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WOMEN IN WINE & SPIRITS The A-Listers H Belinda Chang, The Modern ired at age 34 to run the wine program at argu- ably the hottest property in town, Belinda Chang wasn’t too fazed. She’d already built an impres- sive dossier at leading restaurants—Charlie Trotter’s and Cenitare in Chicago, and Fifth Floor in San Francisco, where she was nominated for a James Beard award for excellence in wine service. So when The Modern, Danny Meyer’s much-acclaimed bistro at The Modern Museum of Art, called, she was ready and waiting. But Chang is the fi rst to tell you her life in restaurants wasn’t always at the top. She started in the kitchen and worked her way from back of the house to front. But a mini-skirted hostess job wasn’t her thing. “When I told then I wanted to be a captain, it shocked them. I was young, female, Asian and totally wanted to learn about wine. It was outside their culture,” Chang recalls. Her perseverance brought her through places with deep pock- ets and deep cellars. When she came to The Modern in 2007, she inherited a mas- culine wine list—strong in the classics and expense- account wines. Chang reorganized the progression of wines, eliminated some of the verticals and expanded the regions. Her 1,800-selection list has about 200 selections from Alsace, refl ecting the kitchen of Alsatian chef Gabriel Kreuther. Chang has actively recruited women for her staff and encourages those wanting to progress their careers. She conducts a weekly class, and is transparent about the business, something, she says, “important for women who have a fear of numbers. If you’re contributing to your restau- rant, it’s about more than just opening bottles.” 100 / the tasting panel / december 2010 OUR FINAL NEW YORK REPORT ON WOMEN IN WINE FEATURES TWO YOUNG WOMEN WHO ARE BREAKING GROUND, IF NOT THE GLASS CEILING IN THEIR PROFESSION story and photos by Lana Bortolot

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