While persistence and hard work are essential for climbing the ladder to success, continuing your education can also give you a leg up and distinguish you from your peers. Here's how some industry leaders have kept themselves and their teams educated, allowing them to move their careers and ultimately the industry forward.


"I try to read as much as I can about the industry in general, not just about the wine world. I enjoy learning about new restaurant openings, and I love to read wine lists. You can learn so much by following along with what everyone else is doing all over the country. It reminds me of the wines I have forgotten about or introduces me to something new. There are so many different types of publications out there. I read Wine Spectator, but I also read Punch. Each one has something to offer that I value."

Jennifer Foucher, Head Sommelier at Fiola in Washington, DC 

"Always seek out learning opportunities. Read. Travel. Eat. Listen. Stage. Do whatever you can to learn from others. Even if it is just 50 miles outside of your normal day, it makes a difference. Inspiration can be harder to find while in a rigid routine."

Kevin Fink, Chef/Owner at Emmer & Rye in Austin, TX

"In any industry, if you are looking to grow, you need to find classes, conferences, or other external resources; you need to be willing to put in the time to find them."

Jennifer Bell, Chief Marketing Officer for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) in Chicago, IL

"I continue to educate myself by attending as many portfolio tastings as possible and partaking in seminars and events covering all styles and regions of wine. I also incorporate podcasts and the good old-fashioned reading of books! — Integral to expanding the knowledge base." 

DLynn Proctor, Director of Fantesca Estate & Winery in Napa, CA 

"As chefs, it's our job to pass down education to up-and-coming cooks, and continuously teach and inspire them. We do this at Proof on Main by promoting education and allowing our team to create menu items. This can be something as simple as a condiment or as big as seaming out whole animals." 

Mike Wadja, Chef-Partner of Honest Hospitality Group LLC, in Las Vegas, NV   

"I think that for too long, my education was much too narrow, focused solely on passing wine exams. I became a better professional and sommelier when I started participating in philanthropy, my local community, and I learned how wine fits into the bigger picture. If you don't fully understand how you can create a positive impact on the world with your passions and skill set, your education is a waste."

 Victoria James, Beverage Director & Partner for Cote Korean Steakhouse in New York

"Education, to me, is keeping my eyes open and eating a lot. I ask questions to my chef friends. It’s a great chef community here, and we are all open to collaboration with each other."

Melissa Perello, Executive Chef and Owner of M. Georgina, Octavia and FRANCES in San Francisco