Elli is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as experienced mixologist. An artful hybrid of both specialties. Benchimol has more than 22 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most recently as the lead sommelier at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab in Washington, D.C.
Her previous sommelier positions include the beverage team at Range and Aggio by Bryan Voltaggio in DC and Baltimore; Frank Ruta's Grille Room at the Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown, and lead sommelier at Adour by Alain Ducasse in DC's St. Regis Hotel. Benchimol developed beverage programs for multiple restaurant groups, Chef Geoff's five restaurants and Stir Food Groups' four restaurants. Her first sommelier position in D.C. was at Rasika Penn Quarter with a short year in Miami opening Michael Mina's, Bourbon Steak.
Originally from San Francisco, Elli Benchimol grew up in Northern California's wine country working through college at San Francisco State at some of the best chef driven restaurants in the city, under talented wine mentors with award winning wine lists. She was first captivated by wine while working at the Fifth Floor in San Francisco under the reign of Raj Parr and Laurent Gras.
Apéro is the culmination of a lifelong dream for Benchimol to bring the joy of both hospitality and approachable, joyful love of wine. She is still actively studying for her final certification as Master Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers, and loves teaching about wine, spirits and food. She has spent the past decade running an industry tasting group in D.C. weekly on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and has lost count of how many of its attendees have gone on to pass exams open businesses and run programs after her tutelage. While it has been suspended at various moments during 2020 it, like all else made a virtual pivot and is now set to resume again in June.
Originally from Boston Massachusetts, Alexa found her true passion in wine, spirits, and hospitality after navigating her way through an arts degree. She graduated top of her class at George Washington University, worked at some of the top museums in the city and realized her side jobs were their own art form.
Actively participating in DC industry's weekly wine tasting group with Elli Benchimol she got to work with the largest whiskey collection in the country at Jack Rose Dining Saloon. The passion of that team was infections and inspired her to journey to California for a fellowship with Treasury Wine Estates where she took a deep dive into winemaking and working harvest. Most recently as sommelier at RPM Italian, where she became Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, the opportunity to curate an approachable and inspiring experience with Apéro offered an irresistible opportunity to embrace her artistry.
If Alexa is not talking to a guest at Apéro about how incredible a bottle of champagne is or the glory of Springbank scotch you can find her hiking the trails of Rock Creek Park for a picnic possibly with a half bottle of bubbles and an ice pack in her fanny pack.