The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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Page 24 of 124

24  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2018 F or Austin sommelier Paula Rester Salinas, one simple sentence— "Teach me everything"— defines not only her life philosophy, but her professional career. A native of the Dallas area, Rester Salinas made her way as a young adult to Austin, where she studied acting and waited tables as she eventually found work in films and theater productions. "Restaurants were always a reflection of the things I loved best about the theater," she says. "You're working as a team toward a performance every night—you're in the trenches with a common goal." Rester Salinas soon developed a resume that included leadership roles in northern Texas, Austin, and New York at venues like the Four Seasons Hotel, Uchi, Vino Vino, Second Bar + Kitchen, and hospitality trailblazer Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. "Every time there was an opportunity to learn, I would try to say yes," Rester Salinas says. During her time at Uchi, she met Austin wine collector Diane Dixon, who was the first person to tell her about the Court of Master Sommeliers. "She introduced me to Master Sommelier Devon Broglie, who was at that time an Advanced Sommelier, and she prevailed upon him to have coffee with this young person who wanted to ask him all these questions," Rester Salinas recalls. "He was kind enough to meet with me and tell me about the path of study—and thus began my career in beverage." Rester Salinas eventually joined the team at Austin's La Corsha Hospitality Group, serving as Wine Director under Beverage Director Jason Stevens for multiple properties across central Texas. Of her role leading wine education for La Corsha's statewide staff of more than 140 people, Rester Salinas says her first priority was to "create the best tools and vocabulary for our service staff as [she] could," as well as "to build a culture of education and curiosity." Last month, Rester Salinas accepted a specialist position in the Platinum Fine Wine Division of Republic National Distributing Company—a move she sees as a natural progression, given La Corsha will now be one of her clients. "In my new role, I'll assist the sales team in highlighting wines that require more education, work with suppliers to make sure their inventories are con- sistent, and help the next generation of young sommeliers and independent retailers build their programs," she says. "I know I'm about to learn tremendously." Freelance writer and agave lover Lori Moffatt covered Texas travel topics for more than two decades at Texas Highways, the state's award-winning monthly travel magazine. When she's not writing about cocktails, wine, art, and pop culture from her home in Austin, she's traveling, making art, and practicing Spanish. A Natural Progression AUSTIN SOMMELIER PAULA RESTER SALINAS PERSONIFIES THE MAGIC AND MYSTERY OF WINE story and photo by Lori Moffatt In her new role as a specialist in Republic National Distributing Company's Platinum Fine Wine Division, Austin sommelier Paula Rester Salinas will support the sales staff in highlighting wines that require additional care and education.

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