Yashar Shayan

Yashar Shayan is owner of Impulse Wine in Seattle and is a judge at the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.

Yashar Shayan evaluates wine during the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. Shayan, a certified sommelier, is owner of Impulse Wine, an online retailer in the Seattle area. During the judging, Shayan and other influential wine professionals will use the competition to consider wines they might later want to buy or sell. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Yashar Shayan was born in Tehran, Iran, and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1991. He was raised in Vancouver, Wash., and moved to Seattle in 2002 to study sociology at the University of Washington.

It was here that he began his fascination with wine, a hobby that would change the direction of his life. He says it all started with a couple of friends in college, two cousins of Italian-American heritage who grew up with wine on the dinner table each night. He found wine utterly fascinating, so he jumped onto Google and started learning more. Within a few months, he was calling every wine shop in Seattle to find a job.

His first gig was with a company called Washington Wine Tours, an irregular gig that would take wine enthusiasts to eastern Washington to experience wine. His first trip was to Sheridan Vineyard in the Yakima Valley during harvest time.

His first regular job was at Fine Wines & Cigars in Redmond, Wash. It was here that he started meeting winemakers and found out he could get internships and, essentially, apprenticeships and learn to become a winemaker. In 2006, he picked up a harvest internship at Matthews Cellars in Woodinville, which became his first fulltime job in the wine industry.

He graduated from the University of Washington in 2007 and decided to focus his efforts on becoming a fulltime member of the wine industry. In 2008, he started studying to become a sommelier. So far, his studies include:

  • International Sommelier Guild Level 1
  • International Sommelier Guild Level 2
  • Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 3
  • Wine Academy of Spain
  • Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1
  • Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2

He also has worked at such establishments as:

  • Bin on the Lake, Kirkland
  • Willows Inn, Lummi Island
  • Palisade Restaurant, Seattle
  • Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar
  • Wine World, Seattle
  • Wild Ginger, Seattle
  • Washington State Wine Commission

In 2013, he had the vision to launch Impulse Wine, an online retailer. In this business model, he emails members of his mailing list with wine offers. He offers free delivery within the greater Seattle area.

Yashar also has become a sought-after wine judge, working such events as the Cascadia Wine Competition, the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, the Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition, Savor Northwest, Tri-Cities Wine Competition, Sip Northwest Magazine, Seattle Wine & Food Experience, Boeing Wine Club Competition, Wine Press Northwest magazine competitions, including the Platinum Judging, Seattle Magazine’s Washington Wine Awards and the Wenatchee Wine Competition.