Jim Santangelo -Sommelier/Educator

Wine Academy of Utah

My wine career started at a hot dog stand. I worked the grill during the humid summers in Western New York rolling dogs over charcoal. I greeted customers as they arrived, shouting, “Whatcha want? Whatcha got?”— and the banter between the ‘grill man’ and customers began. I traded the grill in for fine dining when I moved to Salt Lake City. I loved the fast-paced environment on the floors of Utah’s top-rated restaurants, and made the decision to continue my training. I found I was especially motivated by the power of wine to enhance the dining experience for both the guests and myself. This passion has been greatly enhanced by my decision to become a certified Sommelier, and then an Educator with an internationally recognized program.

I am pleased to take the enthusiasm that has its roots ‘behind the grill’ to the floor of bustling restaurants. As a Sommelier, I seek out epic experiences with food and wine for guests, and as the Founder and Educator of the Wine Academy of Utah, I introduce the intricacies of wine to enthusiasts and professionals alike in a fun environment. My banter of “How many dogs?” has transformed into “How about little ‘splishy splash’ to get you started tonight?”

 Thank you for allowing me to “Increase Wine Knowledge…One Sip at a Time”