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Wine Enthusiast Announces 2014’s 40 Under 40


Wine Enthusiast announced today their 2014 40 Under 40 list, which highlights America’s tastemakers and leaders in beverage culture. One on the list is Mutineer Magazine’s founder Alan Kropf, who is now the Director of Education at Anchor Distilling Company.

This list appears to be very well thought out and includes many very passionate and game changing beverage personalities.

Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40

Alan Kropf, 31
Director of Education, Anchor Distilling, San Francisco

A jack of all trades, Alan Kropf is certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, Cicerone Program and National Bartenders School. He is also founder of Mutineer Magazine, and, last year, he joined Anchor Distilling Company.

Gordon Little, 32
Co-founder, Little Peacock Imports, New York City

After moving from Melbourne, Australia, to the U.S. in 2008, Little was dismayed at the dearth of wine selections from his homeland. He founded Little Peacock to not only import and distribute Australian wine in the U.S., but also to provide wine that Aussies actually drink, helping to ­reshape American perceptions of wine from Down Under.

Nicolas Mestre, 29
Founder, COO, Williams Corner Wine, Charlottesville, VA
Born and raised in France and a veteran of the restaurant business, Mestre seems to have been destined for his current role. Virginia-based Mestre founded Williams Corner Wine, a wine importer and wholesaler, at the age of 23. Since then, he has been integral in introducing little-known, well-made natural French wines to the U.S.

Lex Kiefhaber, 29
Wine Director, Smith & Wollensky, New York City

At only 29 years old, Kiefhaber, wine director at legendary New York City steakhouse Smith & Wollensky, is bringing a fresh approach to one of Manhattan’s most storied wine cellars. Kiefhaber, a Yale graduate, worked previously in a variety of restaurant roles—bartender, server, manager and writer—before taking on his current challenge.

DLynn Proctor, 34
Brand Ambassador, Treasury Wine Estates, Napa, CA

One of the men featured in the documentary SOMM, Proctor works as brand ambassador for Penfolds wines, helping to spread the gospel of high-quality Australian wine. He’s also actively involved in training and mentoring new generations of aspiring sommeliers.

Melanie Krause, 37
Winemaker, Cinder Wines, Boise, ID

In 2001, Krause began work as a vineyard technician at Stimson Lane in Woodinville, Washington, where she also started making some of her own “homemade” wine. After working at Chateau Ste. Michelle, she moved back to Boise and started her own winery consultant business, Krause Consulting, LLC, which is bringing much-needed expertise to this emerging wine region. Together with husband, Joe Schnerr, she now owns Cinder Wines, named after the layers of volcanic remnants found under the vineyards in Idaho.

Meg Gill, 28
Co-founder, Golden Road Brewery, Los Angeles

While attending Yale, Gill spent her time studying Latin, which she says, “is about putting pieces of the puzzle together, and the same thing is true of getting beer on the shelf.” Gill’s Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing—which produced 15,000 barrels last year—is one of the fastest-growing breweries in the U.S. Ever the go-getter, Gill expects to double that output in 2014, and expand distribution beyond Southern California.

Charles Joly, 38
Beverage Director, Aviary, Chicago

Joly started out as a bar back, but never dreamed he would make his career in the bar industry. Leading a crew of dedicated ice chefs, Joly runs Aviary’s bar more like a kitchen, snagging the James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program in 2013 and being named Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2014.

Michael Madrigale, 39
Wine Director Bar Boulud, Boulud Sud, Épicerie Boulud, New York City

Madrigale’s wine education began while waiting tables shortly after he moved to New York City. Now, as wine director for Bar Boulud, Boulud Sud and Épicerie Boulud, he manages a cellar of over 500 selections. He also launched New York City’s first “Big Bottles” program, which offers guests the opportunity to taste rare and large-format bottles by the glass. In 2012, Wine Enthusiast named him its Sommelier of the Year.

