Augusto Ferrarese, Corporate Beverage Director at Urban Kitchen Group (five locations in SoCal) talks about his explorative wine selection approach
How did your passion for wines become your job?
Working as a wine director for a big hospitality group surely is a challenging mission. What you love the most of your job and what you like the least?
What’s the philosophy that leads your wine list choices?
How hard is it to find a compromise between what customers usually order (the usual!) and your willingness to have them try something new, something different?
How often do you change the wine lists in Cucina Urbana restaurants?
Talking about Italian wines. From your point of view, have small-scale producers the chance to succeed on the Californian market, especially in restaurants and wine bars?
Given your experience in this business, can you suggest a couple of wine trends for this 2018?
“Be The Vessel”, is Augusto motto when it comes to his job: we, in the wine industry, should keep this in mind: we are on a mission on behalf of the many wine producers in the world who put their passion and invest their whole life to give us the perfect bottle, the one who represents the most their land, their grapes, their tradition.
About Augusto Ferrarese:
Augusto Ferrarese was born in the historic city of Verona, Italy in 1982. A gastronome from the start, he spent his summers making wine under his grandfather’s supervision on their family farm and his weekends honing classic Italian cooking preparations at a neighborhood pizzeria. Upon graduating high school and attending law school, he quickly had a change of heart and realized his true passion for hospitality, food and beverage. This discovery kick-started an impressive career as a restaurateur at the young age of 22, as he took on a crucial role in the opening of I Masenini, one of Vernona’s most famed restaurants and soon after received his sommelier certification.
At age 26, Augusto’s expertise was requested for the opening of a new seafood-forward cucina, Pescheria I Masenini (Verona, Italy). Jumping at this opportunity, he had the chance to build an impressive wine list with over 500 labels, while the restaurant quickly became acclaimed and was recognized by premier culinary guides such as Gambero Rosso, Espresso, and Michelin. During Verona’s “Vinitaly,” the world’s largest fair for Italian wine, Augusto was able to shake hands with culinary icons such as Michael Mondavi and Chef Paul Bartolotta when they dined at his establishment.
In 2013, Augusto and his wife sold their share of Pescheria I Masenini and re-located half way around the world to find a home in San Diego. Augusto’s first and only job in Southern California has been with the highly-acclaimed Urban Kitchen Group, where he has climbed the ranks and was most recently promoted to Corporate Beverage Director for CUCINA urbana, CUCINA enoteca Del Mar, CUCINA enoteca Irvine, CUCINA enoteca Newport Beach, and cucina SORELLA. Augusto prides himself on providing guests with an approachable yet extensive, high-quality wine list at an affordable price.