Somm Spotlight – Jon McDaniel of Second City Soil, Chicago

Jon McDaniel, Founder & CEO, Second City Soil

Jon McDaniel is the founder & CEO of Second City Soil, a Chicago-based wine consultancy with the mission of growing Chicago’s wine culture through winery and restaurant marketing and education partnerships. McDaniel is recognized as one of the top wine professionals in the U.S., having worked in every facet of the business – from creating high-profile wine programs at several nationally acclaimed restaurants, to developing revenue-generating brand growth for numerous wineries around the world. Through Second City Soil, Jon also works with multiple wineries, international organizations and global wine festivals as an ambassador on marketing, education and sales advisement.

Winner of Food + Wine Magazine’s Sommelier of the Year in 2018, Wine Enthusiast “40 Under 40 Tastemakers” in 2017 and Riedel Crystal International Sommelier of the Month in November of 2016, He was recently named the United States Academy Chair for “World’s Best Vineyards”. Jon has been featured in Wine Spectator, Wine + Spirits Magazine, Forbes, and World of Fine Wine Magazine. In 2016 and 2017, 5 of World of Fine Wine Magazine’s Top 100 Wine Lists in the World were under Jon’s direction. He was knighted into the Order of SNODAR in Valpolicella, Italy in 2015 and knighted into the Ordine dei Cavalieri del Tartufo e dei Vini d’Alba in 2019. Jon is an Adjunct Professor of Hospitality Management at Roosevelt University in Chicago, a Hospitality Fellowship Chair at The University of Texas at Austin and the owner and winemaker of Amos Cellars, a critically acclaimed Sonoma County wine brand.

Most recently, Jon is in the development of his new project, The Vine Hive, a global wine consultancy firm with the mission of bringing the wine community together for local, national and international wine campaigns and digital content promotion. Jon also is the Secretary and sits on the board of the United Sommeliers Foundation, an organization founded in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis to help raise funds for out of work and in-need wine professionals.

When Jon is not tasting, talking, drinking, opening or teaching wine, you can find him listening to Miles Davis, watching his beloved Azzuri and drinking drinks that only an 85-year-old Italian nonno would appreciate.