Sommeliers/Wine Experts

Food and Wine Festival, San Diego Bay, Maurice DiMarinoMaurice

Wine Director
Island Prime

Maurice DiMarino has seen just about everything in his 28 years in the service industry. From his early days as a host for a local San Diego Mexican Restaurant to his current position as wine and beverage director for 19 restaurants within the Cohn Restaurant Group, the journey has been a varied and exciting one. However, it was not until he moved to San Francisco in early 1994 that he became passionate about the industry. While in San Francisco he had the opportunity to open several landmark restaurants, including Lou’s Pier 47, Foreign Cinema, Alma and Chez Spencer. During this time, Maurice was able to work closely with sommeliers and renowned chefs. It was their mentorship and extensive experience that fostered Maurice’s passion for epicurean pursuits. Beyond anything else though, it was travel that inspired the love for wine and viticulture that guides Maurice to this day. More than a home, San Francisco became a hub for Maurice to travel. His free spirit took him to Europe, Canada, Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Australia. It was in these travels that Maurice discovered the varied and sometimes sacred place that wine holds in so many cultures around the world.

It was love and family that eventually brought Maurice back to San Diego where he returned to a budding restaurant industry. When he was offered the chance to act as Wine Director for Chef Deborah Scott’s new restaurant, Island Prime, he jumped. Maurice saw this position as an opportunity to bring his extensive experience with wine, travel and culture into a wine program unique to the San Diego area. Maurice is now oversees wine, beer and spirits for the 19 restaurants. By the end of 2016 there will be 4 more restaurants added. Maurice shares his love of teaching through extensive training and seminars with the managers, employees and guests of the Cohn Restaurant Group. He is an instructor at San Diego State University where he teaches the California Wine Intensive and Sensory Evaluation courses in the Business of Wine Program. His goal is to bring attention to San Diego and show the world that San Diego should be recognized among the top cities for food and wine.

Maurice is a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers who loves beer. He is a certified cicerone®. He writes for the San Diego Union Tribune in a quarterly column about wine. He is a columnist for a local magazine, Escondido Magazine. But what he must enjoys writing is his whimsical wine blog, Today he runs a wine club through the Cohn Restaurant Group called “Prime Cru” with over 8,000 members. Through the club he offers special deals on wine, consumer classes and tastings. He believes wine should be fun and enjoyed by all. Maurice strives to make wine more accessible and understandable and hopes to continue to help grow the wine, beer and spirit industry in San Diego.