Virginia Philip

Master Sommelier Virginia Philip opens namesake Wine Shop and 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 206 professionals worldwide). She has won the title of “Best Sommelier of the United States from the American Sommelier Association and sat on the Board of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers. With continuing acknowledgment of her skill, the eminent James Beard Foundation nominated Philip for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional 2012.

Philip utilizes her profound understanding of wine and her adaptable approach across a gamut of outlets. As Master Sommelier for the iconic The Breakers Palm Beach, Philip leads the beverage department for nine restaurants and bars – including the newly launched and über popular HMF – 14 wine lists including the resorts prized 1,600 selection list, which won Wine Spectators Grand Award every year since its inception in 1981. In addition, working in tandem with the Domaine du Tariquet wine making team in Gascony, France, Philip creates The Breaker's house wine blend, a program she initiated and implemented in 2004.

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. With approximately 600 personally-selected offerings, 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 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 and Fisher Island Magazine.

Philip's expertise is called upon in a variety of judging competitions including the Decanter World Wine Awards in London, joining approximately 200 other Master Sommeliers, Master of Wines and other well-known sommeliers, buyers and journalists from 25 countries. She also judges the American Fine Wine Competition and the Dallas Morning News competition. More recently, she assisted with the Vanilla Puddin' wine featuring Gabrielle Union. She has also been appointed as a consultant to Seminole Casino Coconut Creek's NYY Steakhouse.

Philip's interest in wine began at an early age, studying the subject in college and working at a vineyard in 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, 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.