Wine Division Manager
Tom began his career in the alcoholic beverage industry in 1982 at ShopKo Liquor. He worked his way up in the retail industry over the following 26 years from stock to sales, to inventory control, management and ownership.
Over time, his focus on retail wine sales resulted in the development of the area's first wine shop. Through this, he developed strong relationships and friendships with some of the best winemakers in the world.
Tom continually strove to increase his knowledge of wines. It was his knowledge and his California connections that allowed him to develop the first and largest charity wine tasting in Northeast Wisconsin, helping to raise over $1.5 million for the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay.
Over the years Tom has taken his wine knowledge to the wholesale level. When Triangle Distributing made the decision to diversify, expanding into wine, Gary Ziegelbauer chose Tom to lead the wine division now known as Legacy Brands. Tom's connections have already made Legacy a strong and respected wine distributor with great plans for the future.
In his free time, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife, and family.
Nicole Ise - Sales
As I was growing up, my parents would let me taste wines from time to time and I slowly grew to love sweet wines like Riesling. My world was opened in college when I was "forced" to take a wine and food pairing class as part of my degree. On the very first day of class my instructor had six different varietals of wine for us to taste. The last wine we tasted was the 1998 Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon. All of a sudden my palate exploded and I felt the wine was telling me a story, it had a beginning, a middle and an end that just kept lingering forever.
I started working at the college wine shop shortly after completing that class, then moved to California and started working at a Sonoma winery two weeks after graduating and stayed working in the wine industry in many different capacities for almost eleven years before moving home to Wisconsin.
My favorite part about wine is how human it is. Wine has legs, a nose, a body, a personality, and the more struggle the vines go through to get water and nutrients, the more complex the grape. Wine also brings people together, it's opened at special occasions or turns a typical night into a spectacular night. I look forward to sharing these moments with you and introducing unforgettable wines that enhance our lives.
Shane Ebel - Sales
When I was 20, I found myself in Tuscany for a semester abroad. I had the opportunity to spend my time with a generous host family who made amazing food for dinner every night and let me drink outstanding wine with them. I studied every type of wine we drank, and found more to buy at the market. It was a formative time in my wine-drinking life.
Later in my 20s, I spent more time abroad learning about customs, food and drink, and people from all over the world. I've spent time in Asia, Central America, and Europe drinking the local drinks, eating the local eats, and finding adventure along the way. These experiences make me so excited to help other people experience wines. To me, any meal can find the perfect companion in wine, even if it's from the other side of the world.
There isn't a food in the world that can't be paired with a wine to make the food go from delightful to transcendent. “Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” -Andre Simon
Being a member of the Legacy team is a delight. I have the opportunity to sell our excellent wines in Madison and south-central Wisconsin, and the trust that Legacy has in me gives me all the confidence in the world. The wines that Legacy has to offer sell themselves. It is hard to beat the focus on estate wines and small, unique producers. It's an exciting time to drink wine.
Joe Kolafa - Sales
Growing up as the eldest of six, meals have always been defined by the communion of self, what's on the table, and those we share it with. Since becoming introduced to the expansive world of wine, I've ceased to be amazed by how this beverage can elevate those experiences. It's what has motivated me to certify my knowledge with the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as what brought me to Legacy.
With a career that has been defined by various intersections of people, food, and wine, the opportunities that I have cherished most have placed me squarely between producer and consumer- and ideally not far from either. Having had the unique opportunity to work for one of Wisconsin's pioneering farm-to-table restaurants as well as one of its newest (L'Etoile in Madison and Belfrē Kitchen in Delafield respectively) , I've developed a tremendous respect for the individuals that cultivate, transport, and ultimately transform nature's bounty into incredible experiences. This background has instilled in me an appreciation for the many pivotal decisions made by growers and shaped my understanding of how these decisions eventually give way to what we taste as place and season.
Whether you're looking to incorporate distinctive selections to your current wine program, establish a new one, broaden staff knowledge, or coordinate engaging events, I look forward to the privilege of working with you in the pursuit of those endeavors.
Carrie Mihal - Sales
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
- Benjamin Franklin
My first introduction into the food and beverage industry was as a server and bartender in Cincinnati, Ohio in the early 1990’s. A friend recommended that I should apply for an open sales position with a beer and wine distributor, which is where it all began.
Along the way, my path was more of a scenic route than a direct one; I took a few educational detours. Plants, gardening, and science always interested me so I studied horticultural science for two years at a local college. Food and culture were other interests and led me to Anthropology. In 2007 I obtained a BA in Anthropology, graduating with honors.
I moved from Cincinnati to the Cleveland area, then to Milwaukee in 2011. Becoming a mother to two amazing boys kept me blissfully busy for several years. Eventually, I missed the wine business dearly so I ended up full circle and accepted a sales representative position with a wine distributor in Milwaukee.
When I’m not working, I try to travel when I can. Trying new foods and drinks, experiencing new places, and meeting people recharges my soul. When I’m at home, I find so much joy in cooking for others. It’s especially rewarding to introduce my children to new foods and teach them about where the food comes from and what makes it interesting. To keep a balance in life, I’m an avid runner and participate as many charity runs as I can manage. I’ve completed a full marathon and a half marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as well as a couple other half marathons and 5k runs for other causes.
To me, selling wine is all about building relationships with people. While I certainly am passionate about food and wine, the most fulfilling aspect of what I do is developing relationships with others who share a passion for food and wine. There are so many options when it comes to selecting wines; my goal is to be someone who makes it a little easier for my buyers. I strive to be reliable, honest, and genuine in my professional relationships, to be someone buyers want to see regularly and trust to partner with them for their wine programs.
I’m so fortunate and honored to be part of the Legacy team. Legacy truly is a supportive, caring, and family-like workplace. Working with a fantastic team makes all the difference!