Jim Bube is a board member and the treasurer of the Second City Sommeliers tasting group in Chicago. He is the National Wine Director for the Hogsalt restaurant group and formerly the Director of Education for Illinois distributor Heritage Wine Cellars.


His journey to the Court of Master Sommeliers began with the intention to reinvest in his career as a wholesale sales rep. What began as an intention to add a certification and sell a bit more wine reignited his waning love of wine, service and community. This ultimately led to the pursuit of the Court’s higher-level credentials.


Along the way, Jim was the 2016 National TopSomm second place finisher and 2017 Guildsomm Online Competition winner. He ultimately passed the Master Sommelier diploma later that year.


Jim focuses heavily on mentorship in the Chicago wine community when not cooking or trying to make the perfect canelé.


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

National Wine Director for the Hogsalt restaurant group. Much of my day to day is triaging wines available on the market and putting together pricing, programs and training for our team members. The training in classic wine identification has been helpful in finding wines that are great, tasty examples for our guests and in some cases dealing with the increasing challenges the growing seasons are throwing their way. Running a profitable program is increasingly important as business realities and laws change in our markets as do evolving consumption patterns of our guests. From a training standpoint it’s very important that our staff are well educated without pretension. We strive to make what can be an intimidating process of selecting the correct wine a comfortable and breezy one.


What made you want to become an MS?

A genuine desire to become a better professional and to develop a more robust network of like-minded friends.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

Make sure you take some time to enjoy the process and the community that is built around this pursuit. The relationships that can be developed through study groups and downtime before or after these exams can be life-long. There’s something to pushing towards a difficult goal with colleagues that can form very strong bonds. Goals come and go in life, some achieved, some not, but to be so obsessed with the goal itself to the exclusion of being present for the process is to miss the point entirely.


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

Champagne, Chablis and Muscadet have been my main squeezes for some time now but the top red wines of Ribeira Sacra have consistently blown me away. They scratch the itch that I can no longer afford to have scratched by red Burgundy.