Sommelier Student of the Year!

Posted by Keith Wallace

The Wine School of Philadelphia has named Stacy Wessel, owner of Race Street Café, the 2024 Sommelier Student of the Year.

Stacy Wessel, a veteran Philadelphia restaurateur, won the award following intensive pursuit of her Advanced Sommelier certification, balancing classes with running her café for over a decade, working extensive hours, and parenting her two daughters through the pandemic. Inspired by Wessel’s dedication and resilience, Wallace recognizes her as a model of perseverance and communal support.

Stacy stands out not only for her consistent top performance but for her inherent ability to uplift others. Her generosity and spirit, demonstrated by gestures like hosting a memorial for a student’s pet, embody the essence of the award.

Keith Wallace

At the Wine School, we often say we have two types of students: Ph.D. and GED, and don’t expect the former to beat out the latter. Stacy is an old-school restauranteur and has been grinding away at her Advanced Sommelier certification for several years. Despite 60-hour work weeks at her restaurant and raising a fantastic family, she kept coming to class through the pandemic.

Wessel is the third to receive this honor, initiated by Wallace and Alana Zerbe to acknowledge outstanding students who excel academically, contribute to the food and wine industry, advocate for diversity, and garner respect among peers. Prior recipients include Michael Kraemer of Alpen Rose and Stephanie Waters of The Wine Jawn LLC.

Sommelier Of The Year 2023

About The Wine School of Philadelphia

Wine School Of Philadelphia

Founded in 2001 in Philadelphia’s Fairmount and now located in Rittenhouse, The Wine School of Philadelphia, led by Keith Wallace and Alana Zerbe, offers a comprehensive range of courses certified through the National Wine School. Renowned for its impact on the wine education landscape and recognized as America’s top wine school by SOMM, it provides sommelier, winemaking courses, and over a hundred thematic classes. With 89 current students, its alumni include prominent figures in winemaking, retail, journalism, and hospitality.

About The Race Street Cafe

Race Street Cafe

Inside the quaint café, you’re transported to a rustic bistro with heavy wood beams, a wood stove, and a gas street lamp illuminating the exposed brick. In warmer months, the large barn doors open to sidewalk dining, inviting glances from passers-by.

Friendly bartenders serve a wide selection of 15 draft beers, including a hand pump, ensuring your thirst is well catered to. The simple yet refined menu boasts a chalkboard of specials emphasizing local, seasonal products. Offerings range from hot and cold, homemade soups to a vast array of sandwiches and entrees that cater to every diner, including Gluten-free, Vegetarian, and Vegan options.

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