Joaquin Simó, 36
Co-proprietor, Pouring Ribbons, New York City

Simó got his first job as a bartender while studying English and religion in Boston. While working at the storied Death & Co. in New York City, Simó met Toby Maloney, Troy Sidle and Jason Cott, with whom he opened Pouring Ribbons. The East Village cocktail den has become famous for its “matrix menu,” which helps guests navigate obscure brands and ingredients by breaking down offerings into quadrants like “refreshing” or “spirituous,” rather than just listing ingredients.

Travis Hinkle, 29
Beverage Director, Treadsack Group, Houston, TX

Hinkle fell in love with wine while he worked his way through college at restaurants in Baltimore. In 2011, he moved to Houston and passed the Advanced Sommelier exam. Until a few months ago, Hinkle worked as the beverage director and wine buyer for Houston’s buzz-worthy Pass and Provisions, but he’s now wine director at growing restaurant group Treadsack.

Daniel Beedle, 26
Sommelier, Juni, New York City

Prior to taking the reins at Juni, Beedle worked at buzzy and wine-focused NYC establishments like The NoMad and Betony, where he was the wine director. Perceptive and talented, he’s the master of obscure but delicious pours, and known for his astute guiding of guests. Beedle plans to take the Master Sommelier exam this year.

Monica Samuels, 30
National Saké Sales Manager, Vine Connections, New York City
A saké expert and the national saké sales manager for Vine Connections, Samuels also has an incredible talent for pairing the spirit with food, particularly outside traditional Japanese settings. Samuels specializes in introducing saké to those unfamiliar with it, including developing saké programs for non-Japanese restaurants.

Kelby Russell, 26
Winemaker, Red Newt Cellars, Hector, NY

After graduating from Harvard, Russell interned at Fox Run Vineyards, where he supplemented his education with trips to wineries in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. Now at Red Newt Cellars in New York’s Finger Lakes, he’s one of the most talented winemakers in the region. Russell is a prominent member of the local wine community and a collaborator in the new Boundary Breaks label, as well as his own project, Kelby James Russell.

Douglas Derrick, 31
General Manager, Raven and Rose, Portland, OR

Derrick, also known as “The Negroni Guy,” is already arguably one of the most influential people in the U.S. when it comes to the Negroni cocktail. His “Negroni of the Month” program at Portland, Oregon’s Nostrana restaurant, combined with his annual Negroni Social, helped put the drink on the map.

Michael Stillman, 34
Co-owner, Fourth Wall Restaurants, New York City

Son of Smith & Wollensky founder Alan Stillman, Michael is the co-founder and president of Fourth Wall Restaurants, a New York-based restaurant group with six venues, including Smith & Wollensky. Stillman has played a key role in expanding the brands Fourth Wall manages while retaining their reputation for quality products and service.

Logan Lee, 31
Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer, Wine Awesomeness, Charleston, SC

Lee, co-founder—alongside three friends—of Wine Awesomeness, wants to make wine, well, more awesome. The Web site and social marketing company seeks to educate wine drinkers without pretension, while curating a monthly wine club. Partnering with folks like fashion photographer Ben Watts, Lee is making the wine industry accessible, where new wine drinkers can feel at ease.

Joe Shebl, 38
Director of Winemaking, Renwood Winery, Sierra Foothills, CA

An outing in wine country sparked Shebl’s interest in wine, leading him to snag a harvest position at Renwood. After a few years, he left to work in Sonoma County, but returned to Renwood in 2002 as winemaker. He left again in 2009, only to return in 2013 as director of winemaking. In this role, Shebl’s energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the region is creating a new wine culture in the Sierra Foothills.

Tegan Passalacqua, 36
Winemaker/Viticulturist, Turley Wine Cellars, Napa, CA

Passalacqua is shedding new light on California wines as the winemaker and viticulturist at Turley Wine Cellars in Napa. Almost always on the road, this ultimate multitasker oversees the winemaking and vineyard duties for 35 vineyards and 28 wines. A founding member of the Historical Vineyard Society, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of California’s historic vineyards, Passalacqua has also started his own wine label, Sandlands.

