2023 Sommelier Judges to be Announced!
CHIEF WINE & SPIRITS JUDGE
Jesse Rodriguez, Kaizon Wine Group, Denver, CO
Jesse Rodriguez returns for his 10th year as Chief Judge of Sommelier Challenge. He is an award-winning beverage professional, who is credentialed as an Advanced Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator, and Spanish Wine Scholar, and holds a diploma from the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust. During his tenure managing luxury resort and fine dining restaurant beverage programs, he has been awarded the Wine Spectator Grand Award for both Studio at Montage Laguna Beach and Addision at The Grand Del Mar. He currently works for FUTO Estate and his company Kaizen Wine Group consults for luxury hotel and resort properties.
OUR SOMMELIER JUDGES
Lisa Redwine, GM, Market Restaurant + Bar, San Diego, CA
Lisa Redwine is an Advanced Sommelier, who also holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She worked as a chef and general manager for some of the finest restaurants in San Francisco before relocating to San Diego. She served in management at the San Diego Marriott Marina and La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, creating innovative beverage programs that encompassed wine, cocktails and beer. She currently is General Manager of Market.
Keith Foreman, F&B Manager, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Keith Foreman has 24 years of experience in the food and beverage, restaurant and hospitality industries. He holds certificates from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Society of Wine Educators. He currently serves as the Food and Beverage Manager of the iconic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. When Keith isn't having a good time in the world of wine, you can find him unwinding with a good book or a camera in his hands.
Kellie J. Holmes, KJH Consulting, Charleston, SC
Kellie Holmes is a restaurant consultant who focuses on the creation, implementation and education of small wine programs for individual restaurants and artisanal groceries in the Southeast and beyond. Her services also include operational advice and support, bringing into play her years of experience as a general manager. Kellie has led many great restaurant teams -- from Atlanta to Napa Valley to San Francisco and Charleston, where she currently resides.
Brian Donegan, Key Accounts Manager, SGWS, San Diego, CA
Brian Donegan is an Advanced Sommelier, who has plied his trade at some of Southern California's top restaurants, including Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, Market Restaurant + Bar and Arterra. He also served as Director of Food & Beverage at the Grande Colonial in La Jolla. Currently Brian is regional account manager at Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits.
Emily Moody, Account Manager, RNDC, San Diego, CA
Emily Moody is account manager of the fine wine division of Republic National Distributing Company. She is currently studying for the WSET Diploma, and when she's not studying, is enjoying a glass of Chablis. Emily received her sommelier training by working in New York City restaurants, but is happy to have traded the hustle and bustle of the city for the San Diego beaches.
Nicholas George, Director of Operations, Great Maple, San Diego, CA
Nicholas George is originally from upstate New York and discovered the world of wine while attending the Culinary Institute of America. He has served as Maitre d' at Addison in San Diego and Per Se in NYC. Prior to working at Addison, Nick worked at Balthazar in NYC, one of the top casual restaurants in that city. He currently is Director of Operations at Great Maple, a modern American eatery with several Southern California locations.
Cara McBroom, Proprieter, Somm.to.table, Denver, CO
Cara McBroom has spent her career in the wine industry, starting as a server and eventually becoming a certified sommelier. In 2020 she established an online wine education platform, somm.to.table, as a consumer-focused event and wine tasting concept. While pursuing her MBA in Wine & Sustainability, Cara thoroughly enjoys living in Denver, where she can appreciate the outdoors year-round.