Wine Director and Sommelier, Everest Restaurant
Jen came to Chicago from Seattle for personal and professional growth. She took a job with Michelin-starred French restaurant, Everest, as a Sommelier. There she passed her Advanced level certification with the Court of Masters and grew into a Wine Director position. She is currently taking some time for herself and refocus on her pursuit for the Masters Level.
Director of Wine Education, Southern Wine & Spirits
Serafin Alvarado’s love of wine began more than decade ago, as a room service waiter for Hilton Hotels in his native Puerto Rico. It was the beginning of a career path that would ultimately lead him to achieve the remarkable distinction of becoming a Master Sommelier (M.S.) in 2005, achieving the status that only 129 other North Americans have reached after passing the rigorous M.S. examination.
Serafin has also turned his passion for wine into a successful career, joining Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois, the largest wine wholesaler in the United States headquartered in Miami, Florida, as Director of Wine Education.
Today, along with his education responsibilities at Southern Wine & Spirits, Serafin also finds time to teach and mentor Master Sommelier candidates through the program. Serafin lives in suburban Lisle, Illinois. In his spare time, he enjoys playing bass with The Rack & The Riddler, a local band, and training for the Chicago Marathon.
Freelance Wine Writer, The Honest Pour Podcast Producer
John Lenart is a wine writer and Emmy Award-winning producer and director living in Chicago. Wine has been a passion of his for more than three decades. Lenart currently writes for Chicagoist.com, Binge Magazine, Plate Online, Crains Chicago Business and Wine and Spirits. He is a Symposium for Professional Wine Writers fellow.
Wine Educator and Sommelier, Cookbook Author, US Armagnac Ambassador
Viktorija is never happier than when teaching about wine and food. Since her days of stomping grapes when her family made wine from obscure Macedonian grapes, Viktorija has been interested in the magical processes that transform grapes into wine.
She writes about wine and leads wine tastings and classes, making topics such wine styles, food pairings, and how to choose wines easy to understand. Viktorija is an accredited Sommelier (International Sommelier Guild), French Wine Scholar (French Wine Academy), and Certified Specialist of Wine (Society of Wine Educators). In her free time, Viktorija can be found traveling the wine regions of the world, soaking up new knowledge and discovering interesting wines and the stories of the people who make them.