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.

PeterSchwarzbachOwner
 
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.

Bud Schwarzbach, Founder
 
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Mike B, Advanced Sommelier 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!

MikeBakerNapervilleManager
 
Jim B.

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.

JimBuckleyHighlandParkManager
 
Jennifer B, Certified Sommelier Web Operations Manager

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!

JenniferBlairBarringtonManager
 
Sean B, WSET II

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.

 
Liz S, Level 1 CMS

Liz is a veteran of Vin Chicago with over 5 years of tenure! Coming from the corporate airline industry, living in Germany, and traveling the world, her love of wine grew from her love of travel. She has built a worldly knowledge and passion for wine, and she even met her husband at a wine tasting. Where did they get married? A vineyard! When Liz isn’t working, you can find her in western Michigan sailing with her husband.

LizSpees
 
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 D.

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.

 
Vee B.

With his passion for food and expertise and experience as a private chef, Vee learned long ago that wine is an integral part to a meal, not just an add-on. He loves food, he loves retail and he loves wine. After meeting founder Bud Schwarzbach, he started working for Vin Chicago in 1995 and put in 10 years of service. After a very long vacation, Vee re-joined Vin Chicago in 2020! In his spare time, you will find him geeking out at Star Trek conventions or enjoying food and wine with friends and family!

 
Adam R, Certified Sommelier

Adam first caught the wine bug while working at the elite restaurants in Chicago, where he also became a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2018, Adam was traveling amongst the wineries of Austria learning the wine making craft. In 2019, he was working in the Willamette Valley as the winemaking assistant for Trisaetum Winery, satisfying his love for Pinot Noir and high acid whites. Now back in the City, Adam is continuing to learn with us at Vin as he peruses his path towards making his own wine in Oregon, or his home region of Northern California.

 
Chris B.

Chris fell into wine when visiting a friend in Napa that worked for Cain Cellars. He happened upon a job at Havens Winery and the rest was history. What was supposed to be a couple of months turned into two years. He learned the business and even started his own import company, and consulted in Chicago on Napa Valley wine distribution. Chris landed at Vin Chicago in 2017 and loves wines that express terroir. His favorites include Cru Beaujolais, Burgundy, and traditional wines from Southern Rhone.

 
Matt Levy, Director of Marketing

Matt held a leadership at the nation's leading e-tailer of kosher wine. Upon exiting the company, Matt worked as digital marketing and ecommerce consultant for enterprise brands. He found his way back to wine and Vin Chicago in search of once again working with his passion of wines, and also all of the happy conversations and interactions around wine. When he's not working, he's probably chasing his daughters and wife around the house.

 
Gabriel M, WSET II, CMS I, Cicerone I

Gaining his passion for food and wine working at an Albuquerque, NM french bistro at age 18, it was wines from Chablis that really made Gabriel fall in love with wines and the industry. French wine is his go-to, specifically from Burgundy and Champagne because of their history and quality, but also the connection over it with his wife. They moved to Chicago 2 years ago and that’s when Vin Chicago snatched him up. When Gabe’s not working, Gabe can be found cooking, studying wine, or working out.

 
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.

 
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