Andrey Ivanov is a native of Yakutsk in Northeastern Siberia, immigrating to the US in 1992. He is a graduate of St. Louis University’s John Cook School of Business with a BSBA in International Business, Economics, and Russian Studies. Andrey began his hospitality career in St. Louis earning many awards and accolades from local and national media, and passing the Intro and Certified Exams in 2009. In 2011, he passed his Advanced Exam on his first attempt, earning the Rudd Scholarship and also the Johnston Medal for the highest overall score that year. He also excelled in various competitions highlighted by winning the US Best Young Sommelier Competition in 2015 after taking 2nd place in 2014. He also took 3rd Place in TopSomm in 2015. Andrey represented the Midwest Region in every national final of every competition he entered between 2012 and 2015. In 2018, he completed the Master Sommelier Diploma after 6.5 attempts, proving that success on your first try at the Advanced guarantees nothing at the next level! After 5 years at Lazy Bear in San Francisco, Andrey recently moved to Mexico City, where he is currently the only Master Sommelier to have ever been based in Mexico!


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

I currently own Bliss Wine Imports and Bliss Wine Concierge, an online wine club, wine store, and travel experience. I also have a sister company, BlissMX, that I help manage in Mexico. Being a Master Sommelier has helped me be fluent in many cultures and assimilate quickly in any environment work or mentorship takes me.


Where were you working when you passed?

I was working at Lazy Bear in San Francisco, as well as at Bliss Wine Imports on the side.


What made you want to become an MS?

Honestly, being a sommelier ties together everything that I have ever been passionate about. It is history, geography, sociology, economics, chemistry, biology, climate, all the disciplines we have learned as a civilization rolled into one. All you need is a good story teller to make all of these things fit together and make us all realize how interconnected the world and the people in it are. Some have art, some have music, our medium is food and beverage. Everyone in the world eats and drinks (something), when we sit down at a table we all already have something in common!


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

Do it for the sake of pursuing the knowledge, not the pin. The pin is material, the knowledge defines the person that you are.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

Madeira, of course! But I am currently nerding out on Mezcal, and wines from places most students devote one page in their notebook to… You know what you call someone that knows everything about Burgundy and nothing about South Africa? An enthusiast 🙂