A love for people and passion for spirits has served as the driving force behind Derrick C. Westbrook’s journey into the wine industry. The Chicago-based sommelier has led a successful career in wine over the last 10 years, with numerous accomplishments and accolades along the way. Before turning 30, Westbrook became the Cellar Manager of Alinea Group’s NEXT restaurant, and the Beverage Director of the Michelin-starred, Elizabeth Restaurant in Chicago. In 2018, he was recognized for his professional contributions by Wine Enthusiast magazine, landing him a spot on their coveted 40 Under 40 list.
Today, Westbrook owns and operates Derrick C. Westbrook LLC, a company which hosts wine tastings and dinners, and develops beverage programs for some of Chicago’s top restaurants and wine shops. Within each program, Westbrook uses traditional and experiential learning to guide newcomers through the wine discovery process. Through his signature Samples & Samples event series, Derrick pairs select pours with music to create an educational and fun experience. Derrick has brought this special event to connoisseurs across the US, with multiple sold out shows in Chicago and Atlanta, and additional tastings in New York and Nashville.
Westbrook has traveled around the globe to share his wine expertise, including France, Spain, and Portugal. He has also been featured in numerous digital and print publications including Eater, Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. Additionally, Westbrook has made television appearances on ABC 7’s Heart & Soul, WGN’s Midday News, and NBC 4’s Today in Nashville.
When he’s not somewhere sampling wine, Westbrook coaches the Near West Side Little League Champions, The Greys in Chicago.