Festival Sommeliers

Wailea Wine & Food Festival Sommeliers


Frederick L. Dame, Master Sommelier

President, Court of Master Sommeliers WorldwideMaster Sommelier; Director Fine Wine, Allied Domecq Wines USA
Frederick L. Dame, Master Sommelier brings an impressive blend of experience, expertise and enthusiasm to the world of wine and cuisine.  He is the first American to have served as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide and assists restaurateurs and hoteliers in developing their wine programs in his role as Director of Prestige Accounts, American Wine & Spirits of California. He is currently the President of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation.  He holds Honorary Professorships at Purdue University and The University of South Carolina.
Dame's ability to transmit his passionate interest in wine make him a natural teacher.  One of just seventy-three Americans to have passed the Master Sommelier Examination, Dame was the first to successfully pass all three parts in a single year.  This feat and his high score won him the coveted Krug Cup of the British Guild of Sommeliers in 1984.  Dame founded the American Branch of The Court of Master Sommeliers in 1986 and has played an active role in the expansion of the Master Sommelier program throughout America since that time.
As Cellarmaster of The Sardine Factory in Monterey, California for twelve years, Dame created a wine list which won the Wine Spectator Grand Award.  With the many wine events held in the brick and wine lined Wine Cellar, Dame turned The Sardine Factory into a wine destination restaurant of world renown.  He is also active in the culinary arts serving as an Honorary Trustee of The American Academy of Chefs, the honor society of The American Culinary Federation. He was awarded the Antonin Careme Medal and was made a Supreme Knight of the Knights of the Vine in 2000.  He was elected to the prestigious National Restaurant Association College of Diplomates in 2004.   In 2006 he received Sante Magazine’s Wine Professional of the Year as well as Starwine’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2010 he was elected to the American Academy of Chefs Hall of Fame.
A sixth generation Californian, Dame graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in journalism and communications.  A European trip after high school piqued his curiosity about wine and food.  Since then, he has applied his considerable persuasive skills to the service and appreciation of fine wine.


Geoff Kruth, Master Sommelier

Chief Operating Officer, Guild of Sommeliers
Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth brings vitality, passion and extensive knowledge to his role as Chief Operating Officer for the Guild of Sommeliers, a nationwide non-profit membership organization of over 3000 wine professionals. He is one of less than 180 people worldwide to have ever earned the designation of Master Sommelier.
In addition to his role with the Guild, Mr. Kruth serves as Wine Director of The Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant in the Russian River Valley. He has helped lead the Farmhouse to critical acclaim; with a Michelin star, a 27 score in Zagat, and the recent naming by Gourmet magazine as one of the world's top 36 food destinations. Having worked at some of America's finest dining establishments, Kruth is on a short list of the top American wine professionals.
The former Sonoma resident graduated from Sonoma State University with a BS in Computer Science before moving to Silicon Valley to pursue a career in the high-tech industry. A blossoming wine hobby became an obsession that lead to his enrollment in the French Culinary Institute's Classic Culinary Arts program in New York, where he honed his palate to taste professionally. While a student, Kruth started working part time at Balthazar as a Cellar Master, moving on to Assistant Wine Director upon his graduation in 2003.
Prior to returning to Sonoma County and joining the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, Kruth was Sommelier at Balthazar Restaurant and Assistant Wine Director for the Balthazar group in Manhattan where he helped oversee more than $10 million in yearly wine sales and was responsible for wine list development, floor service, and staff training.
In addition to his FCI diploma in Classic Culinary Arts, Kruth holds a certificate in Restaurant Management from the Cornell School of Hotel Management.
Over the years, Kruth has been a frequent guest lecturer and a consultant to restaurants and private events. In 2006 Mr. Kruth was awarded 'Rising Star of the Year' by the committee of the Star Wine International Wine Competition in New York and in 2009 he received the 'Rising Star' award from Star Chefs. In 2010 he was named one of the top "40 under 40" professionals by the North Bay Business Journal.


Brian Cronin

Master Sommelier
Freemark Abbey


Jay Fletcher

MS, Chairman, Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, Executive Director of Fine Wine
Southern Wine and Spirits of Colorado

Jay Fletcher is the Executive Director of Fine Wine and Master Sommelier for Southern Wine and Spirits of Colorado. He specializes in all aspects of the wine and restaurant industry, including fine wine sales, cellar appraisals, cellar management, educational lectures, restaurant staff training, specialty event planning and wine list construction.


Drew Hendricks

Master Sommelier
Wine Director - Pappas Restaurants, Inc.

A highly accomplished sommelier, Master Hendricks finds daily inspiration from fine wines, good food and the camaraderie of company. Growing up in a food-centric family, Drew Hendricks remembers going out to dinner more often than not. Growing up around the oil business and the young Texan learned to appreciate haute cuisine at a very early age. However, he was not immediately drawn to the food and beverage industry.


Andrew McNamara

Director of Fine Wine/Master Sommelier
Premier Beverage Company

Andrew is the Director of Fine Wine/ Master Sommelier for Premier Beverage Company, a member of the Charmer-Sunbelt Group. He works through the State of Florida to help maintain Premier’s "put the customer first" initiative, to broaden its wine scope through education and training, as well as directing the Fine Wine divison.


Pat Okubo

Fine Wine Specialist and Wine Educator
Young’s Market Hawaii

Pat Okubo is a Master Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS).  A graduate of University High and the University of Hawaii, he is a member of the National Guard, runs The Wine GI, a personal wine consultation and education business, and is host of A Perfect Sip – an online radio show, www.aperfectsip.com. Pat is the Fine Wine Specialist and Wine Educator for Young’s Market Hawaii. Previously, he opened Formaggio Grill as Managing Partner and Wine Director / Restaurant manager at Four Seasons Lana’i.


Jason Smith

Director of Wine

In his role as Director of Wine for Bellagio, Jason Smith oversees all wine operations for the AAA Five Diamond resort including wine sales and service in 20 restaurants and bars in addition to the offerings provided by the catering, banquets and in-room dining departments. Smith also manages the inventory and cost control of more than 90,000 bottles spanning more than 5,000 selections. He leads the wine education of Bellagio’s 3,500 Food and Beverage employees and is responsible for the hiring and training of the property’s 17 sommeliers, three of whom are Master Sommeliers, including Smith himself. Bellagio is the only property worldwide to have three distinguished wine professionals under one roof to hold this title.