Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2018
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- Wine Channel TV Media, Chicago; Wine Harvest, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida; Experian, New York; MSNBC, New York; American Broadcasting Company (ABC), New York
- Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Studied journalism at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) in Broadcast Journalism, New York University; Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers, San Jose, California; California Wine Appellation Specialist, San Francisco Wine School, San Francisco, California; Certified Water Sommelier, Doemens Academy, Gräfelfing, Germany
- English, Spanish, a bit of Italian and Polish
“This is paradise!” says Jessica Altieri of the happy situation and beautiful destination she finds herself in as Sommelier of Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. After nearly a decade spent travelling to international wine regions, developing relationships with iconic wine brands, winemakers and vintners, and building wine lifestyle audiences across social media to share in her passion and learn from her expertise, Altieri is delighted by the opportunity stay put and do what she loves at the newly renovated Five-Star/Five-Diamond address.
“I’ve always wanted to be here and working for Four Seasons,” she says, explaining that she took “the road less travelled to the luxury hotel industry” and is sharing the relationships she’s cultivated and the wealth of knowledge she’s built about viticulture along the way.
Recruited in 2018, Altieri promptly set about fashioning a new wine program to pair with the Resort’s new dining experiences: Florie’s restaurant and bar in partnership with acclaimed Argentine-Italian Chef Mauro Colagreco, as well as the Resort’s oceanfront restaurant Seaway. Altieri’s mission is to create “memorable wine experiences” to heighten culinary selections and keep guests coming back for more.
“I want to create interactive, out-of-the-box events that Palm Beach has yet to experience, all while opening our guests’ eyes and palates to the wonders of wine.”
Altieri is similarly enthusiastic about her role on the restaurant floor. To her mind, “wine is just a conversation waiting to happen.” She loves to interact with guests, learn more about their travels, and share her own tales about the wine-producing regions in South America, Europe, the South Pacific, and the west coast of the US.
Born and raised in Chicago, Altieri was inspired by food and beverage early on, relishing in big Italian meals with her “big Italian family” on Sundays. After studying journalism, she started out as a sports reporter and then freelanced for big media companies before deciding to study abroad. Her travels took her first to Italy, then to France, and finally to Spain before she moved on to Ghana to make a documentary.
“Ghana really opened my eyes to a whole new world,” she remembers. “I knew I didn’t want to stay where I was anymore.”
Time ticked by until one night she saw a Master Sommelier on a television program and a light bulb clicked on in her head. “I thought, ‘I could be doing something I love, drinking wine, meeting great people and having great conversations. Why don’t I do that?’”
So she did, relocating to San Jose, California to study at the Court of Master Sommeliers. After earning certification, she launched an online wine-centric digital media network, dubbed “Wine Channel TV with Just Jess.” “I would go to wineries with my flip cam, knock on the door and ask, ‘Can I interview you? I want to know your story.’ A lot of people thought I was crazy, but that’s how I got things going on my own.”
Her first break came when a start-up hired her to help launch its wine business online. Her second was when the Italian government asked her to cover a large Italian wine trade event in New York City. “I met some of the biggest names in the industry. That was just a huge break for me.”
Successes kept coming as Altieri moved into video and digital “storytelling,” podcasts, and wrote a book, Kiss My Glass: The No BS Wine Buying Guide. She also expanded her focus, studying in Germany to earn certification as a Water Sommelier. She was one of the first in the US, she says. “There are still only a handful of us and even fewer who are both a certified wine and water sommelier.”
Happy to be settled in southern Florida, Altieri says the “one big thing” she wants to accomplish for Four Seasons is to bring in younger generations and “show them how to sip luxury. It’s about more than just wine. It’s about an experience that they can’t get anywhere else. My goal is to make their time here so unique and memorable, they can’t wait to come back.”