Michael Kennedy’s passion for wine started in an unexpected place: his 7th grade French class where his teacher shared the culture of French wine and how it’s something that brings people and families together while enhancing dining experiences. This always stuck with Kennedy even as he earned his bachelor’s degree in international business and French Language from Purdue.
Upon graduating Kennedy worked at a local Missouri vineyard where he studied to be a Certified Sommelier. Once Certified he looked to expand his exposure to wine and turned to the Ritz-Carlton. He worked as a Sommelier at two Ritz-Carlton properties, first Washington DC for two years, followed by the Grand Cayman property. At The Ritz- Carlton Grand Cayman, Kennedy served as Beverage Director at the restaurant on site, Blue by Eric Ripert. Blue exposed Kennedy to wines he never dreamt he’d work with and through his time there he came up with the idea to found Component Wine Company in 2014.
Since the start of Component, Kennedy has taken on additional projects leading to the creation of Fraîche Wine Group. Fraiche now holds a total of four wineries: Component Wine Company, Gagnon-Kennedy Vineyards, La Caccia di San Giovanni and SOM Wines. Kennedy aims to foster a culture centered around providing excellent wine and memorable hospitality for all patrons. It’s a gift to make wine and an even bigger gift to share it.
Kennedy was named to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list for his work in the wine industry and has been called a “Rising Star” by Food & Wine Magazine, “Super-Somm” by Bloomberg’s Elin McCoy and a “Top Young Entrepreneur in America” by Business Insider. He splits his time between Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Tuscany and his hometown, St. Louis. He and his beautiful wife Rachel have three sons.