had no idea what that change might be. I left the firm, and on my last day a couple of work buddies took me out to a nearby bar for some drinks. A conversation about the wine regions of the world with a stranger sitting next to me led to a job offer as a guide doing wine tours! I was jobless for under an hour…
I decided that I would take him up on it (at least temporarily until I found another architecture position). All of a sudden a year had gone by, and I realized how much I loved what I did. Being outside in vineyards everyday became my new office. I enjoyed pairing people to wineries – the way that a sommelier pairs wine to your meal. Being in business for myself seemed like the next logical step…
And so Max Napa Tours was founded by December, 2004.”
Max became a Certified Wine Professional (CWP) in 2010, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) in 2011, a Certified Sommelier in 2012, and obtained the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Advanced Certificate in 2013. He also makes wine at home.
Evan was born and raised in Arizona and the wine he was exposed to growing up was his parents’ grocery store Merlot. However, during his time working in the restaurant industry through college at Arizona State, he began to recognize the vast worlds corked up in wine. His appreciation of wine culture is the result of years of fundamentally self-taught knowledge and an adventurous palate.
Lucky enough to be taken under the wing of two budding sommeliers at one of the first wine-focused establishments he worked for, wine was elevated to a new level of esteem for Evan. He eventually followed their path, passing the first level exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2007. “Once I finished my degree in mathematics, I realized I was at a crossroads in my career. Every life lesson I had received to that point seemed to boil down to doing what makes yourself and those in your life happy.
Learning about wine has certainly done that for me and I love sharing my experiences with others, because like wine, experiences are meant to be shared. So, based on the logic and reasoning skills I had acquired in my education, I made the “obvious” decision to move to San Francisco and give wine tours.”
Evan passed his Certified Sommelier exam in 2013, and obtained the Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Advanced Certificate in 2015.