Eric was introduced to the art of wine and winemaking while studying International relations in the south of France when he was invited to participate in a wine tasting.
Upon returning to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Zillier continued to expand his interest in wine by working at the Madison Restaurant L’Etoile, where he was introduced to wine importer Therry Thiese. Zillier’s passion was piqued and he decided wine was his calling.
Upon graduating Eric moved to New York. He took a position at Veritas Restaurant under Tim Kopec where he spent five years managing the world renowned 192,000 bottle cellar. While at Veritas the restaurant was awarded Wine Spectator’s Grand Award.
In January of 2005 Eric accepted the Wine Director position at midtown restaurant, Alto. Opening the restaurant with 900 selections, Eric initially focused on Italian Wines to compliment the restaurant’s emphasis on Northern Italian Cuisine. By 2008 Eric had expanded the list to 2500 selections representing all the wine producing regions in the world. For his efforts the list was awarded the Wine Spectator’s Grand Award in 2008 joining only 72 other restaurants worldwide with this distinction.
In early 2010, Zillier joined New York City’s legendary Gotham Bar and Grill as wine director. Following in the work of his predecessor Michael Nelson, Zillier plans to continue to source great producers that create wines of integrity, showing both a respect for the land as well as their own personal style.
Zillier has studied at the International Wine Center (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) in New York and has served on tasting panels for Bordeaux Magazine, Wine and Spirits Magazine, and The Global Traveler and has been quoted in The New York Times, Wine and Spirits Magazine, The New York Sun and Wine Spectator.