Somm-One You Should Know: Rebecca Fineman

Sommeliers are the highly qualified, expertly trained professionals who curate wine lists, make pairing recommendations and pop up tableside to answer your burning questions about vineyards, varietals and everything in between. In our Somm-One You Should Know series, we’re introducing you to a handful of incredible women who’ve made this business their business. 

Rebecca Fineman is the co-owner and wine director of Ungrafted, a wine-centric San Francisco restaurant with the motto to “not sweat the small stuff and drink more Champagne.” Where do we sign up? Rebecca is also a Master Sommelier with nearly two decades of experience in the food and wine industry. In 2017, she became the 25th woman in the US to be certified by the Court.

You might be surprised to hear that Rebecca “fell into the restaurant industry almost by accident.” The daughter of a Jewish father and Italian Catholic mother, Rebecca was raised in Westchester County, New York. She moved across the country to study Music and Anthropology at Pomona College in Claremont, CA before spending a Fulbright year in South Korea and attending graduate school in Hawaii. Her liberal arts background brought her back to Manhattan, where she worked in publishing by day and restaurants by night. She decided to change course and dive into food and wine head first, eventually working her way up from server to wine director.

Rebecca met her husband, Christopher Gaither, during the advanced sommelier exam in 2012; from the beginning of their relationship, the couple dreamed of operating their own restaurant. After joining him in San Francisco, Rebecca held sommelier roles at high-profile restaurants like Gary Danko, Sociale, Michael Mina, and High Treason. 

Rebecca and Christopher married, welcomed two daughters, and in 2018 fulfilled their dream with Ungrafted, a relaxed wine bar in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. The spot has become well known for its diverse and loyal customer base, kid-friendly space, all-sommelier staff, and playful sense of humor — the top-tier wine list comes in a vintage Trapper Keeper. The hospitality power couple will soon cater to Golden State Warriors fans when they open GluGlu, a wine bar and eatery at Chase Center’s Thrive City. 

Along with running the wine program at Ungrafted and being a mom to two young girls, Rebecca is also a restaurant consultant and wine educator. She is keen on sharing her knowledge with others and helping them discover the joys of food and wine pairing. “I have a passion, not just for wine but for people,” says Rebecca. “Being able to deliver an experience to people makes me happy ecstatically when they have a great time in our care.”

You can follow Rebecca via Instagram.