RISING STAR SOMMELIER
AWARD SPONSORED BY
NOMI | Chicago
A native of Guatemala, Fernando
Beteta has a long history of experience in the travel and hospitality
industry, having learned from his father, a chef and restaurant
owner in Antigua. He is also the great grandson of Italian winemakers.
After attending the L’Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne in Switzerland,
Fernando worked in Rome, Florence, Sardinia and Thailand. Prior
to his current position at NoMi, Beteta served as a sommelier at
The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. At the age of 29 he
is already an Advanced Sommelier, having passed the exam on the
first try, and he is currently studying for the Court of Master
Sommeliers. A devotee of the elegance and complexity of Old World
wines, Fernando looks for the perfect marriage of food and wine.
Fernando Beteta's Musings on Food and Wine
I’ve been in love with food and wine since I can remember.
My mom would make me help her in the kitchen in our family run restaurant
in Guatemala and my dad would put in with the dishwashers when it
I learned hospitality through them and their passion to delight
guests that walked through the door. Good service, better food and
a warm ambiance was the their recipe for success. Our wine list,
the largest in town, was only 25 labels. Antigua, Guatemala didn’t
have much of a choice when I was growing up. South America and Spanish
wines were about it on most lists.
My grandparents were Italian so there was always something nice
at their table when we came over. I remember a bottle of 1978 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
my uncle served with lunch when I was 14 that got me excited about
Years later I was sent to Italy to study restaurant management
and follow in my father’s footsteps. I became fluent in Italian,
French, Spanish and basic German while spending over 6 years abroad.
My first formal wine training was in Lausanne, Switzerland. That’s
when I knew I could make this part of my career.
I’ve been in Chicago for only 4 years and working with award-winning
wine lists. I had no clue about California wine when I first came
here, besides the 2 most famous ones you could find in Europe.
I guess I’m a New-Old-World kind of guy, with my heart in
Europe and my desire to explore the New World, too. My wine pairing
tips usually go in that same direction. I want my guests to be challenged
and introduced to wines they’ve never tried before.
The reward is when you find a pairing or a wine you love; it will
change your life forever.