The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce would like to share its warmest congratulations with Houston wine professional Jaime de Leon who was just named “Houston’s Best Sommelier” by the editors of the Houston Press!
Many of members will recognize Jaime: An expert in the wines of Italy, he often pours wine at our events where he also shares his invaluable insights into the mosaic of Italian wine.
“Houston’s roster of fine wine specialists has exploded in recent years,” write the editors of the weekly, “in part thanks to the city’s rapid growth and the legion of sommeliers who have moved here from other states seeking opportunity in one of the country’s hottest restaurant markets. But this year’s “best sommelier” award has to go to one of the city’s homegrown sons, Jaime de Leon, who started working as a bagger at Kroger three decades ago and nimbly climbed his way to the top of the supermarket behemoth’s wine program to become one of its flagship buyers. The Sam Houston High School alumnus not only runs what is widely considered to be one of the best retail programs in the city (highly unusual for a supermarket), but he is also the inspiration for the Heights location’s wine bar — a first for the chain. Kroger in turn has underwritten de Leon’s bid to join the hard-to-crack ranks of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a title he is sure to snag in the next few years. De Leon also mentors aspiring Houston wine professionals, leading more than one of the city’s tasting and study groups. A bona fide sommelier’s sommelier, he is the embodiment of connoisseurship and — most important — hospitality.”
Congratulations, Jaime, for this much deserved recognition and accolade!