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Rob Bigelow

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Director of Wine Education
Seattle, WA
As Senior Director of Wine Education and On-Premise Development, Rob Bigelow oversees all wine education programs for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. As part of his dual responsibilities he also plays a critical role in the company’s work with key stakeholders in the on-premise trade. Bigelow holds the coveted title of Master Sommelier, which he was awarded in 2002 as the fiftieth American recipient and the seventh American to pass all three parts of the rigorous exam on the first attempt.  Raised only an hour away from Napa Valley wine country, Bigelow grew up with wine running through his veins. Yet it was a 1961 Château Margaux served at a party in his parents’ home when he was ten years old that confirmed his interest. From that point forward he dedicated himself to the study of wine.  After studying hotel and restaurant management in college and working several sommelier positions, Bigelow became the Wine and Spirits Director at Canlis Restaurant in Seattle. There, under his direction, the wine program received the coveted Wine Spectator Grand Award.  Following this singular achievement, Bigelow moved to Las Vegas to work at Bellagio as sommelier for Le Cirque, Circo and Aqua restaurants while preparing for his master sommelier examination. When appointed as Wine Director of Bellagio, he took charge of the hotel’s entire wine program, one of the largest and most successful in the world. In addition to managing daily operations and a staff of 16 sommeliers, he also conducted a comprehensive wine education program for the entire Bellagio service staff.  Most recently, he was the Director of Food and Beverage for ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. During his tenure there, ARIA earned a Five Diamond rating from AAA and a five star rating from Forbes. Bigelow serves on the Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers, where he also served as Education Chair in 2011. He was also an Adjunct Professor for the Hospitality Management Program at the esteemed College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. In 2007, he was honored as the Wine Professional of the Year by Santé magazine.