Great Wine Mentors – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Great Wine Mentors

Who do sommeliers look to for advice?


In 2003, Wine & Spirits launched the first Best New Sommelier poll, highlighting rising stars in the wine community. Among the winners: Christie Dufault, then the beverage director curating a 1,600-selection list at Gary Danko, in San Francisco. When asked what it means to be a good sommelier, Dufault responded, “It’s really all about service. You need to be genuine and dedicated,” adding “the wine knowledge will come; we have the opportunity in this job to taste a lot and to learn from all those before us.”

This year, we invited more than 3,000 restaurant wine buyers across the country to call out the mentors who had had a significant impact on shaping their careers. When we compiled all the ballots, five names rose to the top—including Dufault, voted in as a mentor by the latest generation of talent. Now a wine educator at the Culinary Institute of America, Dufault is joined by Master Sommeliers Larry Stone, Roger Dagorn, Bobby Stuckey and Madeline Triffon.

Here, we’ve chronicled their careers in wine, sharing recollections of their own mentors as well as the stories that inspired sommeliers to nominate them.

Meet today’s Great Sommelier Mentors.


Christie Dufault

Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena, CA


Bobby Stuckey

Frasca Hospitality Group, Boulder, CO


Roger Dagorn

The River Café, Brooklyn, NY


Larry Stone

Lingua Franca, Salem, OR


Madeline Triffon

Plum Market, Detroit, MI


This story appears in the print issue of October 2021.
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