Thief Wine was co-founded in 2008 and is owned by Phil Bilodeau, who moved here from California Wine Country to start this adventure and our passion. We're a boutique fine wine shop and bar, featuring eclectic and distinctive wines from all over the world, both classic and emerging regions and at a wide range of prices. (Don't worry - we have craft beers and spirits to meet all your needs as well!) We've got a great staff and we all love what we do, turning people on to wonderful wines and values, and giving every customer the best possible experience. We look forward to seeing you!
Why Thief? "Thief" refers to a barrel thief, which is a long glass tube used to extract maturing wine from barrels for sampling at a winery. We chose the name to reflect that special insider experience, giving you access to wines you might not otherwise discover. Plus, the name's fun and interesting, hopefully evocative and memorable, not stuffy or boring - exactly what wine should be.
Phil has extensive experience and knowledge in wine sales and education, strategic planning, marketing, and industry consulting. He is a certified sommelier and is currently Wisconsin's only candidate for the Master of Wine designation, the industry's most highly sought-after and difficult-to-achieve certification. Phil has successfully passed both parts (theory and blind tasting) of the exam and at some point will get around to doing his dissertation to complete the process.
Prior to moving to Milwaukee, he spent five years out in Napa and Sonoma, where he worked for Grgich Hills Estate, Trefethen Vineyards, and as Director of Communications at Sonoma County Vintners, a trade organization representing the region's wines & wineries. Originally from Boston, Phil spent five years in Minneapolis as a wine distributor (and in a pre-wine career, online producer for Minnesota Public Radio, freelance writer, and editor for Horticulture magazine.)
Jon brings years of experience as a lover of wine and cheese. New to Milwaukee, he most recently worked in Chicago as the sommelier at Eno Wine Room on Michigan Avenue. Before that he managed a small wine bar in New York City's West Village and spent years as a sommelier, wine buyer, and manager for restaurants helmed by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, gaining a in-depth education in the regional wines and cooking of Italy.
He is tickled to have moved with his family to Wisconsin, and to have landed at Thief Wine.
Jordan's wine career started back when he was working at a brewery and restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina (his hometown). Though he had no wine experience, he was interested, learned from the restaurant's wine buyer, and parlayed that into working for a wine distributor (one of the best ways to immerse yourself in wine). That led to working at one of Charlotte's top wine bars, furthering his wine knowledge and leading to him starting the WSET program (which he's still continuing).
Jordan moved to Milwaukee in 2022 with his fiancé (now wife), who's from the city, found Thief Wine (or we found each other!), and his wine curiosity and knowledge has been a fantastic fit - whether behind the bar or in the retail area, he'll give you the recommendation you're looking for!