Like many a liberal arts major before her, Diana fell into wine by default. After graduating from the University of California Berkeley with a Literature degree, and being unilaterally bonged from the PhD programs to which she applied, Diana culled her fine dining and bartending experience and took a job buying wine for Whole Foods, Palo Alto. It was then her lucky stars aligned and she was able to talk her way onto the Wine.com (nee Virtual Vineyards) wine buying team, which at that time consisted of two Master Sommeliers and a Master of Wine. To this day she counts these fellas as her greatest wine mentors, bon vivants and living testaments to that great Hemingway line: “…we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary.”
Since returning to her native Chicago, Diana has helmed programs for the likes of Japonais, Le Colonial, Le Passage, and Fox & Obel; facilitated programs for the Wine Discount Center; and peddled wine for Vin Divino. As a consultant she’s built the opening wine program for several Chicagoland and Bay Area retailers; and her restaurant wine lists have won multiple Awards of Excellence from The Wine Spectator. As an educator she’s taught a seven-week wine course at The University of Chicago, and for the last nine years served as the Wine Director and Educator for The Chopping Block Cooking Schools, where she still teaches the six week series she originated, The Wine Academy at The Chopping Block.
Diana holds the Advanced Certificate with the London-based Wine & Spirits Education and Trust, which is the educational arm of the Masters of Wine. She is currently half way through its Diploma Program, which is the last rung on the educational ladder before being invited to sit for the Master of Wine exam, which she intends to attempt (in her copious free time). Diana lives in Evanston with her husband and three little guys: two human, one canine.
Sunday: Noon-6 PM
Tuesday-Thursday: Noon-8 PM
Fri: Noon-9 PM
Sat: 11 AM-9 PM
Our wine bar is OPEN! We now serve wine, beer, and cider by the glass, in addition to cheese and charcuterie plates.
Fridays 5-7 PM
Saturdays 4-6 PM
“Diana is someone who knows wine and knows how to use it, without offending you or your senses. She’s clever as a Cabernet, hilarious as a homemade white Zinfandel, and effervescent as a bottle of bubbly. Diana will make you a lifelong friend of wine and will become a great friend at the same time.”
“Looking for someone incredibly wine-savvy who is also articulate, charming, witty and entertaining? Need a wine professional who is the antithesis of the “insufferable wine snob?” You’ve found her! I worked with Diana for two years, and after 30 years in the business I can assure you there isn’t a more thoroughly engaging wine expert to be found.”
“Diana Hamann has the two most important talents required of a wine educator: A thorough understanding of wine and food and a wonderfully wry sense of humor, which she uses to add levity to the often mysterious subject of wine. As if that weren’t enough, she can explain the United States arcane 3-tier wine distribution system while playing the Star Spangled Banner on kazoo.”
“Diana has considerable knowledge, an experienced palate, and a delightful wit—a rare combination much needed in the world of wine. She’s also a superb presenter and can connect with people at any level of wine expertise.”
“Diana Hamann makes wine tastings fun again—which is exactly what they should be and so often are not. Her discussions are down to earth, educational, light and lively. Plus, she’s real good people.”
“To the Wine Goddess—thank you for teaching us to appreciate the ‘scent of wine!’ Your presentation was extremely informative and entertaining, and the charming summer whites you introduced to us matched your charming personality.”