Dave Potter, 35
Partner, Municipal Winemakers, Santa Barbara, CA

Municipal Winemakers in Santa Barbara not only sells creative wines like sparkling Syrah and varietal Counoise, but it draws in a young, hip crowd by utilizing music, parties and pop-up dinners. Potter has become a leader in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone by maintaining a cool, surfer atmosphere while making exceptional wines accessible to a new generation of drinkers.

Carlton McCoy, 29
Wine Director, The Little Nell, Aspen, CO

Formerly of renowned New York City restaurants Per Se, Aquavit and Craft Steak, McCoy is wine director of The Little Nell hotel in Aspen, Colorado, and an alumnus of The Culinary Institute of America. McCoy is known for his ability to make all his customers feel at home, regardless of their level of wine expertise.

Travis Benoit, 37
Owner, CrowdBrewed, San Francisco and Denver

Last summer, Benoit co-founded CrowdBrewed, a crowdfunding Web site dedicated to craft brewers and related services. This beer-loving former Wall Street vet raised more than $125,000 for aspiring brewers by the end of 2013. By doing so, he’s started to change the game for the craft-brewing industry.

Charles Bieler, 38
Founder, Bieler Père et Fils, Charles & Charles, Gotham Project, Sombra Mezcal, Three Thieves, NY/WA

Bieler spent some of his formative years working at his family’s Château Routas, promoting rosé at a time when rosé was considered unsophisticated. Bieler brought that passion for rosé to America, founding Bieler Père et Fils with his father, as well as partnering in Charles & Charles, with Charles Smith. A tireless innovator and fervent promoter of affordability, his anti-snob approach can also be seen in his other projects: Gotham Project, Three Thieves and Sombra Mezcal.

Eric Clemons, 33
Owner, Coeur Wine Company, New York City

Clemons’s dream of owning his own business came true last year when, after nine years as a salesperson for Michael Skurnik Wines, he founded Coeur. A wholesaler specializing in small operations, Clemons works with wineries in California, New York and Oregon, as well as Italy, Spain and France. Possessing the skill and gumption to run a one-man operation, the wine world is taking notice.

Pat Fahey, 25
Educator, Master Cicerone, Cicerone Program, Chicago

At 25 years old, Fahey is the youngest person to achieve the title of Master Cicerone and just the seventh individual to ever earn it. Fahey earned the beer-guru certification through a series of exams, culminating with two days of intense written and oral questioning about beer styles, draft systems, beer evaluation, brewing technology and food pairings. He now works for the organization, proctoring exams and developing content.

August Sebastiani, 34
President, The Other Guys, Sonoma, CA

The fourth generation of one of the most recognized wine families in California, Sebastiani joined the business as manager of The Other Guys (TOG), a division of Don Sebastiani & Sons (until 2009, when it became its own entity), growing annual case production from 5,000 to 140,000 in three years. TOG, whose motto is “laid-back guys, stand-out wines,” is burnishing the family reputation for quality.

Whitney Adams, 33
Blogger/Podcaster/Sommelier, Los Angeles

Adams’s love of Italian wine inspired her award-winning blog, Brunellos Have More Fun, which is now whitneya.com, focusing on wine-and-food lifestyle. A former cohost on the popular wine podcast The Crush, Adams is now emphasizing Bottle Stock, her online shop for original, handmade wine accessories and gifts.

Nicole Austin, 29
Master Blender, Kings County Distillery, Brooklyn, NY

A former environmental engineer, Austin is now the master blender at New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery. A lifelong whiskey enthusiast, Austin joined co-founders Colin Spoelman and David Haskell at their Brooklyn-based distillery in 2010, the same year it began.

Jack McGarry, 25
Co-owner/Head Mixologist, Dead Rabbit, New York City

The youngest-ever recipient of the Cocktail International Bartender of the Year Award, McGarry is also co-owner and head mixologist at The Dead Rabbit, one of the hottest bars in New York City. In creating the bar’s 72-drink cocktail menu, McGarry tested thousands of recipes from the mid-19th century, tweaking them to appeal to the contemporary palate.

