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Joseph Spellman, MS is Winery Sommelier for JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery. He has worked with wine since 1979, principally as a sommelier, in Chicago’s top restaurant cellars, including Tango, Maxim’s, The Pump Room, The Park Hyatt Hotel, and Charlie Trotter’s. He has also had stints in wine retail, wholesale, and importing companies, as well as the Napa Valley producer Joseph Phelps. He has been a leading wine educator, writer, and consultant, and has led wine seminars in the US, UK, Japan, and Australia.
Joseph earned the prestigious Master Sommelier Diploma, the 29th American to do so, in 1996. He is a frequent instructor and examiner in the Court of Master Sommeliers, and in 2005 was elected Chairman of the American Chapter of the Court. He has also passed the difficult Certified Wine Educator Examination, in 2003, and has studied for the Master of Wine Diploma with its top instructors.
Among his professional written works, he is most proud of his critically praised wine notes featured in the landmark series of recipe and photography books by Chef Charlie Trotter. He was the principal wine writer of the 2003, 2006, and 2009 Lyric Opera Auction Catalogues. He also has written grape descriptions for the Wine Grapes posters produced by Ten Speed Press; and over the years he has contributed to the magazines Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Sante, Decanter, and Appellation.