Dr. James Kornacki
James Kornacki, PhD, is founder and CEO of Üllo LLC, a Chicago-based company that believes that wine is best enjoyed the way the winemaker intended–free from the sulphite preservatives used to keep it stable during shipping and storage. Üllo’s Wine Purifier is a first-of-its-kind product that gives consumers the option to remove sulfites, for a healthier, more natural way to enjoy wine.
Growing up with an aunt who was unable to drink wine due to a sensitivity to sulfites, James was inspired to learn more about the use of preservatives in winemaking. After learning an estimated three million Americans are sensitive to these chemicals, he made it his mission to solve the problem. In 2015 James invented the company’s patented Selective Sulfite Capture™ filter technology while completing his doctorate in chemistry at Northwestern University. This breakthrough process works by sequestering only sulfites, and allowing other compounds in wine to flow through unaffected.
James named the company to reflect his story as a chemist, with the “Ü” in Üllo derived from an historical alchemy symbol meaning “to purify,” and believes that pure living is as important today as ever.
Üllo recently received the ‘Good Design Award Gold’ from Australia’s Good Design Awards where the jury panel comprised of top design, engineering and architectural design experts cited it as a “game changer that solves a very real problem in an elegant, super functional and considered way.”
Üllo now serves over a quarter-million customer worldwide, and is expanding rapidly in all regions where wine is enjoyed. The product line can be found in more than 1,000 retail stores, and is carried by prominent retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Best Buy, Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, and Crate & Barrel.
While James splits his time between Chicago and Miami, he’s a Midwesterner at heart. Born in Pekin, Illinois, he grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan before arriving in Chicago for graduate school. In addition to a doctorate, he has an MS in chemistry from the University of Chicago, and a BS in biochemistry from the University of Michigan. James holds four patents, is the author of several scientific publications, and is a classically trained violinist who has played with several orchestras.