Doc Hendley, 35
Founder, Wine to Water, Boone, NC

A bartender from North Carolina, Doc Hendley has provided portable drinking water to thousands of people worldwide through his charity Wine to Water, since 2004. It uses all of its profits for a clean-water project. Determined to prove that bartenders can change the world, Hendley teamed up with Gaz Regan, a bartender from New York City who founded the “Just One Shift” program, which helps raise money for Wine to Water through tips donated by participating bartenders.

Brian McClintic, 38
Proprietor, Les Marchands, Santa Barbara, CA

McClintic is most recognized for his role in SOMM, which chronicled his journey in passing the Master Sommelier exam. He and business partner Eric Railsback have since opened Les Marchands, a wine shop and bar in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara. The wine selection is split between European and Santa Barbara producers, including their own label, but the emphasis is on making the enjoyment of wine casual yet informative.

Thomas Pastuszak, 29
Wine Director, The NoMad, New York City

Certified Sommelier and wine director of New York City’s lauded The NoMad, Pastuszak studied neurobiology and classical piano at Cornell and envisioned a career in medicine. While working off his student loans, he developed a passion for food and wine and made hospitality his calling. Charismatic and well educated, Pastuszak is one to watch as The NoMad expands its bar operation.

Nova Cadamatre, 31
Winemaker, Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, CA

A Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma graduate working toward her Master of Wine certification, Cadamatre is the red winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery. She was one of the first graduates of Cornell’s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006. After 3½ years with Treasury Wine Estates, she joined the Mondavi team in 2013, focusing on red Bordeaux varieties and Pinot Noir.

Jordan Kivelstadt, 31
Founder, Free Flow Wines, Napa, CA

Jordan Kivelstadt trained as an engineer and was a management consultant before he entered the wine industry in 2006. In 2009, with partner Dan Donahoe, he founded Free Flow Wines, a pioneer of premium wine on tap. Kivelstadt has not rested on his laurels, however. He’s made wine in four countries, founded his own brand, Kivelstadt Cellars, and manages his family’s organic vineyard.

Levi Dalton, 36
Blogger/Podcaster/Sommelier, I’ll Drink to That, New York City

While Dalton’s first career was as sommelier at some of Manhattan’s top restaurants (Daniel, Masa, Alto), he’s taken his wine expertise to social media with his hilarious and thought-provoking blog, So You Want to Be a Sommelier? He also has a popular podcast, I’ll Drink to That, where he conducts interviews with a variety of wine industry insiders.

Carlo Trinchero, 27 & Josh Phelps, 28
Owners, Taken Wine Co., Napa, CA

In 2010, Phelps and Trinchero, both from winemaking families (Swanson Vineyards and Trinchero Family Estates, respectively), created Taken Wine to introduce their friends and other young people to wine. Bought out by Trinchero Family Estates, and with branding help from Volume Inc. in San Francisco, Taken Wine has effectively appealed to the under-30 wine crowd, using social media as its main platform to interact with fellow millennials.

Brian Floyd, 37
Founder, Barman’s Fund, Austin, TX

Floyd’s not on our list just for his mixology talent at watering holes Qui and Drink.Well. in Austin, Texas. It’s his work building the Barman’s Fund that makes him stand out. The Fund—which has raised over $100,000 and has grown beyond Austin to New York City, New Orleans and Charlotte, North Carolina—organizes bartenders to pledge one shift each month for charitable organizations, ranging from homeless shelters to providers of camp scholarships.

Liz Bird, 27 & Tom Madrecki, 25
Co-owners, Vin de Chez, Washington, D.C.

Bird and Madrecki have D.C. wine drinkers energized with the serious list of French and natural wines they’re serving at their pop-up wine bar in the parking lot of Union Kitchen. Madrecki, a former apprentice at Le Chateaubriand in Paris and Noma in Copenhagen, comes from a restaurant background, while Bird runs the front of the house.


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