Jesse Rodriguez is the Director of Wine at Montage Palmetto Bluff, an award-winning hotel and resort in Bluffton, South Carolina. Prior to this position he worked at Montage Laguna Beach where he helped Studio Restaurant receive the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award.
Rodriguez is an Advanced Sommelier by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, is credentialed as a Certified Wine Educator by the Society of Wine Educators, and has completed the Diploma level through The Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET). He is a second-year Master of Wine Student. He holds a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. He has a passion for education and currently holds positions as Business of Wine Advisory Board for San Diego State University College of Extended Studies and Executive Director of the SommCon Advisory Board.
Prior to being a member of the Montage team, Rodriguez managed the beverage program for The Grand Del Mar, a luxury resort in San Diego County. The beverage program for both the fine dining restaurant on property, Addison, and The Grand Del Mar, received one of ten of “America’s Best Spots for Wine” by Forbes.com. Under Rodriguez, San Diego County and Addison also received the first ever nomination for the James Beard Awards Semi-Finalist for Outstanding Wine Service, The prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award for 2009-13, Wine Enthusiast’s 2010 and 2011 Ultimate Award of Distinction and the 2010 Santé “Wine Restaurant of the Year” Award. The property was also named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “100 Best Wine Restaurants” in 2011 and 2012. The impressive wine list compiled by Rodriguez at this property was also named “One of Seven Winning Wine Lists for 2007” by Food & Wine Magazine.
Before joining the team at The Grand Del Mar, Rodriguez was the Head Sommelier at Napa Valley’s The French Laundry, helping the restaurant become the only dining venue in California to receive a Three Michelin Star rating. Rodriguez was also California Sales Manager for ZD Wines, the Estate Manager for Phoenix-based Alliance Beverage Distributing Company, and a sommelier for The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Rodriguez was named one of “America’s Best New Sommeliers” by Wine & Spirits magazine in 2007 and one of StarChefs.com’s 2010 “Los Angeles-San Diego Rising Stars.” He was also named “Best Sommelier” by the readers, editors and critics of San Diego Magazine and Ranch & Coast: San Diego’s luxury lifestyle magazine for four consecutive years.