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About Monopole Wine

MONOPOLE WINE offers hand selected, high quality premium wines at competitive prices, with an emphasis on educating the consumer. To this end we host special wine tastings and classes, and a wine bar with daily tastings of wines in our inventory. Our highly trained staff is here to help you discover wine, find what you’re looking for to fit any occasion, and make recommendations you can bank on. We encourage our customers to explore and learn about different wines from around the globe, in order to engender an appreciation for different tastes, cultures and foods. We want our customers to come back based on our integrity, trust, and passion for wine, as well as our great pricing, and fun and informative wine tastings. Finally, we are part of a community, and believe in working with other businesses, organizations, and individuals, not only to stimulate business, but to make life, work, and community more enjoyable.

The Origins of Monopole:

In 2009 Peter Nelson and Hiro Tamaki met while studying for their WSET advanced level wine exams. At that time they discovered they shared a passion for similar-styled wines and an ambition to create a place to offer these wines. In addition they wanted the opportunity to educate others about the vast array of great wines in the world that convey a sense of character and place. MONOPOLE WINE was thus conceived as such a place. After they had subsequently both passed the difficult Certified Wine Educator exams, they set about finding a location in Pasadena that would be centrally located, conveyed a sense of permanence, and had character, just like the wines they wished to offer. The name “Monopole Wine” was conceived after it was discovered both Hiro and Peter had been reading “Kamino Shizuku” ("Les Gouttes de Dieu" in French, and recently published as "Drops from God" in English), a Japanese Manga comic book about a wine sommelier protagonist. The Tokyo wine bar in the story where all the characters hang out is called “Monopole”, and means a single vineyard or appelation owned by just one producer, and is particular the Burgundy Region in France.

About the owners:

Peter Nelson is originally from Seattle and came to Southern California for Law School after earning his degree in French. He caught the wine bug in 2001 after he took a UCLA extension class on wine taught by James Yobsky. He worked for a short time at various retail wine stores, including Red Carpet, Heritage Wine Company, and Chronicle Wine Cellar. In 2005 he started his own business hosting wine tastings at various locations, including the Armory Center for the Arts, all while continuing to practice law. In 2008 he taught the wine program at the Cordon Bleu California School of Culinary Arts. Then in 2010, with a clear goal of bringing quality driven, high-end wine to Pasadena, he and co-owner Hiro Tamaki started MONOPOLE WINE. Peter has visited every major wine region in France, Italy, and the United States, as well as parts of Germany, and has passed the Advanced Sommelier Exam of the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Advanced Level of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust based in London (WSET), and the top exam of the Society of Wine Educators, the CWE. He is currently studying for his Master Sommelier Certificate, having passed the theory portion of the exam. In preparing for the exam he has interned at Spago, Mastros, Bourbon Steak, and Faith and Flower. Working the 2002 harvest in Sancerre has also added to his understanding of this sometimes elusive drink. He has practiced law for over 20 years, and is now devoting his time to MONOPOLE WINE. He also speaks French and Italian, and is always eager to share what he can about selecting, drinking, or exploring new wines.

After completing his Criminal Law Degree at Keio University in Japan , Hiro Tamaki came to the United States to further his advanced education studies in California. First stop was the University of San Francisco where Hiro received a Master of Arts in Education. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he completed a Masters of Public Administration from USC. While working as an Executive with Shiseido Cosmetics Company, he began to take notice of the fine wines which were served at private corporate functions. Taking this newfound interest to heart, Hiro began attending wine tastings at Martin Weiner’s Los Angeles School of Wine. This led to the long road of achieving his credentials as a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) as well as earning an Advanced Diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), where he passed with distinction. He teaches wine classes in Japanese and has engendered an avid Japanese customer base in the Los Angeles area. He frequently visits Napa Valley and other wine regions in California, and now focuses his professional and personal time at MONOPOLE WINE with the goal of sharing his passion for balanced and terroir-driven wines with customers and friends. Hiro also is an avid cook who brings Japanese culture and cuisine to bear in his love of wine and wine and food pairing.