Sommelier – Amy Racine | Sons & Daughters, San Francisco

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There are sommeliers, and then there are well-educated wine geeks. There’s a big difference, and it’s clear at table: While both know wine inside and out, the sommelier is a hospitality professional, at the ready to guide you to your next great bottle.

To find tomorrow’s stars—the sommeliers who excel at hospitality and in their wine knowledge—we asked the toughest critics, their peers. And then we interviewed the people who garnered the most votes, to find out how they’ve gotten where they are so quickly.Budding sommeliers, take notes. Diners, book your tables. Here are the six Best New Sommeliers of 2014.


Interviewed by Erik Tennyson

Growing up in an Italian-American family that took wine and food seriously, Amy Racine always knew she wanted to work in the food world. “From the second grade I knew I wanted to be a chef,” she says. As soon as she graduated high school, Racine left Ohio for Hyde Park, New York, to attend the Culinary Institute of America.

She stayed on course to be a chef until she began the wine class portion of the cooking program, taught by longtime teachers Michael Weiss and Steven Kolpan. “It opened up a whole new realm of the culinary world for me,” she says. “Until then I used to think people just drank wine because it was fun; I didn’t understand how [wine] could be understood on a much deeper level, and how much it could bring to a dish.” For her, the realization was monumental. “It was scary; I’d put all my heart into becoming a chef, and then I took these awesome classes and saw that they were even more interesting to me than culinary class.”

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