Esteban Brunello, Owner/Wine Director
Buenos Aires native Esteban Brunello brings more than 27 years of restaurant experience to Brunello Wine Bar. His career began in San Francisco where he started out as a busser and worked his way up the restaurant ranks as a food runner, server, bartender, manager, sommelier, and wine director. Esteban has been fortunate to work for several prominent wine-focused restaurants in the Bay Area including: SPQR, Oliveto, Farina, and The Barrel Room. In 2013, he received a “Rising Star Sommelier Award” from the New York-based culinary magazine StarChefs. Esteban has trained with the International Sommelier Guild and holds the title “Italian Wine Specialist” through the North American Sommelier Association and the Associazione Italiana Sommelier. Esteban and his family moved to Durham in 2015 and immediately felt at home in the Bull City. With a love of pork products, barbeque, rambling conversations, and laidback living, North Carolina and Argentina are a bit of kindred souls. Esteban is excited to bring a diverse wine program to Brunello Wine Bar, which highlights old world wines as well as lesser-known regions and varietals. That said, he is a no-fuss kind of wine guy who believes that, above all else, wine drinking is about having fun and being with friends. His true passion is guiding guests to find new and unexpected wines that they love to drink.
Was born and raised in the community of Mineola, Long Island, a village densely populated with individuals of Portuguese descent. Of Portuguese and Brazilian heritage himself, Sergio was impacted by the cultural richness his upbringing offered. Leaving behind the music industry for a career in wine, Sergio brings a depth of knowledge that began to develop with his appreciation for the many Long Island vineyards. After relocating to North Carolina, he officially transitioned his passion for wine into a career, teaching wine classes and holding tastings for the community, through his work at local wine shops, most recently Brunello Wine Bar. This brought him in contact with importers, distributors, and NC vineyards, which continued to edify him about both international and local wines. Sergio and Esteban, along with the team at plēb urban winery, are eager to introduce the product of their first venture together – a unique wine that they hope is only the first of many collaborative efforts. Looking ahead, Sergio is working to become a certified specialist of Portuguese wines and dreams of becoming an importer who brings the taste of the fine wines of Portugal to our community.