CHEF JAMES SUMPTER
James was born in Ann Arbor and grew up on a horse farm, which helped instill strong work ethic at a very young age. James looked up to his grandparents for direction in life. As a child, he discovered his passion for food, while making homemade biscuits and tweaking cookie recipes with his grandmother at the age of eight. He is a self-taught chef-driven by the endless possibilities to learn.
Although food is his passion, leadership is very important to James. His degree in Business Administration with a focus on Leadership. Always striving to have balance in the restaurant, setting high standards and inspiring. He promotes a culture of inclusion, growth, professionalism, and respect. Pride in the food is maintained through a connection to the sources and treating them with respect. All while working with dishes focused on local produce and products.
James has 20 plus years in the industry with much experience about wine and food pairings. Diverse Chef experience includes a fine steakhouse, sushi, private clubs, French, and the Mediterranean. The turning point in his career was creating a farm to table restaurant, in Michigan. This allowed him to discover the important connection between buying the freshest meat and produce, locally. After this, he played a pivotal role in designing and opening a fine Italian restaurant. Then he was the Executive Chef at Dusty’s in Okemos before coming to Vinology
As he samples wine he is thoughtful to create a connection to food. There are no rules with ingredients. He loves the food industry because it allows him to experiment, be adventurous, and make new discoveries. In his free time, James enjoys experimenting by creating beer, cider, miso, and vinegar; always looking for the next palate-pleasing inspirations. He has extensive cocktail knowledge; making his own cherries, bitters, and vermouth. He enjoys making anything with his hands. He builds, refurbishes and designs furniture. Being creative, productive and learning are essential for his happiness. Growth is vital to its existence.
James is excited to bring you a new menu; determined to entice, surprise, and entertain.
General Manager, Owner
Vincent Jonna was approached to take over Vinology by his father in 2009 right after the 2008 recession. When he was offered a chance to run a restaurant and move to Ann Arbor he jumped at the opportunity. He comes from a family of Entrepreneurs and this was his time to embrace his family legacy.
Graduating from Western Michigan University with a bachelors in business administration he obtaining a masters in accounting from the University of Michigan Dearborn. Vincent became a CPA around 2016. He worked 5 years in public accounting with the international company KPMG and Michigan based accounting firm Clayton & Mckervey. His focus was in auditing and financial statement presentation.
Now with two kids Enzo and Izzy Vincent considers Ann Arbor to be his home. He enjoys being outdoors, gardening, tennis, chess and the theatre.
Vincent values having talented staff who can maintain the core philosophy of wine-friendly, seasonal and world cuisine. Vincent also works hard to maintain loyal, quality staff who genuinely care about the guests.
He hopes to expand Vinology with catering. As a connoisseur of wine and food Vincent hopes to elevate the quality of dining in Ann Arbor. He wants to be a part of the destination location in Ann Arbor for people from all over the world.
Events Manager, Floor Manager
Alix grew up Goodrich, Michigan, and then went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from Northwood University focusing in Hospitality Management where she first discovered her passion for the industry. She went on to receive her MBA from DeVos Graduate School in 2012.
After a year as Event Coordinator for the Golden Glow Ball Room in Saginaw, Michigan, she joined us here at Vinology in 2017. A great communicator, helping to create memories by connecting with her clients through building relationships and working through the grand puzzle that is event planning. Alix designs events for both social and corporate clients including weddings, showers, holiday events, retirement celebrations, business dinners, and small conferences.
You can find Alix in spare time, cuddling with her two kitties and enjoying her passion for the craft beer scene.
Ian is thrilled to bring his knowledge and expertise to Vinology. Born in Ann Arbor, grew up in the Irish Hills area, and studied at the University of Michigan, he is happy to be back home.
He began his hospitality career in Ann Arbor during his time at the University of Michigan. Ian worked at Vinology for a period before moving to Aspen Colorado, where he studied and grew his craft. Ian has spent extensive time in Europe studying wines and winemakers, he is a liquor specialist, has his Sommelier degree, and is published in Aspen Magazine and Liquor.com.
In his spare time enjoys studying Food and Beverage, snowboarding, hiking, water-sports, travel, rowing, soccer, reading, and karaoke. He loves listening to all types of music and has quite the extensive library in both reading and music.
