Best New Sommeliers
Erica O’Neal | Italienne, NYC
Meet Erica O’Neal, wine director of the soon-to-open Italienne in New York City. When she moved to Colorado in 2011, she looked up Bobby Stuckey, MS, co-owner of Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine, and got a foot in the door as a reservations host. Any free moments she invested in stocking the cellar and shadowing sommeliers, until a call came from Jeff Kellogg, wine director at Maialino in NYC. She worked with Kellogg as he grew his list from 350 to more than 850 selections, and ...Read more
Mariel Wega | a.kitchen + bar, Philadelphia
Introducing Mariel Wega, from Philadelphia’s a.kitchen + bar. Wega earned her wine chops at the Moore Brothers retail shop, just across the Jersey border. She absorbed the company’s focus on winemakers who work on a small scale, and she brought that ethos with her when she joined a.kitchen. She’s stocked the list with farmer juice from all over the globe, from Jura and Beaujolais to Sonoma and McLaren Vale, all at prices that are surprisingly friendly.
Rochester, New York, is where ...Read more
Wineries to Watch
Chase Sinzer of Momofuku Ko on Slashing Burgundy Prices, while Pushing Riesling and Champagne
So, you’ve slashed prices, but sales seem to be up…
Oh man, that’s the school I came from at USHG. It’s about getting people excited about wines because they can afford them. Think about the restaurant wine lists that you most want to drink from: It’s because they’re giving you great wines at great prices. You’ll come back a second and third time, and the restaurant sells more wine that way. It’s also a matter of having a cool boss who will let you work within those cost parameters. Once they realize that you don’t put percentages in the ...Read more
Joshua Thomas of SF’s Octavia on Budget Wines and Selling the Staff on Nebbiolo
A different ’hood
One thing I noticed, especially, is how significant the business expense account influence is. At Prospect [near the Embarcadero and Financial District], you needed a page of Napa cab because you’d have business guests from the Midwest on an expense account, and they’d want to go big. Here, you have that occasionally, but it’s more few and far between. Here you don’t have that expense account “I don’t care how much I spend tonight” guest as much.
The low end
Originally, they knew the list at Octavia was going to be bigger—it was ...Read more