Rising Star Sommelier Helen Johannesen of Helen's Wine Shop - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

April 2017

New Yorker Helen Johannesen has always been about the hustle. She began working in restaurants while finishing college and quickly knew she wanted to dedicate her career to building incredible dining experiences. After swapping New York for Los Angeles, Johannesen became a manager at Craft. 

In 2009, Johannesen was introduced to Rising Stars alums Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, who were looking for a front-of-house lead for Animal. They gave Johannesen full creative freedom to build the wine program. On the heels of Animal’s success, she continued her partnership with Shook and Dotolo, and now manages the beverage programs for Son of a Gun, Petit Trois, Trois Familia, and Trois Mec. In 2015, Johannesen became a partner in their pizza and pasta joint, Jon & Vinny’s, maintaining her director of operations/beverage director title across all six restaurants. 

In the back of Jon & Vinny’s, Johannesen also operates a retail wine store called Helen’s. In an effort to make wine more accessible and less intimidating for consumers, she often holds tastings and educational classes out of the shop. Blazing a path for the modern beverage professional, Johannesen was named one of the 2016 Sommeliers of the Year by Food & Wine magazine.