TERRY T. COOMBE
Head Server, Wine Expert
Terry grew up in the restaurant business with his mother working nights behind the bar and cleaning restaurants during the day Terry spent his early years in tow as his mothers assistant and at 15 got his first job in his first fine-dining kitchen. He spent years in Florida after High School as a corporate bar and kitchen staff trainer for a national chain of casual restaurants before moving to Michigan to attend the University of Michigan where he met his wife Ekaterina.
After graduating from Michigan with his degree in International Relations he worked as a manager for a number of high-end concepts before going to Zingerman’s Roadhouse. After 8 years and numerous awards Terry decided to start his own online retail business and for the first few years were very successful. However, Terry did not feel it was enough to support the long-awaited addition to his family, Despina. He decided to support his growing family by returning to the service industry as a Beverage Consultant before being recruited by Vinny to join the Vinology team.
Besides spending as much time as he can with his beautiful girls at home, Terry is an avid Rugby fan, enjoys traveling, cooking, and is close to finishing his first fantasy novel. His passion for creating an amazing experience for every guest is what drives him daily. We have the best job in the world. We get to create memories for our guests that last a lifetime. No matter the occasion you can be assured that Terry and the other servers at Vinology will make it memorable.
Kristin is one of the leading wine and restaurant entrepreneurs in Metropolitan Detroit. She worked alongside her father in there in the gourmet and wine food business, Merchant of Vino, for most of her teenage and early college years. It is there that she gained her passion and enthusiasm for wine and creative cuisine. After graduating from Michigan State University, Kristin moved to Sonoma Valley to spend a year working at Benziger Winery. Working closely with the winemaker and the winery’s hospitality team, she toured California, tasting thousands of wines and assisting in the winemaking process.
In 1994 Kristin returned to Michigan to help run the family business, Merchants Fine Wine, one of the largest wine purveyors in the Midwest (founded originally by the Jonna family as Merchant of Vino). In April 2005, she opened her restaurant venture, Vinotecca, a unique wine bar and retail store that both educates customers and celebrates the art of food and wine pairing. Her second wine bar and full-service restaurant, Vinology, opened in Ann Arbor on April 2006. Vinology continues to lead the Ann Arbor wine market with a strong following of regular diners and has become a favorite destination for small weddings, personal and corporate events.
In 2014, Kristin and her team opened, The Bird and The Bread, a European comfort food inspired concept in downtown Birmingham, MI. This restaurant broadened its beverage focus beyond a generous selection of unique wines to include a selection of over 100 beers, craft cocktails, and dozens of specialty spirits.
Kristin has also become a respected speaker on food and wine, both for private and corporate tastings. Her down-to-earth, entertaining style has helped to demystify the often intimidating subject of wine tasting and education. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine by the Society of Wine Educators. She has served as a board member on the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, Associated Food Dealers, Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, and founded one of metro Detroit’s largest wine enthusiast group, the Detroit Wine Organization. She also participates in fundraising for numerous charitable organizations throughout the region.
John began his climb to professional renown over 30 years ago, in 1970, as one of the founding partners of The Merchant of Vino. While building a seven-store chain that was to become Metro Detroit’s forerunner in gourmet food and wine, he unleashed his passion for specialty foods, cheeses, wine, beer and spirits that elevated the stores and himself to a recognized world-class status.
Over the years, as his knowledge, experience and diversity have grown his passion has never wavered. He constantly travels the world to discover new products and ideas to introduce to his loyal customers at home. In 1994 he founded Merchant’s Fine Wine, a company that has again garnered respect as one of the state’s leaders in education on foods, wine and specialty items of all kinds. He is a member of the Detroit Wine Society and frequently provides educational seminars at private institutions across the state. He has also served on the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council Board.
In 2007, John Jonna sold the Merchant’s Fine Wine chain to pursue a wine bar concept created by himself and his daughter. Together, they have opened two locations in metro Detroit, Vinotecca Wine Bar and Vinology Wine Bar and Restaurant.
John Jonna is the consummate speaker, combining knowledge and humor in a manner which has put him in a tremendous demand for both corporate and private tastings, as well as a host for wine tours and food classes around the world. Providing education in an entertaining format, he has successfully gained respect in the wine industry as an entrepreneur and leader in wine sales and education.