This is the first installment of Five Questions, where I ask industry folks five questions. Enjoy!
Five Questions with David Giuliano
Which producer or area do you believe in that most people in the industry disagree with you on?
The North Fork of Long Island. Though admittedly, the region shows great variation of quality from producer to producer, vintage to vintage, I truly love supporting our local wine region. It’s such a pleasure to watch the region and the producers grow in both quality and notoriety. I think Cabernet Franc is the star of the region and producers like Shinn Estates, Onabay and Bedell make delicious and age-worthy expressions. We are lucky to have a vibrant wine region nearby and I feel it is important for us to explore and support it.
What is the difference between a Sommelier and a Wine Director?
The wine director sets the tone and direction for the program. They lay out the landscape of the list with all its diversity, with both its gems and its challenges. Wine directors create the harmony and counterpoint for the restaurant’s cuisine in tandem with the chef. They also set the tone for educating the wine selling team, passing down the stories of people, places, and techniques that brought each wine to the list. They make sure the programs are profitable, adaptable and always contributing to the success of the restaurant.
The sommelier is the ambassador that guides the guest through the many terrains of the list. They translate its meanings, explain its nuances, excite and challenge, warn and advise. The somm is a performer that can entertain, inspire and greatly add to the guest experience and overall hospitality of the restaurant. These people can be, and often are, one in the same.
If you could only ask one question of another Beverage Director, what would it be?
For the beverage directors out there with several restaurants, how do you educate your staff? What are your most effective techniques for educating so many different people at various knowledge levels about constantly evolving lists?
“ Must we all take ourselves so seriously?
Which trend or trends do you wish would go away?
Must we all take ourselves so seriously?
Ultimately, wine is a beverage meant to be enjoyed. While it can certainly be lofty and cerebral at times, it has humble origins. It was meant to spark conviviality.
What do you want people to know about your beverage programs?
Every wine on each of our lists is there because it tells part of a story that I believe in. Wine should be an expression of a culture and a place, and of the integrity of the people who make it. We taste a different wine every day in our restaurants so that my staff can hear those stories and share them with you.
Note: all answers above are posted without cuts or edits of any kind.