Sommelier Greg Harrington of B.R. Guest Inc. - Biography
New York, NY 10012
In 1996 Greg Harrington became, at the age of 26, the youngest American to pass the Master Sommelier exam. His background at that point had included stints in both the front and back of the house at several restaurants on the East Coast, followed by study at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, from which he graduated in 1992. His first gig after graduating was developing and opening his family-owned place, Harrington’s Steak House, in Las Vegas. It was only later that he decided to concentrate on wine and moved to San Francisco to work at Joyce Goldstein’s restaurant Square One.
Eventually Greg rose to the position of Wine Director for Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans and Las Vegas restaurants. It was while working for Emeril that he completed his meteoric rise through the Court of Master Sommelier’s program and earned the initials “MS” which now follow his name. He later moved on to the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group in Las Vegas. In addition to the Las Vegas restaurants he oversaw the programs of several Spago locations and was a key partner in several new openings with the company. While in Las Vegas he also spent time with Southern Wine and Spirits developing a new business segment and assisting them in fine wine procurement.
Since 2001 Greg has been a Partner and the Director of Corporate Beverage for the New York-based B.R. Guest Restaurants. He was instrumental in developing and opening a number of their restaurants as well as their first hotel, the James, in Scottsdale, AZ. The wine lists he assembled for their restaurants Blue Fin and Fiamma have been among New York’s most impressive. He has also developed an extensive training program for the company which has graduated over 1,000 students since 2001.
Wine education and training has been an ongoing interest of Greg’s. In addition to his work at B.R. Guest he is a regular guest lecturer for the American Sommelier Association and the Cornell Hotel School. He is also regularly quoted by major magazines and newspapers and has been featured on television and radio – you may have seen him giving wine advice on an episode of the hit show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Each and every one of the wine programs under his direction has won a Wine Spectator Award.
Greg’s wine knowledge is huge, but it is how he applies it that gives him a special touch. He has a great talent for creating well-rounded and balanced wine and beverage programs, tailored to each property, and his insightful analogies, sense of humor, and way of cutting to the chase – bringing out the special qualities of a wine in question – make him an important figure in today’s wine and restaurant world.