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Sommelier Stories

Tonya Pitts

Sommelier and Wine Director at One Market Restaurant, San Francisco

Tonya has just been named the West Coast Lead Reviewer for Wine Enthusiast!

An industry change-maker and compassionate role model, Tonya Pitts is known globally as a multi-talented wine professional who catapults wineries, winemakers and brands into the mainstream. Since 2008, Tonya’s wine programs for One Market Restaurant have received the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. In 2022, she was named the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards Sommelier of the Year.

Equally important, she is a leader who champions diversity and inclusion in the hospitality, food and beverage industries. In 2017, she was named to the Top 40 African American Tastemakers (Under/Over) 40 list.

“I have tasted many vintages of this wine and every year just keeps getting better and better… the evolution of the wines is pretty spectacular.”
Tonya Pitts
Sommelier at One Market Restaurant

Dan Dawson

Sommelier and Owner of Outer Space Wines, Napa

Dan brings 30 years of Napa Valley wine experience to Outer Space. From 2001 to 2017 Dan owned and operated Back Room Wines, a fine wine shop and wine bar in Downtown Napa. He built Back Room Wines into one of the best and most highly regarded wine shops in Napa Valley. Prior to Back Room Wines, Dan was wine buyer at All Seasons Bistro and Wine Shop in Calistoga (1992-1998), Head Sommelier at The French Laundry (1998-1999) and Wine Merchant at Dean & Deluca in St Helena. (1999-2001).

No doubt, tasting, recommending and selling many of the world’s finest and rarest wines has been part of Dan’s daily routine. That said, one of Dan’s greatest skills, in the opinion of many of his customers, is his ability to evaluate and identify wines that, in Dan’s words, “over-deliver for their price.” Recommending these types of wines in Dan’s entertaining and skillful prose is one of the pillars of Outer Space Wines.

"In an increasing landscape of homogenization, the savvy Cabernet Sauvignon customer must look harder for the singular, artisan Cab. Stardust belongs in this category better than most. [This] hillside-grown Cabernet [is] made to showcase the land, the skills of its creators and the Napa Valley. It all stacks up to make a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon."
Dan Dawson
Sommelier and Owner of Outer Space Wines