Stories of Wine & Life with Jane Lopes, Sommelier, Author and Co-Founder of Legend Imports

CorkRules | Apr 19, 2023

Unless you are born into a vineyard, grow up in wine country, a career in wine is not a go-to profession for most graduates. But for some people, their love of wine and career path are intertwined. This is how it was for Jane Lopes, sommelier, co-founder of Legend Imports, and author of  Vignette: Stories of Life and Wine in 100 Bottles.

Jane graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English Language and Literature/Letters. Post-graduation, she worked in the hospitality industry, as so many students do before they find their path in life. It was as a server/bartender that Jane’s formal education in the wine industry began.  She worked at renowned restaurants including Eleven Madison Park in New York, The Violet Hour in Chicago, and The Catbird Seat in Nashville; her education at these establishments was intensive and hands-on, and by immersing herself in the world of wine, she fast-tracked her way towards accreditation as one of the world’s few Master Sommeliers.


In 2018, Jane was a candidate for the Master Sommelier, the most prestigious of accreditations in wine. To give you an idea of how difficult it is to achieve this standard, there are only 262 Master Sommeliers in the world, and candidates must pass four exams offered through the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMSA).


Although Jane passed the exam, one of only 34 women to pass it; unfortunately, for all candidates sitting the 2018 exam, their results were nullified due to a previous candidate sharing information about the wines selected for the tasting exam. It seems rather unfair; however, it didn’t stop Jane from pursuing her career in wine and proving her vast knowledge on the subject by publishing her book.

Vignette is a book for people who love wine without the pretension that often surrounds the wine industry. It is thoughtfully arranged and offers clarity on varietals, tasting notes, and a list of 100 bottles that represent wine regions from around the globe, and most importantly for the majority of wine lovers, Jane has added an appendix of affordable wines for the wine lover who wants a delicious bottle that meets the budget.

Jane’s book is both informative and highly entertaining read as it documents her life’s journey in wine, beginning with the earliest introduction to wine: a cheap, Californian chardonnay her parent’s drank.


Jane has recently completed a second book, How to Drink Australian, which will be published in September 2023. This book is inspired by the company she runs with her husband, Legend Australian Wine Imports, a socially-focused wine importer. Jane and her husband founded this company with the goal of bringing the best of Australian wines to the U.S.


Listen to Jane’s story on Episode 268 of CorkRules where she offers suggestions on wine and shares a little of her life’s journey in the industry.

About the Author

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