SommFoundation

Rudd Round Table

This event, held each January 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 following January Rudd Master’s Round Table. 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 Board Members and Officers select the top professionals sitting for their Master Sommelier diploma to participate in addition to the Rudd Scholars. Being selected for this event is a profound honor, and 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

History

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 has grown 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 is 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 shares a commitment to excellence and appreciation of artisan products by blending the traditions of the past while instilling a modern twist. 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 Oakville 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. Already she has begun 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. The bar for her is high at Rudd, but she can’t wait to jump!

Past Attendees


2019

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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


2018

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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


2017

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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


2016

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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


2015

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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


2014

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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


2013

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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


2012

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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


2011

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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

Resources