Super Early Bird Ends
December 10, 2020
April 23, 2021
2021 Judging Date
May 16, 2021
In the lively and creative U.S. wine industry, top sommeliers are also at the forefront of significant new trends. This is particularly true in the social media era, where many of the nation's top sommeliers are now involved on social media sites such as Instagram, where they can help promote and draw attention to other more interesting wines that they add to restaurant wine lists or curate for their online wine projects.
It will surprise you to know that many of the nation's top sommeliers have more than just a background in wine-in some instances, they are classically trained musicians or philosophers, in others, they are a former medical school or engineering students who have unexpectedly chosen to pursue a career in the wine industry. Here's a closer look at the best sommeliers in the United States to watch out for.
Food & Wine magazine called Patrick Cappiello "Sommelier of the Year" in 2014. He has been a regular on the New York City wine scene for nearly 25 years and has been covered in the New York Times, the Food & Wine magazine and the New York Post. He is currently Director of Wine at Scampi Restaurant, Walnut Street Cafe and Renegade Wine Dinner. Previously, he was acclaimed for building fantastic wine cellars at Gilt, Tribeca Grill, Veritas and Pearl & Ash. Notably, he was a Food & Wine host for Playboy magazine and also collaborated on a series of viral wine videos for publication. He's known as a champion of great and well-priced wines for quick, casual dining.
Cauble is most famous for being featured in the 2011 wine documentary "Somm." He is currently the head of SommSelect, an ambitious new wine club that focuses on rare bottles and vintages, all offered as part of a monthly subscription package.
Michael Engelmann, in 2009 won the title of Best Sommelier in America. Since then, he has been Wine Director at The Modern NYC, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Midtown Manhattan located within the Museum of Modern Art. Michael Engelmann is a native of Alsace who has served in the wine industry in San Francisco alongside Gary Danko and Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney He is perhaps better known for being a promoter of Australian wines beyond Shiraz, helping to introduce new Australian brands to the attention of U.S. wine lovers with the help of Wine Australia.
Pascaline Lepeltier has been Wine Director at Rouge Tomate in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City for ten years. During that time, she traveled widely to France and became a pioneer of the natural wine movement. She is now a genuine believer in the importance of organic, biodynamic wines. At Rouge Tomate, for example, 85 percent of wines on the wine list are organic and biodynamic. She is also a contributor to Alice Feiring's book The Dirty Guide to Wine, which discusses the role of terroir in producing great wines.
Laura Maniec rose to stardom in the wine industry as the youngest female sommelier in the world. She is now the owner of Corkbuzz Wine Bars, which has four locations in New York City and North Carolina. Corkbuzz is renowned for its wine courses, wine dinners and special occasions dedicated to the world of wine.
Thomas Patuszak is currently the Wine Director of The Nomad Restaurant in New York City. He is considered to be a wine champion in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. In 2012, Wine & Spirits Magazine received the award of "Best New Sommelier." Patuszak besides his professional carrier as a Sommelier, is also a classically trained pianist and credits his early musical experience with helping him see the connection between the worlds of art and science.
Jeff Porter has been identified as one of the essential buyers of Italian wine in the United States. He is currently the Wine Director for several restaurants in Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich, including Babbo and Del Posto. In that position, he became a champion of rare, expensive glass wines, thanks in particular to his embrace of the Coravin wine conservation system. He holds a degree in nutritional biochemistry and is currently studying to become a medical doctor before entering the wine industry. His favorite Italian wines are Piedmont and Tuscany.
In 2016, Arvid Rosengren won the title of "World's Best Sommelier." While he was born and raised in Sweden, Rosengren is now the Director of Wine at Charlie Bird Restaurant in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. Rosengren's rise to the top of the world's sommelier ranks started in 2009 when he won the title of "Best Sommelier of Sweden." In addition to his work as Wine Owner, Rosengren also operates King Street Sommelier, which offers cellar management services and wine production services. Interestingly, Rosengren originally researched nanotechnology research, not wine. However, during a short pause from his studies, Rosengren explored the world of wine by working in a retail wine store.