Rudd Round Table

This event, held each March in the Napa Valley, was established in 2009 by the Rudd Foundation and SommFoundation.

The Rudd family and the Rudd Foundation have been steadfast supporters of the sommelier community for decades. They believe in creating educational opportunities for wine professionals to expand knowledge and understanding. Each calendar year, the top scorers of the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Exam are named the Rudd Scholars for that year and attend the Rudd Round Table the following March. This is a unique educational program that provides students with an intensive and intimate learning environment as they study to become Master Sommeliers. To complete the Rudd Round Table, SommFoundation invites all eligible students to apply. All applicants are required to provide letters of recommendation. Our SommFoundation team selects the additional participants through a rigorous vetting process. Being selected for this event is a recognition of both significant accomplishment and remarkable potential.

“The Rudd Roundtable is my favorite wine event every year. Due to the incredible generosity of the Rudd Family and Foundation, we can bring twelve of the country’s best and brightest sommeliers to Napa Valley for a two-day workshop to prepare them for the Master Sommelier Exam. Ten years ago, as a candidate, it gave me the confidence and skills to pass my Master Sommelier diploma and every year since I am honored to pay it forward and participate on the mentoring side of the table. We can’t achieve success at this level of mastery without the help of leaders in this industry like the Rudd family. I am forever grateful.” ‑Laura Maniec, MS


Leslie Rudd

Leslie Rudd was the impetus behind this event.

Leslie’s journey into the food and beverage industry began when he joined his father’s alcoholic beverage wholesale distribution business in Wichita, Kansas. Due to his leadership, Standard Beverage Corporation grew to be the state’s largest alcoholic beverage wholesaler and represents most of the world’s premium wine, beer, and spirits brands.

Intent on furthering his experience, Leslie expanded into the specialty foods space successfully launching and investing in several national restaurants as well as adding the iconic Dean & DeLuca to his portfolio, which he owned until 2014. In 2005, Leslie desired to cast a new vision on the steakhouse concept and take inspiration from the famed L’Ami Louis of Paris in creating PRESS Restaurant, a modern steakhouse located in St. Helena, California. PRESS Restaurant features the most extensive list of Napa Valley wines in the world with vintages back to the 1950s. Leslie’s passion for bridging the gap between the past and present was further evident in the 2012 renovation of Oakville Grocery, which he purchased in 2007 to make sure that it would remain open as one of the oldest groceries in the country. Each of these ventures shared a commitment to excellence and appreciation of artisan products by blending the traditions of the past while instilling a modern twist. Before his passing in 2018, Leslie handed over the reins to his daughter Samantha.

Leslie’s wife, Susan, is responsible for the beautiful gardens on the Estate. She can be found digging in its soils with a radiant glow about her. Her smile and warmth are felt across the entire Estate.

Samantha Rudd

Leslie is survived by his daughter, Samantha Rudd.

Samantha grew up on Rudd Estate where, at age nine, she decided she would do whatever it takes to care for the land and fulfill a generational promise that she made to her father—that upon receiving the reins at Rudd, she would leave the Estate to the next generation better off than when she assumed leadership. At the time, she knew little of the hard work and twenty-year journey that would lead her to where she is today.

Samantha remembers the lessons instilled by her father through two decades of working side-by-side on the Estate. The core beliefs of stewardship earned success, and an uncompromising dedication to excellence was distilled into that generational promise that guides her today.

Samantha spent the last four years working outside of the family business learning from some of the best in the world. She most recently returned from an internship at Château Margaux.

Samantha returned to Rudd at the beginning of 2016, a homecoming she had been anticipating for as long as she can remember. She immediately began implementing her long-term vision, ranging from championing the Estate’s organic farming practices to fostering unlikely collaborations that seek inspiration beyond the world of fine wine.

Learn More and Apply Here.

SommFoundation thanks Durand and Sophienwald/Adelion for their contributions to this event.

