Inspired by art in many forms - from music, to creative writing, to wine pairings - Sommelier Jennifer Wagoner brings an innovative point of view to Sepia and Proxi as wine director. Wagoner’s 16-year hospitality career includes experience in Manhattan and Miami. In 2017, the Midwesterner, who grew up in Indiana, Wagoner returned to her roots to curate the eclectic, award-winning wine lists at two of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants.  

Wagoner’s love of wine sparked in New York City, where she worked at B.R. Guest’s Blue Water Grill while moonlighting as a part-time studio musician.  She quickly developed an appreciation for collaborating with the kitchen to pair wines with food. Following her passion, Wagoner moved to Miami and joined Goldman Properties’ Wish in 2007 as managing sommelier, where she helped craft a wine list that received rave reviews. She then helped launched Goldman Properties’ Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, earning a nod from the Miami New Times as the “Best New Bar” of 2010. In 2012, she left WKB to serve as Head Sommelier at the wildly popular Zuma restaurant in downtown Miami. Then, in 2015, Wagoner moved on to join the Fontainebleau Miami Beach team as Lead Sommelier at StripSteak by Michael Mina, where she oversaw a wine list of more than 1,000 selections.

Wagoner joined the Sepia and Proxi team in December 2017, bringing a fresh perspective to an already acclaimed wine program. Michelin-starred Sepia has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast as “America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants” and named a James Beard Foundation finalist nomination in the Outstanding Wine Program category. The 450-bottle list features a wide variety of boutique winemakers and food-driven wines that pair with Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s inventive, modern American cuisine. Next door at younger sibling Proxi, the list currently features a women-led theme that highlights female voices from around the world . Like Chef Zimmerman’s globally inspired dishes, the wines range in regions, flavors and styles. Both playful and serious, Wagoner’s wine knowledge allows guests to take their own, unique culinary journey at Proxi and Sepia.

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