We asked, and top sommeliers around the country answered with the names of the most talented newcomers to the restaurant scene. They singled out six sommeliers who are making a strong impression after fewer than four years as lead wine buyers.
What does it take to get a vote from the toughest of critics? Enthusiasm, tenacity, grace and professionalism, to start. Couple that with juggling other projects, long hours on the floor, the inevitable grunt work and furthering their own knowledge and educating others. Let us introduce you to our Best New Sommeliers of 2017.
Jason Huerta was set on being a coffee ambassador. He hoped to use his degree from Texas Christian University to help coffee bean growers receive fair prices, and to build the culture of fine coffee in the United States. Then “Hawaii changed my way of thinking,” he says. He spent a summer there during college then returned after his senior year, bartending at Pizzetta in Kauai. “I realized I was born for hospitality,” he says. When he returned to Texas in 2006, he landed a job at Pappas Bros., where he joined the wine team in 2007, and it was a wine at a tasting a month later that set him on the path toward hardcore sommelier-dom.
— Christopher McFall, June’s All Day, Elizabeth Street Café and Perla’s, Austin
This sommelier was featured in W&S October 2017.
photo by Jessica Attie