| 18.04.2021

Somm-antic Drift

With a career in hospitality spanning 20 years, Chris’s first restaurant job was a means to an end—a way to pay his bills while attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He immediately loved the challenge of serving tables—the fast pace, the attention to detail, and the demand to continue to learn about food and wine. His passion and curiosity for wine led him to apply for—and receive—a coveted wine internship at The French Laundry. Here, Chris went from having a mere interest in wine to being devoted to wine. He moved to San Francisco to work as a Sommelier at Spruce and from there went on to be the Wine Director at Restaurant Gary Danko. After stints at Sociale, Michael Mina and Octavia, Chris got the opportunity in 2018 to open a restaurant/retail shop, Ungrafted, with his wife, Master Sommelier Rebecca Fineman. In May of 2023 they also opened their wine bar, GluGlu, at Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors. Diversifying his reach in the wine world, Chris is excited to lead Direct to Consumer Sales and Education at Brown Estate in Napa Valley, the first and only black owned estate winery in Napa Valley.

Despite the long days working at various projects and little time with his family, he continued to set aside time for his studies. He recently passed the rigorous Master Sommelier Exam as of August, 2022. Chris and his wife, Rebecca, are the only Master Sommelier couple with their own restaurants in the world.

Chris’s accolades are numerous and include: 2012 Best New Sommeliers (Wine and Spirits Magazine); 2013 Top New Somm Competition Winner (Guild of Sommeliers); 2013 Zagat 30 Under 30. Chris has been featured on NBC Bay Area (Ungrafted), as well as CBS Bay Area (GluGlu). Chris is also an adjunct instructor at the San Francisco Wine School.

When he is not at work, Chris enjoys dancing, running, and making silly faces with his two daughters.