Sarah’s interest in wine started at a young age. Her brother worked at Joseph Phelps for over a decade, and while spending time with him, she was able to wander through the vineyards and taste out of barrel and bottle with many incredible winemakers. Those early experiences ignited a passion for wine and a desire to work in that world and to live in the Napa/Sonoma region. But the summer of her 18th year and a trip to NYC led to a sea-change on that front and she spent the next 10+ years working in fashion in New York, Milan and Paris.
Sarah is a culinary school graduate and loves to cook and entertain. She also loves the hospitality industry and is involved in many things on that front in Chicago. She is a Certified Sommelier (pursuing her advanced certification) with The Court of Master Sommeliers. She loves both wine and yoga for the same reason, "One can spend their whole life studying both and still barely scratch the surface."
Kestral is named after one of her favorite horses.
Working at Pops for Champagne sparked a lifelong champagne obsession for Colleen and she has never looked back. Fascinated by the chemistry, the varietals, the culture, the people and, of course, the bubbles, kept her engaged and enthusiastic about the wines of the region, and she has devoted a great part of her career to it. During her eight years at Pops she was deemed the “Sparkling Queen of Chicago”.
She holds a culinary degree from Kendall College and often couples that with her knowledge of fresh, seasonal ingredients to create unique sparkling cocktails as well as champagne and food pairings.
Following her work at Pops for Champagne she joined Strategic Group to represent Moët Hennessy as their first Portfolio Specialist in Illinois. She represented the Moët Hennessy’s luxury brands for just over three years until she transitioned to Winebow Fine Wine and Spirits as the District Manager overseeing a team of several salespeople.
She is excited to return to the world of fine wine and champagne and will be utilizing her vast industry experience to showcase the Kestral Portfolio.
Natalie’s enthusiasm for food and travel started in her early years. Some of her fondest memories are learning how to cook spaghetti and listening to stories about world travel during weekly visits to her Grandparents for Sunday Gravy.
After traveling through several wine-growing regions as an adult, Natalie became enamored with wine and the ways in which it intertwines with local cuisines and cultures. Natalie decided to take her passion for wine to the next level by completing the WSET Level 3 in 2019.
Before joining Kestral, Natalie spent her career with multinational firms such as Colliers International, Willis Towers Watson, and AmWINS. During this time, Natalie developed a diverse skill set, including business development, strategic planning, risk management, and negotiation.
Dustin’s passion for wine started with a single taste of 1949 Ruchottes-Chambertin while working as a server in a high-end French restaurant in Chicago. The son of a chef, Dustin grew up in kitchens, helping wash dishes in the kitchen of famed Le Français on weekends. Prior to pursuing wine, he worked in some of Chicago’s top dining rooms as a server, managed a two-star Michelin restaurant, ran the beverage program at Momotaro, and most recently worked as a sommelier at Spiaggia.
Dustin has been studying with the Court of Master Sommeliers since 2015 and will attempt to earn his MS Diploma at the end of 2020. He competed in the ASI World’s Best Sommelier competition in 2019, representing the United States amongst 63 nations present. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring wine-producing regions of the world, cooking, dad jokes, and hanging out with his little black cat Pearl
Beth obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Marquette University. While working in various accounting roles at Motorola, she obtained her MBA with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University. Although Beth’s career involves working with numbers, she enjoys fine wine and dining in her free time. The wine industry was the perfect fit for Beth to apply her accounting skills. Annual trips to Napa are always something she looks forward to.
Jesse is a Taurus and like all Tauruses, he loves food and wine. His first job at the ripe age of 15 was washing dishes in a fish n’ chips place on a boat docked on the Oregon coast and he’s been in the hospitality industry ever since. Having held every front of house position from host to manager in some of Chicago’s most celebrated restaurants Jesse loves pairing great food with great wine.
Some of his most memorable experiences have been had sitting around a table with friends and strangers enjoying a beautiful bottle(s). When Jesse isn’t driving around the city with a bag full of wine you can find him in the darkroom making weirdo performance art. Jesse lives with his partner Nicholas and their owner Mona Lisa.
Heather has a longstanding, refined taste for natural wines and indie spirits. She continuously strives to educate herself and loves learning about producers’ processes and philosophies and how that directly translates to the end product of wine and spirits.
Heather joined KWS as the Letherbee Distillers expert, where she still runs the show. At Letherbee she manages the operations and growth of the brand. Get her to sit down for a drink and she will happily talk about Chicago's food and beverage scene or absolutely anything related to bicycles.
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