Head Sommelier & Beverage Alchemist
Jesse is an award-winning beverage professional and wine critic known for his combination of world-class tastes and sensibilities with his down-to-earth soulfulness. He has managed luxury resort and fine dining restaurant beverage programs across California. In Northern California, Rodriguez was the Head Sommelier at Napa Valley’s The French Laundry and was a part of the Thomas Keller team that received their first Three Michelin Star rating. During his tenure in Southern California, Rodriguez was awarded the inaugural Wine Spectator Grand Award for both Studio at Montage Laguna Beach and Addison at The Grand Del Mar. In addition, his beverage programs were the first in both Orange County and San Diego to be nominated for the James Beard Award: Outstanding Wine Service.
He is an Advanced Sommelier by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, is credentialed as a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) by the Society of Wine Educators, a French Wine Scholar (FWS) and a Spanish Wine Scholar (SWS) by the Wine Scholar Guild, and has a Diploma from the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (DipWSET). He is also currently an adjunct instructor at San Diego State University and consults with some of the leading wine producers.
Jesse earned a master’s in education (M.Ed.) in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University and has a degree in History and Archaeology that dovetails into his studies and profound appreciation in the ways in which we as a culture enjoy, critique, and build businesses around wine and food.