Erik P. Bilka was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. At an early age he developed an interest in the culinary arts. Cooking came naturally to Erik. It wasn’t long before he found himself a part of the restaurant world. He fine tuned his abilities In a range of areas, from the kitchen to the front of the house. His experiences In restaurants led him to pursue a degree from Niagara University in Hospitality Management. During his studies he was afforded an opportunity to take a semester abroad in Engelberg, Switzerland. While in Europe, Erik studied oenology and came to discover his passion and understanding of wine.
After graduation Erik toured the United States on motorcycle, making time to take in the food and drink of the many regions he visited. His travels and work experiences took him from the east coast to the west coast from Alaska to the Caribbean. In 1999 Erik relocated to the North Fork of Long Island. Erik’s goal being to learn of this regions wines and find employment in the wine Industry. Erik first worked for the Cornell Cooperative Extension as a vineyard assistant. Soon after Erik was hired by Premium Wine Group, a custom crush facility In Mattituck, NY, first as a cellar man, then as production winemaker. Erik has been a part of creating many of the wines offered on the North Fork. In 2008 Erik began his long relationship consulting for Harbes Vineyard. In 2009 Erik developed the concept and label of Influence Wines. In 2010 Erik took control of winemaking at Castello Di Borghese. In February of 2018 Erik left Premium Wine Group to become the Head Winemaker at Pindar Vineyards, Duckwalk Vineyards, and Jason’s Vineyards.