When I first meet Rachael Lowe, she isn’t the “picture” of a fine-dining sommelier I had in my mind. Down-to-earth and gregarious, she doesn’t speak in esoteric or rarefied tones, even though she is brilliant in her descriptions of the style, producer and terroir of the 800 labels on Spiaggia’s wine list.
For over five years, Lowe has been the beverage director of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Spiaggia, recently nominated in the outstanding wine program category at the 2019 James Beard Awards. She now oversees the entire Levy restaurant division as beverage director (including the Ravinia Festival, River Roast and Maddon’s Post).
Lowe passed the advanced sommelier degree from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009 with a top score that earned her a Rudd Scholarship. She was the 2010 Jean Banchet Top Sommelier, 2011 Star Chef Rising Star Sommelier and 2016 Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year. She has a masters degree in food studies from New York University and has worked for acclaimed restaurants like Tru, Naha, Bouchon and French Laundry.
Lowe said sommeliers should be approachable and “for everybody.”