It’s hard to imagine a woman with the surname “Wines” ending up as anything other than one of the country’s top sommeliers.  And master sommelier Emily Wines has not fallen short of the calling with her most recent position as director of wines at Kimpton.

Emily grew up outside of Seattle, and spent time living in San Luis Obispo, California, where she developed first-hand knowledge about the wines of California’s Central Coast.  In pursuit of a more serious wine career, Emily moved to San Francisco to work at Elka Gilmore’s eponymous restaurant, Elka.  She then joined the Fifth Floor restaurant in downtown San Francisco in 2000.  Under the mentorship of Rajat Parr, Emily was promoted within nine months to assistant sommelier.  In 2005 she took over the Wine Director position for the restaurant. During her tenure, Fifth Floor’s wine list earned the prestigious Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine and the restaurant was nominated for Outstanding Wine Service award by the James Beard Foundation. 

In 2008, Emily became one of only 96 people in the United States to earn the designation of master sommelier.  Emily was also awarded the prestigious Remi Krug Cup for passing all three sections of the certification exam on her first attempt, and she is one of two women to ever achieve this remarkable feat.  In addition to directing the wine program at Fifth Floor, Emily now serves as master sommelier and director of wines for all Kimpton Restaurants.

A passionate advocate for wine education, Emily travels the country spending time in Kimpton cities educating restaurant staff about wine varietals and hosting Shades of Green trainings sessions to shed light on the value and importance of eco-friendly wines.  Additionally, she hosts a monthly Sommelier Smackdown at NIOS in New York City and a regular Wines on Wine consumer tasting class at Fifth Floor in San Francisco.