Past Attendees





Rudd Round Table 2023 Napa (Mar 19–20, 2023)

  • Brandon Anderson

    Eleven Madison Park | Astoria, NY

  • Drea Boulanger

    Jose Andres Group | Las Vegas, NV

  • Angela Demmel

    Continuum Estate | Napa, CA

  • Ethan Gladner – Rudd Scholar

    Shafer Vineyards | Napa, CA

  • Morgan Gray

    Reeve + BloodRoot Wines | Santa Rosa, CA

  • Simon Kaufmann

    Mina Group | Charleston, SC

  • Matthew Landry – Rudd Scholar, Leslie Rudd Award

    Tannin Management Ltd | Vancouver, Canada

  • Paul Lee

    Grill 23 & Bar | Revere, MA

  • Michael Markarian – Rudd Scholar

    H2 Collective Restaurant Group | Silver Spring, MD

  • Christina Stanley

    Oenotri | Napa, CA

  • Rick Stiles – Rudd Scholar

    Grand Cru Selections | Napa, CA

  • Higor Valle

    Fisher Island Club | Miami, FL


Master Sommelier

Rudd Round Table 2022 Napa (Mar 20–21, 2022)

  • Alex Mares – Rudd Scholar

    Eleven Madison Park | New York, NY

  • Brandon Koenigsknecht – Rudd Scholar

    WS New York | New York, NY

  • Skyler Ring – Rudd Scholar/Leslie Rudd Award

    Mastro’s Steakhouse/Landry’s Inc | Houston, TX

  • Joon Baak

    Commis | Oakland, CA

  • Cheron Cowan

    Maialino Mare | Washington, DC

  • Jonathan Eichholz

    The Modern | New York, NY

  • Christopher Rogers

    Tavernetta, LLC | Denver, CO

  • Rachael Liggett-Draper

    The Little Nell | Aspen, CO

  • Samuel Bortugno

    Covington, LA

  • Aya Nomoto

    Breakthru Beverage | Las Vegas, NV

  • Sophie Yoneoka

    Sovereignty Wines | Colorado Springs, CO

  • Victoria O’Bryan

    San Diego, CA




Master Sommelier

Rudd Round Table Napa, CA (Jan 26–28, 2020)

  • William Simons – Rudd Scholar

    Albi | Baltimore, MD

  • Maddy Jimerson – Rudd Scholar

    Cache Cache | Aspen, CO

  • Zachary Byers – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Beckon | Denver, CO

  • Thoger Petry – Rudd Scholar

    MillHouse Restaurant | Kihei, HI

  • Chris Dunaway

    The Little Nell | Aspen, CO

  • Wesam Kawa

    Cafe Monarch | Scottsdale, AZ

  • Sarah Zehner

    Westward | Seattle, WA

  • Cassandra Felix

    The Breakers | West Palm Beach, FL

  • Rebecca Flynn

    Eleven Madison Park | Brooklyn, NY

  • Aaron Fry

    Vintegrity | Kansas City, MO

  • Jose Maria Aguirre

    Maum Group | Oakland, CA

  • Sarah Thomas

    Le Bernardin/Kalamata’s Kitchen | Astoria, NY


Master Sommelier

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California (Jan 27–28, 2019)

  • Andreas Harl

    Matsuhisa | Vail, CO

  • Beth Hickey

    Heartwood Provisions | Seattle, WA

  • Donghyuk Shin

    Benu | San Francisco, CA

  • Dustin Chabert – Rudd Scholar

    Spiaggia | Chicago, IL

  • Erik Elliott

    The Little Nell | Aspen, CO

  • Hugo Bensimon – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Grill 23 | Boston, MA

  • Kassandra McPherson

    Lazy Bear | San Francisco, CA

  • Luis Avalos

    Pavilions Market | Costa Mesa, CA

  • Matt Whitney – Rudd Scholar

    Eastern Standard | Boston, MA

  • Stacey Gibson

    Park Avenue Fine Wines | Portland, OR


Master Sommelier

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California (Jan 21–22, 2018)

