Elli Benchimol, third advanced sommelier, brings more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She believes in developing unpretentious beverage programs that are seasonal, with a mix of classic and esoteric finds that are approachable by all.
Currently part of the sommelier team at Capella Hotel in DC, with Chef Frank Ruta's, The Grill Room and Rye Bar, with MS Keith Goldston. Previously part of the team at Range and Aggio by Top Chef Master, Bryan Voltaggio in DC and Baltimore. She most recently left her position as managing sommelier at Adour by Alain Ducasse in the DC St. Regis Hotel, and two years prior she was the beverage director for Chef Geoff’s five Restaurants, where CG Tyson’s received the 2011 RAMW award for Hottest Bar Scene. In years passed, her first sommelier position in DC was at Rasika Penn Quarter in 2006, with James Beard winning chef Vikram Sunderam, with a short year in Miami opening Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak.
Originally from San Francisco, Elli grew up in Northern California’s wine country, attended San Francisco State, and worked at some of the best chef driven restaurants in the city, with award winning wine programs and mentors. Elli is currently studying for her final level in the Court of Master Sommeliers, scheduled for March, 2014. Elli is an award-winning mixologists, and sommelier, a member of the DC Craft bartender’s Guild, and LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails). Elli loves teaching about wine, both privately and publicly, with a range of styles from educational classroom settings to fun but informative cocktail parties and dinners.