#30Under30PHL - Mariel Wega

Happy Thursday night everyone! Tonight's #30Under30PHL is a leading lady in the restaurant industry here in Philadelphia. You might recognize her as the Wine Director from a.kitchen+bar in Rittenhouse Square. Everyone, meet the amazing Mariel Wega (and make sure to say hello to her next time you get a bite to eat in Rittenhouse)!

1. How old are you? 29

2. What do you do? I'm passionate about "real wine." And what I mean by that is wine with character and distinctiveness, that tells a story and is of a place. As the Wine Director/sommelier for a.kitchen+bar, I select wines made by small, artisanal winemakers who work as naturally as possible: minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery and without undue dependence on manipulative technologies.

3. What neighborhood in Philly do you call home? West Philly

4. What is your favorite thing right now about Philly? The growing and improving wine scene!

5. What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far? I feel pretty lucky to have found a way to make a career with something I love.

6. If not yourself, who would you like to be? I've always thought it would be awesome to be a photojournalist for National Geographic and travel the world capturing amazing stories.

7. Your idea of happiness. A balanced life, which for me means creating time for work, fun, and the ones I love.

8. Guiltiest pleasure? Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia

9. Favorite inspirational quote? "I've learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

10. What do you appreciate the most in your friends? I can always depend on my friends for a good chat and bouncing ideas and feelings off of without judgement.

11. Favorite food in Philly? Hard to have just one favorite but I'm currently digging the hummus at Dizengoff

12. Favorite drink in Philly? Rotating sour beers at Tria Taproom

13. Favorite song right now? "Blue" by Beyonce

14. A book you plan on reading? The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

15. A book that powerfully impacted your life? Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

16. Name one historical figure you would like to have coffee with. Amelia Earhart--I've always wanted to learn to fly and her fearless independence is inspiring.

17. How do you like your coffee? Splash of milk and a little sugar

18. Your main fault. I get "h-angry." Luckily it's an easy fix--give me a snack and I'm back to my normal self.

19. What is your most prized material possession? Beyond basic needs, I can't think of any material possession I couldn't live without. I'd rather travel than have nice things.

20. Your biggest failure. I lived in Spain for a while but never reached the point of fluency in Spanish before I moved back to Philly. I wish I took better advantage of the resources and friends I had there and spoke more. I let my fear of saying something wrong hold me back.

21. What you learned from that failure? I try to be easier on myself and understand that mistakes are a part of learning, improving, and moving forward. If you never feel uncomfortable or challenged, you'll never overcome it and grow.

22. What is your greatest fear? Not living up to my full potential

23. Where will you be in 30 years? Teaching the next generation of wine pros.

24. Favorite thing to do on a Sunday? Doing the NY Times crossword with a cup of coffee on the porch with my girlfriend

25. Best date spot? A bike ride along the Schuykill River Trail to Wissahickon for a picnic

26. What does happiness mean to you? A good bottle of wine

27. Twitter or Instagram? Instagram

28. Describe Philly in a Tweet. #phillypride

29. Who should everyone follow on Instagram? @jr -- really awesome street artist

30. Pats or Genos? Pats

#30Under30PHL is a month-long series highlighting Philadelphia’s most ambitious women. Created in collaboration with Femme & Fortune and Alex Kacala.