Wesam Kawa, one of only four advanced sommeliers in Arizona, is planning to open a restaurant in Old Town early next year. (

Photo by Everardo Keeme, Photo Fusion Studio


As one of a handful of advanced sommeliers in the state of Arizona, Wesam Kawa does everything from the heart.

His success comes from learning as well as teaching and, staying true to himself has been the key to paving the way.

As part of the Arizona sommelier community, I had the pleasure of studying with Kawa for the Master Court of Sommelier levels 1 and 2 exams.

We would sit for hours every week for months on end, alongside our colleagues, tasting wine from all over the world and, discussing what was in the glass, what region it was from, and who made it.

The level of intensity during those study sessions felt unmatched to anything else most of us had ever done.

Kawa has since passed the Advanced Sommelier, Level 3 exam, has his own wine label, and is set to be the first advanced sommelier in Arizona to open his own restaurant.

Kawa has always favored pinot noir as a wine grape variety, so much so that he believes he could build a wine list on it alone. Hence, the first part of his project was inspired at Pinot Camp in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in 2018.

There, Kawa and the members of the team at Northwest wines together, created a wine label called Du Couer, which means ‘from the heart,’

“The marker of great wine is after your initial taste; put a stopwatch on to see how long it lingers,” said Kawa.

Additionally, he is particular about the packaging of fine wine and has carefully chosen specific artwork for the labels that each tell a story.

His wine is now available in some of the Valley’s high-end restaurants – including Arizona’s only AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Five Star Award-winning restaurant Kai in the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass as well as Café Monarch, Virtu Honest Craft, The Wrigley Mansion, Francine and Atlas Wines.

Kawa most recently worked at Café Monarch as floor sommelier emphasizes how the relationships formed while working there have his dream a reality.

His new restaurant, Du Couer, will be opening in early 2023. The cuisine will be inspired by Mediterranean ingredients refined through French techniques.

Du Couer will be located on 1st Avenue in Old Town Scottsdale, across from Arcadia Farms. The design is almost complete, the 1,200-square foot space is under construction and will ultimately have 110 seats inside and 60 on the patio.

The patio is home to the oldest African Sumac trees in the state. Kawa describes it as the feeling of being transported from one place to anywhere in the world you’d like to be. If there were a pie chart to measure the percentage of greatness for a restaurant, envisions the patio’s ambiance having a large piece.

 Kawa is also proud of the staff he is assembling.

 “I have the avengers, I have G.O.A.T.s {referring to The Greatest of All Time} coming to work on my team,” said Kawa, adding their goal will be creating a memorable dining experience.

 “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I’m coming with a vengeance and fire inside me to make one of the best restaurants Arizona has ever seen,” said Kawa.

Darla S. Hoffmann, a Certified Sommelier Level 2), is a wine journalist and owner of “About Wine & Travel.” Information: aboutwineinaz.com

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