Master Sommelier Brian Cronin began his wine career in Raleigh, North Carolina. After studying biology in college, Brian realized that he wanted to make wine. However, it was his exposure in restaurants to wines from all over the world and his growing passion for wine that made him want to learn everything that he possibly could. Brian then went to work as sommelier in some of the top restaurants in the country. In Chicago he worked for Charlie Trotter as the assistant sommelier, under Master Sommelier Joe Spellman, and then worked his way up to head Sommelier. Since then, he has worked as an Educator for Southern Wine & Spirits in Hawaii, Wine Director for St. Regis, as well as the Sommelier at Gary Danko Restaurant, The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, in San Francisco, as well as National Education for Jackson Family Wines. Brian is a very active member with the Court of Master Sommeliers, examining and teaching at all levels, and has served as an elected member of their Board of Directors.
How did you get into the wine industry?
I was working in a restaurant in Raleigh, NC and I used to watch the GM taste with different sales reps. I remember them saying that syrah was peppery and full of blueberry fruit. One day a few months later I got slid a glass of wine and I thought it smelled like pepper, so I asked if it was Syrah - and it was!!!! From then I wanted to know everything I could about wine.
Why did you pursue wine industry credentials?
I left college to get deeper into wine, but I wanted to be on a path, regardless of credential, that would help be the best I could.
If you were not in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
Who is the most interesting guest you have served?
It is a tie between Julia Child and Geddy Lee (My inner sommelier and inner rockstar fighting)
What is your most memorable wine and food pairing?
’85 Rinaldi Barolo Brunate and Alba Truffles with Fonduta
What do you like most about teaching?
Doing all I can to keep information exciting and fun. Wine should be fun.
What is your favorite wine region to visit?
The Loire Valley
What is your favorite class to teach?
Sake and Spirits
What's your most memorable wine experience?
1811 Chateau d’Yquem
Why did you decide to become an instructor?
Being an instructor gives me much of the same joy of being on the floor of a restaurant. I get to see joy on peoples faces.
What other passions beside wine do you have?
I play guitar and I love photography.
“Service not Servitude.” – Charlie Trotter. These are words that resonate with me to this day. They describe the act of truly wanting to take care of people – on all levels.