Ken Fredrickson, Master Sommelier
Founder – TENZING Wine and Spirits
An active member of the International Court of Master Sommeliers, Ken Fredrickson is the Founder of Tenzing Wine and Spirits, an artisan importer and wholesaler in Chicago, Illinois.
Following critical acclaim for his wine programs while working with world-renowned chefs Charlie Trotter (Charlie Trotter's – Chicago) and Wolfgang Puck (Spago, Chinois), Fredrickson attained the rank of Master Sommelier in 2000.
A serial entrepreneur, Fredrickson recently led an investment group to acquire the Santa Barbara-based Brewer-Clifton Winery, with a vision to enhance the winery through sales, marketing, and operations. This 100% Estate winery had 65 acres under vine growing only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Concentrating on the mechanics needed to accelerate the business, Fredrickson spent 29 months implementing strategies that culminated in the successful sale of the winery to Jackson Family Wines in May 2017.
Fredrickson is a founding partner in Tokiwa Imports, which specializes in the import and distribution of Japanese Whisky and is the exclusive North American agent for several family-owned Japanese whisky producers. Fredrickson is also a partner in Laika Spirits, concentrating on Mexico’s indigenous spirits, and is currently building a palenque in Santiago Matatlan, Mexico. A third venture, Family Tradition Cognac, imports family-owned, artisanal Cognac producers.
Earlier in his career, Fredrickson conceived and opened acclaimed restaurants Koshu and Restaurant Terroir in Jackson, Wyoming and Adega Restaurant and Wine Bar in Denver. In 2002, Esquire magazine named Adega to the list of “Best New Restaurants” in the United States.
Fredrickson’s adventurous spirit and passion for food and drink have led to extensive international travel. His willingness to try anything has taken him from competitive Ironman triathlons to desert off-road adventures and track motorcycle racing. Completing his first full distance Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky in August 2013, Fredrickson earned an invitation to compete in Kona, Hawaii at the World Championships. That same year, Ken was the largest individual Ironman Foundation fundraiser worldwide surpassing $50,000 in donations.
Sharing his adventures, Fredrickson has been a host lecturer for Taste of Vail and has served as a featured speaker at the Texas Sommelier Conference, Jackson Hole Wine Auction, Telluride Wine Festival, Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival, and the American Distillers Institute Conference. Most recently, he hosted the Caribbean Food and Wine Festival in Turks and Caicos.
Ken focuses his charitable efforts in two areas which resonate strongly with him: Advanced research into bipolar and mood-related illness through the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and Pilot Light Chicago, which promotes nutritional advancements in the Chicago Public Schools through education.