Pechanga Welcomes New Sommelier, Mixologist to Beverage Division

TEMECULA, CA – Pechanga Resort Casino has welcomed enterprise sommelier Zachary Abeyta, and mixologist Nicholas Dukes to their beverage division. Each join with more than 15 years in their respective fields.

Abeyta now leads Pechanga Resort Casino’s wine program, working to bring Great Oak Steakhouse’s award-winning wine list to new heights. He is a seasoned sommelier who has held the role of sommelier and Director of Wines at prestigious restaurants throughout Los Angeles. As a server at a classic Italian eatery, Abeyta found himself learning more about the beverage industry and developing a passion for it, especially for Italian wines. He continued learning and worked his way up to becoming a sommelier, which led him to opening his own restaurant. Among the many responsibilities of being a restauranteur, he took the lead of setting up the wine list and continued to act as the sommelier for his restaurant’s guests. After several years as a sommelier, Abeyta took his expertise to serve as Director of Wines at notable restaurants throughout Los Angeles and at fine dining establishments on Catalina Island.

Dukes has created the Great Oak Steakhouse’s craft cocktail menu filled with 15 inventive libations. He looks forward to branding other beverage offerings with signature Pechanga highlights. Eager to show his passion for hospitality, customer service and building relationships, he looks forward to sharing his expertise with Pechanga Resort Casino team members and cultivating the next crop of bartenders, beverage managers and potentially sommeliers and mixologists.

Dukes is a trained expert in craft beer, wine, and spirits. From beginnings as a bartender, he worked his way up into gastropubs just as the craft beer boom of the 2000’s began taking shape. While bartending, Dukes became fascinated with the origins of beverages and how they helped shape civilizations. His curiosity for all things beverage continued to allow him to leap frog into roles with more responsibility where a greater knowledge base of wines, beers and liquors were necessary. He worked as a bar manager for several years when he was asked to join another Southern California casino’s food and beverage department.