Raphael Santos is a competitor in San Francisco Wine School's 2021 Somm Olympics, part of their annual Anniversary Celebration benefitting the Glancy Wine Education Foundation and wine industry professionals in need of financial aid.
Born and raised in Manila, Raphael never imagined he would be working in the wine industry. After moving to New York for college, then working in finance, he discovered a crazy passion and interest for wine. Living in the Bay Area allowed him to visit several wineries, which quickly turned into an obsession and new career.
He began his journey as a student in Master Sommelier David Glancy's renowned Certified Sommelier Program at Professional Culinary Institute in 2008. He is currently Head Sommelier at San Francisco's legendary, two-Michelin star, Acquerello Restaurant, where he has worked for more than a decade, managing their Wine Spectator Grand Award wine list, which consists primarily of wines from Italy, Champagne and California.
He is also Lead Sommelier at Acquire –a hospitality company centered on bringing people together over food and wine by hosting digital events, in-person events and offering a number of consulting services where he focuses on managing private clients’ cellars.
He loves going to Hawaii with his wife and two children and could not wait to be able to travel again.