Selecting the wines that are sure to dot your holiday table this year is Jhonel Faelnar, the wine director of Atomix, a Korean tasting menu restaurant in New York with two Michelin stars. A Manila native, Jhonel moved to Japan as part of a retail management training program, in pursuit of a career in fashion and retail. But his time in Japan sparked a love of food and travel, prompting him to move to New York City in 2013 to become a sommelier.
After graduating from the International Culinary Center’s sommelier program in 2014, Jhonel worked on wine programs at the NoMad as well as for New York hospital group One Five. At Atomix, Jhonel creates wine pairings for chef Junghyun Park’s iconic tasting menu. His work at Atomix has earned him recognition as one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40 Tastemakers” in 2020 and one of Wine & Spirits’ “Best New Sommeliers” in 2018.