MEET MIKE & SONYA
Sonya Villegas-Kelsen grew up in the restaurant business working under her father, chef/owner of a number of restaurants in Pto. Vallarta, Mexico. She made her way to California to follow her passion for wine. In her early OC career she managed restaurants and beverage programs and became a certified sommelier. Since then Sonya has had the honor of managing distribution, sales, and marketing for a number of wineries (Turnbull Wine Cellars, Alpha Omega Winery, Quintessa, Monteverro etc.) state wide and on a national level.
Sonya is blessed enough to bring her years of experience under one roof with her husband Mike. In late 2014 they opened Colony Wine Merchant where they welcome guests as they were welcoming them into their home.
Mike grew up in a household of musicians. His father was a jazz pianist and mother, a talented vocalists who spent 30 years teaching music and choir in Orange County schools. Knowing that music would be his career, Mike would spend his days working in restaurants and nights playing all over Southern California. In 2003 he started his own entertainment company (Say When Entertainment) and has never looked back.
Mike, a talented guitarist and vocalist is still very busy playing and booking gigs but now his years in the restaurant business are being put to use. He and his wife Sonya own Colony Wine Merchant. Mike runs the ever growing beer program as well as performs for guests, which have effortlessly become friends.
RHEMA VILLEGAS KELSEN
Rhema has been cooking since she was a toddler and her mother knew she would end up in the kitchen at some point in her career. Out of high school Rhema wanted to be a cheese monger and did it! She then moved to Napa and worked for a winery in the vineyard, office, lab and of course making cheese platters for the tasting room. A longing for a faster paced lifestyle moved her to San Francisco to work for an innovative restaurant group.
Rhema now works for her parents full time and runs the kitchen. What she brought back home was the desire to cook and enjoy food as she did up north. Small plates to be shared with friends, fresh local ingredients to celebrate the season, and simple presentations to showcase the wine. Her new menu is inspired by those very things. You might catch Rhema at the local farmers market checking out what is in season as she has a knack for coming up with new menu items based on her daily finds.
Mike and Sonya are very proud of their daughter and are delighted to enjoy her food as it reminds them of their favorite trips to wine country.