  • Jason Caballero

    Bourbon Steak | Phoenix, AZ

  • Greg Van Wagner

    Jimmy’s | Aspen, CO

  • Jeffrey Birkemeier

    Pebble Beach Company | Salinas, CA

  • Bill Elsey

    Pappas Bros. | Houston, TX

  • Tyler Alden

    Heavy Restaurant Group | Seattle, WA

  • Chris Raftery

    Gramercy Tavern | New York, NY

  • Petra Polakovicova

    Epic Steak | San Francisco, CA

  • Femi Oyediran

    Graft Wine Shop | Charleston, SC

  • Taylor Grant- Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Scopa Italian Roots | Santa Monica, CA

  • Gregory Stokes – Rudd Scholar

    Veritas | Columbus, OH

  • Alexander David Ring- Rudd Scholar

    Lazy Bear | San Francisco, CA


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California (Jan 22–23, 2017)

  • Justin Moore

    Casa Tua | Aspen, CO

  • Brandon Kerne

    Pappas Bros. | Houston, TX

  • Tim Parkhouse

    The Pacific Club | Newport Beach, CA

  • Tahlia Bolden

    Gather Kitchen & Bar | Seattle, WA

  • Kat Thomas

    Hakkasan | Las Vegas, NV

  • Keith Fergel

    Taylor’s Kitchen | Sacramento, CA

  • Peter Plaehn

    The Hotel Landing | Minneapolis, MN

  • Jessica Waugh- Rudd Scholar

    Southern Glazer”s | Las Vegas, NV

  • Christopher Ramelb – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Self-Employed | Honolulu, HI

  • Nicole Hakli- Rudd Scholar

    Momofuku | New York, NY


Master Sommelier

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California

  • Andrea Morris

    Nix | Brooklyn, NY

  • Csaba Oveges

    The Little Nell | Aspen, CO

  • Jake Lewis- Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Momofuku | New York, NY

  • Jason Percival- Rudd Scholar

    Post 390 | Boston, MA

  • Joy Cushing

    Louie’s Wine Dive | Nashville, TN

  • Justin Timsit

    Martine’s Wines | Novato, CA

  • Laurie Sutton

    Malibu Beach Inn | Santa Monica, CA

  • Martin Beally

    Wild Ginger & the Triple Door | Seattle, WA

  • Wendy Shoemaker

    Californios SF | San Francisco, CA

  • Will Predhomme

    Predhomme Inc. | Toronto, Canada

  • Yvonne Cheung- Rudd Scholar

    The Upper House | Hong Kong, China


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California

  • Scott Ota – Rudd Scholar

    High Street Wiine Co. | Austin, TX

  • Mia Van de Water – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Eleven Madison Park | New York, NY

  • Joo Lee – Rudd Scholar

    Eleven Madison Park | New York, NY

  • Jeremy Reed

    Ella Dining Room & Bar | Sacramento, CA

  • Stephen McDonald

    Pappas Bros. | Houston, TX

  • Jerusha Frost

    Chef’s Club | New York, NY

  • Nick Dadonna

    Boston Urban Hospitality | Boston, MA

  • Noel Doty

    Cadence | Walla Walla, WA

  • Serge Janic

    Medovino Imports | Mississauga, Canada

  • Paul Coker

    Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern | Dana Point, CA


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California

  • Martin Sheehan-Stross – Rudd Scholar

    Gary Danko | San Francisco, CA

  • Jeremiah Morehouse – Rudd Scholar (tie)

    SPQR | San Francisco, CA

  • Jim Rollston – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Manresa Restaurant | San Francisco, CA

  • Jane Lopes – Rudd Scholar (tie)

    Ristorate Morini | New York, NY

  • Ryan Stetins

    Ritz-Carlton | San Francisco, CA

  • James Lechner

    Bastille | Seattle, CA

  • Joon Lim

    Vine Vault | Lawrenceville, GA

  • Christopher Gaither

    Ungrafted | San Francisco, CA

  • Cappie Peete

    Minero Restaurant | Charleston, SC

  • Jack Mason

    Marea | New York, NY


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California

  • Bobby Conroy

    In Situ | New York, NY

  • June Rodil

    McGuire Moorman | Austin, TX

  • Julie Dalton – Rudd Scholar

    Four Seasons/Michael Mina | Baltimore, MD

  • Matt Bradford

    Savannah Distributing Co. | Atlanta, GA

  • Kim Wood

    Aria | Las Vegas, NV

  • Aaron Patrick

    Bourbon Steak | San Francisco, CA

  • Robert Brzostowski

    Bellagio | Las Vegas, NV

  • Jackson Rohrbaugh – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Canlis | Seattle, WA

