Sommelier Esteban Brunello of Oliveto Cafe & Restaurant - Biography

Oakland, CA

May 2013

Argentina native Esteban Brunello’s interest in hospitality began in Buenos Aires, where he worked in hotels before moving to the United States. Choosing San Francisco as his ideal North American destination, Brunello recognized the city’s appreciation for wine and culinary culture and wanted to take part in the action. He held his first serving position at Alegrias, where he used his Argentine background and native Spanish tongue to excel in the industry. He immediately developed a passion for wine and spirits and subsequently became a bartender at Dirty Martini, Circa, and Farina Foccacia & Cucina Italiana over the following years.

It wasn’t until a move to Colorado that Brunello began his quest toward becoming a sommelier. While attending classes at the International Sommelier Guild at the Metropolitan State College of Boulder and the Court of Master Sommeliers, he began working as a sommelier at Alba Ristorante in Denver. He eventually returned home to Argentina and applied his acquired wine knowledge as a wine consultant to a hotel in Buenos Aires. The lure of San Francisco quickly called him back, however, and Brunello returned only a month later to work as sommelier and front of the house manager at SPQR, where he continued his wine education with mentor and 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Shelley Lindgren.

In 2012, Brunello took the reins of the wine program at Oakland’s Oliveto, applying years of experience and love for Italian wines. Enthusiastic about Italian wine varietals, Brunello pours interesting and reasonably priced wines alongside Chef Jonah Rhodehamel’s exquisite cuisine.