Like so many students, Ed Finch began his wine journey at the grocer’s shelves. His palate soon progressed in sophistication with the help of a special wine merchant he discovered while practicing law in in New York City. While searching for the best shop in NYC with knowledgeable friends, he found a small storefront run by the man who would become his decades-long wine mentor, Bernie Fradin. Bernie served, among others, Buckingham Palace and was widely acclaimed for his palate and knowledge.
Returning home to practice law, and later to establish FHL Capital, Ed found a growing wine community. He had the good fortune to join several tasting groups which furthered his wine education and passion. As Ed says, nothing so humbles one as blind tastings with knowledgeable experts. “Sharing wine with friends and family is one of life’s great blessings.”
The passion for wine led to a passion, shared by his lovely wife Mary, for travel. Together they have visited vineyards all over Europe, South America, and California.
Saddened by the loss of the Western Wine Stores, Ed seeks to fill a void and expand the opportunities for Birmingham residents to purchase and enjoy great wine at Finch Fine Wines. Through the shop, both novice and connoisseur will be able to find the widest selection of wines available today in our area and learn why Thomas Jefferson said, “Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”
Todd Russell returns to his roots as assistant manager of Finch Fine Wines. His first job in the wine business 20 years was at the Western wine shop in Mountain Brook. From there, he became a wine distributor with International Wines, Inc. He sold wines to distinguished customers such as Hot and Hot Fish Club, and to Daniel George Restaurant..
“I am jumping back into a past life that is exciting for me,” said Todd.
He began his career in the restaurant business as the first grill cook for Arman’s, right out of culinary school. In 1994, he moved to Atlanta to start a restaurant. He then spent the next two decades operating and opening restaurants, even Bacca, his own in Crestline Village. For a time, he was the lone man in the Southern Living test kitchen.
Now, he is enjoying helping Ed Finch start a new concept at Finch Fine Wines. “I originally connected with them through the International Wine and Food Society, which is basically a local wine club. Ed was one of the more serious wine collectors in all of Birmingham," Todd observed.
“When Ed approached me about helping open a wine store, I was very surprised because I know the nature of the business. It wasn’t until he explained the online nature of the store – that’s what really piqued my interest,” he added. “I was seeing a revolutionary way to buy wine in Birmingham. Much like Amazon changed the nature of retail in the country, I feel like we have the opportunity to do that for wine buyers in Alabama.”
Todd loves everything that goes along with being an entrepreneur, and he is passionate about the new ways Finch Fine Wines can serve customers with a large web-based inventory. His responsibilities include running the business side, putting orders together and meeting the deliveries – to make sure customers get what they order.
A fan of high-altitude cabernets, such as the ones coming from Argentina, Todd also enjoys Italian wines from Tuscany and burgundy and Rhone wines from France. His experiences in both food and wine have taught him a lot about how different wines bring out the best flavors of different foods – and vice versa. And he is delighted to be able to share his insights with others through Finch Fine Wines.
Another passion is golf croquet. Todd is ranked as one of the top 50 players nationally. He and his wife, whom he met when a friend brought her to a game, created their own court for local practice and competition.
Proving, once again, that you often meet the most interesting people over a glass of wine.
Nate’s addition to our staff as Marketing Director is a welcome addition to Finch Fine Wines, and he brings a truly unique insight into wine with him.
As a Certified Level 1 Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and past manager of Café Dupont, one of Birmingham’s finest restaurants, Nate’s experience has proven to be helpful in all aspects of our operation.
His background and education in biomedical and environmental engineering hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his love for wine, high level wine education, and wine collecting. We feel lucky to have Nate here at Finch Fine Wines, and we know you will find him to be a great resource for you with your wine purchases.
To truly understand Nate’s passion for wine, here is a favorite quote from him, “Wine is humble in its origins, yet complex in nature. It is a beautiful expression of both culture and terroir that brings people closer together to create memories that last forever.”
Chief Technology Officer
After almost 35 years in banking, Shelby turned a passion for wine into a second act in the wine industry.
“Finance and wine have more in common than you might think,” says Shelby. “They both require thought and attention to detail, but also a big creative streak.”
Most of Shelby’s banking career was in credit risk management, and along the way he earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. In the last few years, though, he worked in the construction of automated solutions for mining the mountains of data that banks generate.
He began exploring wines in the early 2000s, and started out drinking mainly Southern Rhone reds. They’re still a favorite, but a visit to Huiterie Regis in Paris opened up the world of white wines and food pairings – Sancerre with tangy French oysters, in that instance.
That led to more serious formal study, culminating with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines.
Now retired from banking, Shelby enjoys combining his work experience and passion for wine in Finch Fine Wines groundbreaking concept – offering thousands of wines from one convenient location.