Virginia Philip, MS


Wine Director, The Breakers Palm Beach


As the eleventh woman in the world to earn the prestigious certification of Master Sommelier, Virginia Philip is a supreme talent in the wine industry and a pioneer among women in the profession.

Residing as Wine Director at The Breakers Palm Beach (Palm Beach, FL), one of America’s most iconic luxury resorts, Philip is responsible for the continuous elevation of the 140-acre property’s award-winning wine program and cocktail culture. She shares her passion and knowledge of wine, along with acute tasting skills and pairing expertise, while leading a talented team of eight sommeliers, including protégé and fellow Master Sommelier, Juan Gomez.

Since joining the company in 2000, Philip has been the force behind The Breakers’ retention of two esteemed accolades: Wine Spectator’s – Grand Award (HMF – since award’s inception in 1981) and the Best of Award of Excellence (Flagler Steakhouse – since 2014). She has expanded the resort’s impressive wine collection to more than 55,000 bottles throughout 10 distinctive restaurants, banquet operations and in-room dining – a showcase of over 2,200 wines from 17 countries that range in price from $50 to $22,000 per bottle. Her curated lists are perfectly tailored to each of the hotel’s culinary concepts.

In addition to her role at The Breakers, Philip added entrepreneur to her career profile in 2017 with the debut of the Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy in Palm Beach, FL. Her namesake retail boutique features over 1,000 personal wine selections, an extensive collection of spirits, weekly education programs, as well as guest appearances from national and international winemakers.

Throughout her 22-year tenure at the resort, Philip has built a tremendous reputation as an expert while earning many of the industry’s most respected distinctions: the extraordinary accreditation of Master Sommelier, the highest certification of international proficiency for which she was one of 29 women among 236 Master Sommeliers worldwide in 2002; “Best Sommelier in America” (2002) from the American Sommelier Association; and the eminent James Beard Foundation’s nomination for “Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional” (2012). She received her “Honorary Doctorate Degree of Oenology” in 2015 from her alma mater, Johnson & Wales University (Providence, RI); and was named 1 of 50 of the most influential women in today’s wine & spirits industry by WINWSA (Women in Wine & Spirits Association) in 2020.

Prior to joining The Breakers, Philip was employed as wine buyer/sommelier for A&S Holdings, a major wine retailer based in San Antonio, TX, and she held hospitality management positions at several high-profile resorts and restaurants in the U.S., including The Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, CO.