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John Penate

I live in the greater San Diego area, where I grew up. I have just moved back after living 16 years in Rome, Italy. That is where I decided to pursue my passion for wine, history, and the wonderful culinary connections that exist between the two. As a tour guide I was impassioned to go the extra mile. With many of my clients insisting on wine itineraries, I decided to combine both worlds. So I studied wine at the Associazione Italiana Sommelier (AIS), earning my Sommelier Certification in 2011. I later earned my Master Sommelier Certification in 2012. I assisted in the translation of the 2012 edition of DUEMILAVINI, which is AIS’ wine guide for professionals. This was the only time the Associazione released an English version. In 2016, I earned my Sous Chef Certification from the Accademia Nazionale Professioni Alberghiere. In 2012, I created ViniCultural Tours where I focused on the wine, craft beer, and food of Italy and how they connect to the local culture and history. All my passions came together! I launched the first Craft Beer Tour in Rome, which remains the longest running tour of its kind in Rome! Passing the reigns was a tough decision to make. It makes me feel better to be back in San Diego as the local wine-making is really taking off! I will be launching Hop’n Vine Tours to take visitors to the wineries and breweries. Where? The San Diego area and Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico!

Drinkable Stars

In the modern wine world bubbles are synonymous with celebration but, ......