Master Sommelier Virginia Philip opens namesake Wine Shop & Academy and Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy
Master Sommelier Virginia Philip’s career includes a list of recognition spanning more than a decade. An expert among experts, her mastery and opinion is sought by journalists, colleagues and other sommeliers alike. In 2002 Philip became the 11th woman in the world to earn the extraordinary accreditation of Master Sommelier, the highest certification of international proficiency (today there are only 26 women out of 236 professionals worldwide). She has won the title of “Best Sommelier of the United States from the American Sommelier Association for 2002-2006. With continuing acknowledgment of her skill, the eminent James Beard Foundation nominated Philip for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional 2012. On May 23, 2015, Virginia was bestowed with one of the highest honors of “Honorary Doctorate Degree of Oenology” from her alma mater Johnson & Wales.
Philip is knowledgeable, yet approachable, current and well-connected to the industry.
Emphasizing these traits, she fulfilled a lifetime dream when she opened the Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy off Clematis Street in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach in 2011. In November of 2017, Philip expanded to Palm Beach with the Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy located in the newly renovated Royal Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach. Spirits were added to the line up. With approximately 850 personally-selected wine offerings and an extensive spirits collection, the boutique shop offers an outlet for her to share her extensive knowledge and generous demeanor to guests, often in a one-on-one basis. (The West Palm Beach location was closed in March, 2018). The Academy also satisfies Philip’s passion for teaching, and provides a space where she offers weekly wine education programs and guest appearances from national and international winemakers. The significance of her instruction may also be seen in her editorial contributions to Yachts International.
Philip utilizes her profound understanding of wine and her adaptable approach both in her store as well as as the Wine Director for The Breakers. As Master Sommelier for the iconic The Breakers Palm Beach, Philip leads the beverage department for nine restaurants and bars – including the über popular HMF – 14 wine lists including the resorts prized 2,000 selection list, which won Wine Spectators Grand Award every year since its inception in 1981. In addition, working in tandem with Mas la Chevalière wine making team in Languedoc, France, Philip creates The Breaker’s house wine blend, a program she initiated and implemented in 2004.
Philip’s expertise is called upon in a variety of judging competitions including the Decanter World Wine Awards in London, The American Fine Wine Competition and the TEXSOM International Wine Competition in Dallas. Philip has been a perennial favorite at annual events such as the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival and the South Beach Food & Wine Festival where she has led wine-tasting sessions and judged cooking competitions. . In the Spring of 2015, Philip co-created and launched the “Livernano 90 C Lo Cal” wine collection with partner Gudrun Cuillo of Livernano winery.
Philip’s interest in wine began at an early age, studying the subject in college and working at a vineyard during the summer. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1989 with a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Johnson & Wales University. Prior to her arrival at the Breakers Palm Beach, she worked at many accredited resorts and restaurants, most notably the Five Diamond/Five Star Award winning resort The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado.
Master Sommelier Virginia Philip has brought notoriety and attention to the outlets she supports with appearances on “The Today Show” and the Food Network and recognition in Food & Wine, Town & Country, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Country Living and Decanter. And her passion to taste and learn and, especially, to share her expertise on this subject will continue to grow and evolve with each new project.