Raise a Glass: Our Newest Wine Connoisseur

Meet the Somm

Get to know Emily Nevin-Giannini – wine aficionado, Champagne & potato chip supporter and new Director of Beverage for the Grille.


How did you get started in the world of wine?

I come from a wine loving family. I was taught young to appreciate a good burgundy and a proper Bastille Day celebration. There was this tiny French restaurant, called Voila, where I grew up in Fairfield where we had a steady table. I learned so much about how a classic Bistro can be so enjoyable and simple yet refined. It was there that I fell in love with hospitality, food and wine.


What sparks your interest about wine?

Everything! Wine is this crazy intersection between so many things that interest me; history, chemistry, geography, geology, economics, logistics, communication, hospitality, travel, teaching… There aren’t many professions out there that can dabble in so many different industries in one. I feel lucky to have found it.


Why do you think wine is important to learn about?

I think the biggest thing you can gain with wine knowledge is the understanding that not everyone has it…and that’s cool. For us in the restaurant industry, wine knowledge is one of the most important tools in our staffs’ utility belts for providing our guests with a wonderful experience. The more you know about wine and the wines on our lists, the better you will be at reading our guests and providing exactly what they are looking for, whether that is a glass of sangria or our most expensive bottle and everything in-between. This question makes me think of the Spiderman quote, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s an area of expertise that I think should be focused on educating others in an approachable way – not talking down to people about wine is super important to me.


What wines are you currently loving?

Sparkling, always. I think right now we drink more sparkling wines than red in our house.


Favorite varietal or region?

I feel like the more into wine you are the harder this question is to answer, but I’ll give you my top 5 regions with accompanying varietal:

  1. Burgundy – Pinot Noir has my heart.
  2. Piemonte – Nebbiolo – think sour cherry, dried herbs and flowers. It’s super complex and structured…cue swoon
  3. Sicily- Nerello Mascalese and Frappato. Really just “island” wines grown on volcanic soil in general (Canary Islands/ Listán Negro are a close second in this category).
  4. Galicia – Mencía opened my eyes to the incredible range that exists in Spanish reds.
  5. Savennières – Chenin Blanc please and thank you. The more honeyed and tertiary the better.

Tell us about an unusual food and wine pairing that you love.

Rich over the top champagne and potato chips – seriously, it’s awesome. And great because I don’t feel as bad about spending a ton of money on Champagne when dinner costs $3. It’s all about balance!


What do you love most about talking to people about wine?

The storytelling, being the voice for the people behind the wines. I love when I get the opportunity to express all the passion involved in the process to the people who get to enjoy the end product.


Hey readers, Emily here! I’m really excited I got the chance to introduce myself to you all – you’ll be seeing me drop in on the blog every now and then for some more wine wisdom. Cheers to you. -Emily