Founder & President • Mouton Noir Wines • New York City • Age: 35
Andre Hueston Mack knew only of white wine until he attended a wine-tasting event. He developed an appreciation for different wines and quickly realized their monetary value. Now, founder and president of Mouton Noir Wines, his favorite wine is Burgundy. “It’s like the Victoria’s Secret of wines—seductive and silky,” he says, referring to the maker of women’s intimate apparel.
Mack lived in Germany from the age of nine to 12, during his parents’ military service. He studied finance at the University of Texas and worked briefly as a broker with Citicorp Investment Services before obtaining certification as a sommelier from Court of Master Sommeliers in Napa Valley. Calif. In 2003, he was named the best young sommelier in America by Chaine des Rotisseurs, the U.S. chapter of a French food and wine organization. He knew he was on the right career track when, as a temporary worker in the wine department of various restaurants, he found himself on par with the staff.
Inspired by 19th-century American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” Mack considers himself a trailblazer in the wine industry. “To me, it is not to be afraid just because others haven’t gone there before. As a wine drinker and taster, I’ve made my own path,” he says. Prior to establishing Mouton Noir, he was president and CEO of Nobel House Wines, which recorded $5 million in sales in 2006. “Mouton Noir is where all my energies are. It is a wine maker and distributor. I left Noble House to do exactly the same thing, but now I’m the owner,” he says.
Mack encourages those who wish to learn about wines to attend wine tasting events at local stores, read a good wine book and incorporate wine into their meals. “I hope everyone drinks more wine so I could continue to have a job,” he says.