Michael Kraemer, an Advanced Sommelier student at the Wine School of Philadelphia, has been named the winner of the 2023 Sommelier Student of the Year Award. The award, which recognizes dedication to the wine or restaurant trade, is given annually to a student who demonstrates a high level of achievement in academic and creative efforts, as well as diligence, leadership, and professionalism.
The Selection Process
The selection process for the award begins with a week-long nomination period during which wine instructors nominate their top students. The nominees are then voted on using a ranked-choice system to determine the winner.
All students enrolled in an academic wine course, including the Core Sommelier program, are eligible for the award. The Wine School of Philadelphia offers four semesters of wine education every year, including an accelerated sommelier program in the summer.
Michael Kraemer, Sommelier Student of the Year
According to the school, Kraemer’s achievements over the past year have been remarkable. In addition to completing his coursework for his Advanced Sommelier pin, he served as an Assistant Winemaker in the Advanced Winemaking program, proving to be an incredible asset to his instructor.
Kraemer’s roots are in the restaurant trade, where he started working at his uncle’s deli on Long Island at the age of 13. While studying for a Philosophy degree at Stonybrook, he pivoted into fine dining to help pay for his tuition. He has been a figure of the Philadelphia food scene for over a decade and his move into wine was a byproduct of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“In a classroom full of CEOs, scientists, and restaurateurs, Mike stood apart. He is a front-of-the-classroom student with a thirst for knowledge. You’d think he was a classic New York curmudgeon when you first meet him. But that is far from the truth: he’s everyone respects him,” said one of his instructors.
Kraemer’s future plans include opening a Gastro Pub and teaching wine classes. For now, he splits his time between taking wine classes and working at Alpen Rose, a Michael Schulson Steakhouse in Philadelphia.
About the Wine School
The Wine School of Philadelphia also offers certification programs through the National Wine School (NWS), which has offices in Los Angeles, California and Burlington, Vermont. NWS is one of the top three sommelier schools in the United States, according to SOMM.