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Alpana Singh, Master Sommelier, Everest, Chicago, IL

Alpana Singh, Master Sommelier, Everest, Chicago, IL

Alpana Singh
Everest, Chicago

Alpana Singh claims she hasn't sold her soul to the devil. Yeah, right! How else can you explain her extraordinary success at the tender age of 24? Alpana, at a mere 21, was the youngest person ever to pass the Court of Master Sommeliers' advanced course. That's a mind-boggling feat when you consider that she was required to identify six wines, their vintages and their varietals without years of wine tasting under her belt. The fact that she was born and raised in northern California wine country certainly helped. Still, that doesn't fully explain why the daughter of parents from the Fiji Islands will soon be a master of the world's most complicated beverage at an age when most of her contemporaries are drinking Bud Lite. "I was blessed with a personality and a palate," she simply says. She was blessed? Well, there is that side of the coin. Perhaps it was divine intervention that led her three years ago to Rancho Cellars in Carmel, Calif., where she was named wine education director and guru of its 900-wine e-commerce site. And perhaps it was angels who lit her path to Chicago and Everest, a fine-dining Mecca where she now holds her first job as sommelier. Perhaps. But look at that glint in her eye. It is a bit devilish, is it not? Or maybe it's the look of one who has planted a flag at the Everest of her chosen field? In either case, she'll take and pass the master's level course next month, making her one of only 11 women in the world to be designated a master sommelier. How will she celebrate? Probably with a bottle of Zinfandel and bag of Cheetos, which she nokiddingly calls "the most perfect wine-friendly food in the world." Her comment is a mere hint at her wine-drinking philosophy: "Drinking wine should always be fun and never stuffy." Here's to you, Alpana, may your glass always be full of the world's most divine wines.


TAGS: Rising Stars