Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez of Addison - Biography

San Diego, California

August 2010

It was a sip of Huet Clos du Bourg Vouvray that changed everything for Jesse Rodriguez. He was working on his second master's degree at the time and waiting tables at The Phoenician in Arizona; the position of sommelier—and its singular focus on wine—was fascinating to Rodriguez. “I became very passionate about wine and its ties with history,” he explains.

The history buff spent six months convincing the wine team leads, Chris Coon and MS Greg Tresnor, to give him a shot—and the consistent harassing paid off. Since that day, Rodriguez has done nothing short of immerse himself in the study of wine—from its deeply rooted history to how it’s made—and made it his personal mission to educate people about how to best experience wine.

Rodriguez joined the wine team at Thomas Keller’s landmark The French Laundry in Napa, helping the restaurant become the only dining venue in California to earn a three-star Michelin rating, and he also spent time as a sales manager for ZD Wines. Rodriguez came to The Grand Del Mar as the opening head sommelier for the resort’s flagship restaurant, Addison, where he built an award-winning 3,300-bottle collection (recognized by Food & Wine and Forbes.com) and tirelessly educated his staff and diners about wine.

Rodriguez is now the wine director for the Grand Del Mar, overseeing the wine programs at five dining venues, catering, gourmet shop, and events; training teams of sommeliers; assembling and maintaining the property’s 35,000-bottle wine collection; and still making time to be on the floor and serve guests.

On top of it all, Rodriguez works with vineyards from Champagne, Germany, Austria, Italy, and California to handcraft 13 private labels for the resort—a relationship he describes as “the same idea as farm-to-table, but farm-to-barrel-to-glass.” He is currently working toward his Master Sommelier certification.