ANDREA IMMER Beverage Director, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
1997: Immer was chosen Best Sommelier in America by The Sommelier
Society of America.
Andrea Immer is one of the most prominent and powerful buyers in the beverage industry worldwide. Formerly the beverage director for the B.E. Restaurant Group, the company that owns and operates Windows on the World, Wild Blue, Blackbird and Beacon Restaurants, Andrea is now the beverage director at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. She is an industry innovator who plans to spearhead the company's multi-faceted beverage programs, as well as initiate what she expects to be the most vigorous and broad-based beverage and wine training program in the business, similar in concept to those she developed for many renowned restaurants.
Andrea became interested in wine during her college years at Southern Methodist
University, when she enrolled in her first wine class. Graduating with degrees in
finance and economics, she launched a career as an investment banker at Morgan
Stanley. In New York, she became a student at Kevin Zraly's Windows on the
World Wine School, throwing herself wholeheartedly into an entirely new
environment. So enthralled was she that she left her work in finance behind and
began a new career in wine and beverages.
In 1990, she bought a Eurail pass and took off for six months to explore the wine
regions of Europe, receiving a practical education in wine by actually working a
grape harvest in Bordeaux. Andrea also educated herself while a volunteer at the
International Wine Center and at various restaurants in Dallas.
Upon her return to the United States, she joined Windows on the World as
cellarmaster, where she was responsible for their famous 50,000-bottle wine cellar.
After Windows on the World closed in 1993, Immer worked at the Five-Diamond
Hilton at Short Hills, NJ. She then joined Restaurant Associates as Beverage Director
for its numerous restaurants and private dining facilities. In 1996, as Windows on
the World prepared to re-open under the creative team of the late legendary
restaurateur Joe Baum, Immer returned to assume the position of Beverage Director.
The 32-year-old Immer was awarded the title of Master Sommelier from the Court
of Master Sommeliers, which gives her the distinction of being just one of eight
women in the United States (and nine in the entire world) to hold that title.
In April 1997, Immer was chosen Best Sommelier in America by The Sommelier
Society of America, having passed an even more difficult competition for this
coveted national award. As the first woman ever chosen Best Sommelier in America, she represented the United States in the international competition, the Concours Mondial, in Vienna in June 1998, where the "Best Sommelier in the World" was chosen.
Andrea is the host of the groundbreaking television series, "Quench", which aired on the
Food Network in 1998 and was the first of its kind to focus on the beverage
Industry. Andrea is currently hard at work on her first wine book, scheduled for publication by Broadway Books in fall 2000. She also writes a monthly wine column for Esquire.