Our people are the best. Very knowledgeable without a trace of snobbery. Many Vin Chicago people have advanced certifications, including two who are Master Sommelier candidates. That's a very big deal, because there are only 200 Master Sommeliers in all of North America. But again, we're experts, not snobs. We're just a bunch of wine lovers—we're not just selling it. We're living it.
Peter Schwarzbach, Owner
Peter's career in the manufacturing and technology sector took an unexpected turn in 2001 when he joined his father in the family business. He spends most of his time behind the scenes negotiating wine deals and working on our newsletters, email offerings and all of those details that it takes to keep a growing business afloat. If you want to know why our prices are so much lower than most of the other guys, he is the one to ask. In his spare time you'll
find him running on the lakefront or sailing on Lake Michigan.
Bud Schwarzbach, Founder
In 1958, fresh out of the University of Illinois and a stint in the Navy, Bud took a "temporary" position managing his father's store. Over 50 years later he is still at it and still as passionate about wine as ever. He is as comfortable talking about current trends in the wine industry as he is telling stories about the early days when Chateau Lafite
sold for $5 per bottle. If he is not at the stores, he is probably on the golf course, spending time with the grandkids
or fulfilling his duties as Chairman of BUILD, a Chicago-based charity that supports at-risk kids.
Mike B, Advanced Sommelier, Lead Buyer, Highland Park - Manager
An Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers, Mike manages the Highland Park store, serves as our lead buyer and is a key instigator of our weekly email offerings. A true wine lover, he works at a frenetic pace, always has a big smile on his face and can help you find the perfect wine to go with just about any meal. He is an active parent of three kids. As for his spare time – well, he doesn't really have any!
It’s hard to believe, but Jim’s been with us for over 40 years. Ask him a question about a wine that you bought from us twenty years ago and he’ll know the answer – his memory is like a vault! Jim was the original manager of our Elston Avenue store when we opened it in 1987. Today you can find him at our Highland Park store. As he has been since the very beginning, he is one of our lead tasters and most prolific writers of tasting notes. He loves all sorts of wine, with a special place in his heart for the Rhone region.
Jennifer B, Certified Sommelier, Director of Operations
Jen’s path to and through wine is pretty unique! A former juvenile detention and probation officer in Illinois, she relaxed at night over great aged cheese and wine. While shopping in a wine store in Forest Park and chatting with
the owner, she was offered a job on the spot and took it. She grew her knowledge, received certifications through the International Sommelier Guild and through the Court of Master Sommeliers. After spending some working in the restaurant scene, Jen came to a Champagne tasting at Vin Chicago and never left!
Sean B, WSET II, Manager - Elston
Hailing from Somers, New York, Sean came to Chicago on a whim and hasn’t looked back. A wine industry veteran with over 6 years experience, his favorite wine region is Italy and he loves a good conversation around all of its sub-regions. When Sean’s not working, you can find him playing basketball, drinking wine, buying sneakers, and exploring Chicago.
Suzanne B, Controller
Suzanne has been with Vin Chicago for six years and brings us finance and operations experience from The Walt Disney Company, OMD Buying Group and public accounting. She is a CPA but has a knack for handling just about anything the Vin Chicago team needs her to do, even tasting wine!
Dawn is an Italian through and through! Growing up experiencing homemade wine from grapes growing around her Grandma Lucy’s house in Dundee, IL, wine is literally a part of her upbringing. After a trip to Naples, her love and passion for wine was solidified. A 7 year veteran of Vin Chicago, when Dawn’s not working you’ll find her hanging out with friends, traveling, and spending time with family back in Dundee.
Judy P, Inventory Accountant
Judy came to Vin Chicago about a year ago, looking for something different to do. This is her first adventure in the wine/spirits industry and she is loving it. She brings a great deal of accounting knowledge having worked in a variety of businesses from non-profit to enterprise industries. When not crunching numbers at her desk, she can be found hanging out with her hubby and their shelties at local dog agility shows, and maybe sharing a glass of wine with friends.
Christian M, Wine Specialist
After spending 6 years in the specialty coffee industry, Christian decided to change gears and focus on his other favorite beverage, wine. Although this is Christian’s first step into the wine world, he uses his food science background to shape his understanding of wine. When not working at Highland Park you can find him drinking coffee, talking about food, and showing everyone pictures of his two cats.
Aimee W, Wine Specialist, CMSI
Aimee's love affair with wine began while working in the restaurant industry, and after 15 years in that biz, she decided she had to make the relationship an official, full-time thing! She's been at Vin for 2 years and is always on the hunt for the next juicy, round white or chillable red to obsess over. Aside from wine, Aimee digs reading, sushi, spending time in her native Michigan, her cat Oslo, and her husband, Alex.