  • David Keck – Rudd Scholar

    Uchi Restaurants | Austin, TX

  • Jeffery Kellogg

    Captiva Restaurant Group | Charlotte, NC


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California

  • Justin Amick – Rudd Scholar

    Concentrics Restaurants | Atlanta, GA

  • Angie An

    Regal Wine Company | Moorestown, NJ

  • Eric Crane

    Empire Distributors | Atlanta, GA

  • Derek Engles

    MGM Grand | Las Vegas, NV

  • Justin Hall

    Bourbon Steak | Miami, FL

  • Jason Hisaw

    Pappas Bros. | Dallas, TX

  • Andrey Ivanov- Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Reeds American Table | St. Louis, MO

  • Max Kast

    The Fearrington House | Pittsboro, NC

  • Kenny Koda

    Rudd Winery | Napa, CA

  • Pascaline Lepeltier

    Rouge Tomate | New York, NY

  • Josh Orr – Rudd Scholar

    Vineagogo, LLC | Carlsbad, CA

  • Nico Synman

    Bellagio | Las Vegas, NV


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table Napa Valley, California

  • Stephen Clark

    A & G Beverages | Fairhope, AL

  • Daniel Cobian – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    The Breakers | Palm Beach, FL

  • Desi Echavarrie

    The French Laundry | Yountville, CA

  • Patrick Emerson

    Maverick Southern Kitchens | Charleston, SC

  • Ted Glennon

    Hotel del Coronado | San Diego, CA

  • David Kristiansen – Rudd Scholar

    Bellagio | Las Vegas, NV

  • Roland Micu

    La Toque | Napa, CA

  • Andrew Myers

    CityZen | Washington, D.C

  • Joshua Nadel

    Veritas | New York, NY

  • Emily Pickral Papach – Rudd Scholar

    Kysela Pere et Fils, LTD | Winchester, VA

  • DLynn Proctor

    Treasury Wine Estates | Napa, CA


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table 2010 Napa (Mar 21–23, 2010)

  • Ian Cauble – Rudd Scholar

    Ritz-Carlton | Orlando, FL

  • Michael Engelmann – Rudd Scholar

    Gary Danko | San Francisco, CA

  • Eric Entrikin

    Alexanders Steakhouse | San Francisco, CA

  • Rachael Lowe – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Bouchon | Napa, CA

  • Margaux Pierog

    Treasury Wine Estates | Dana Point, CA

  • Thomas Price

    Jackson Family Fine Wines | Santa Rosa, CA

  • John Ragan

    Union Square Hospitality Group | New York, NY

  • Inez Ribustello

    Wine & Dining, Inc | Tarboro, NC

  • Sabato Sagaria

    The Little Nell | Aspen, CO


Master Sommeliers

Rudd Round Table 2009 Napa (Mar 22–24, 2009)

  • Trey Christy

    Bern’s Steak House | Tampa, FL

  • Nelson Daquip

    Canlis | Seattle, WA

  • Jason Heller – Rudd Scholar

    Redd Restaurant | Napa, CA

  • Laura Maniec

    BR Guest Restaurants | New York, NY

  • Robert Ord – Rudd Scholar/Johnston Medal

    Vinum Wine Importing | Seattle, WA

  • Jonathan Pullis

    The Little Nell | Aspen, CO

  • Julie Schiavone

    Quaintance Weaver | Greensboro, NC

  • Matt Stamp – Rudd Scholar

    Compline | Napa, CA

  • Hirsto Zivovski

    Jean Georges | New York, NY

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