President, American Sommelier
One of the foremost wine educators in the country, Andrew F. Bell is a Co-Founder and President of American Sommelier. Since entering the industry in 1987, he has forged a distinguished career as a wine educator and businessman. Over the past 24 years, Bell has experienced all sectors of the wine industry and developed a profound understanding of the educational needs of both the consumer and service sides of the industry.Wine has always had a presence in Bell’s life and growing up. While Bell’s family had Chianti in the traditional fiasco bottle for dinner every night, it was not until his sister offered him a trip to the Napa Valley winery V. Sattui that he developed a real passion for wine. From that experience, Bell knew that he wanted to forge a career in the wine business.
Bell has been involved with many facets of the food and beverage industry. He began his career in San Francisco in 1987 and worked alongside famed hotelier and restaurateur Bill Kimpton at Splendido’s. As part of his experience there, Bell trained with Michael Bonaccorsi, forever impacting his outlook on wine. Bonaccorsi’s engaging and accessible teaching style combined with his extensive knowledge inspired Bell to pursue his discovery of the drink and move to France. While in France, Bell introduced a boutique wine shop Paris’ 6th Arrondissement; worked harvest in Arbois for renowned winemaker Frederic Lornet; and served as number two sommelier at Michelin three-star restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris. Upon returning to his native New York in 1996, Bell embarked on a journey to share his knowledge, passion and rapport with wine with all aficionados. Bell launched Wine Symphony, a wine consulting and import company in New York City, which he continues to oversee.
With a team of like-minded peers, Bell founded American Sommelier in 1998. Together they developed courses designed for wine enthusiasts, aficionados and industry professionals with the unique goal of sharing knowledge and enthusiasm for wine. Bell designed the American Sommelier Blind Tasting class in 2005 and continues to oversee the organization and create the curriculum for each class. In addition, Bell teaches classes for each of the association’s courses and has led the production of the Best Sommelier in America competition since 2002. He is currently crafting a comprehensive sales, service and buying class series.
Bell is a graduate of City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University; he studied cognitive psychology. Bell is married, has three children and lives in New York City. In his downtime, he enjoys photography and playing golf.