Rising Star Sommelier Alex Augustine of Aba - Biography

Chicago, IL

September 2021

The son of a 30-year hospitality veteran, Alex Augustine has always been part of the restaurant industry. Growing up in New Jersey, he hustled through every position at his parents’ neighborhood restaurant. But his dream to work with wine didn’t come about until 2011. Augustine traveled through Europe with his brother and landed in the Loire Valley to help with the harvest at Catherine & Pierre Breton winery. After two weeks of wading through mud and picking grapes, Augustine had the life-changing realization that he needed to pursue a career in wine.

Augustine followed his brother to Chicago and took a job at Kai Zan. Having just received its liquor license, the sushi restaurant was on the hunt for someone to develop the beverage program. Augustine jumped at the opportunity, allowing him to study beer and sake. In 2015, he went on to be a wine director at Formento’s and learned from Sommelier Steven Morgan, who eventually became one of his best friends and mentors. With Morgan’s help, Augustine’s wine list earned the title of Best Medium-Size Wine List in the World from The World of Fine Wine. 

In 2018, Augustine was hired as sommelier and manager at Chef CJ Jacobson’s Mediterranean-inflected restaurant Aba. There, he sources wines from small, family-run vineyards like the one that inspired him almost a decade ago.