Growing up on the coast of Maine, Ryan Mills-Knapp worked in restaurants during summers in high school and college during the busy tourist season. Through these summer jobs, he became passionate about food and wine, which eventually led him to his current position as beverage director of Colicchio & Sons. In 2004, after spending the summer in Maine working in restaurants, he moved to New York City to pursue his interest in the wine and spirits industry. His first job in Manhattan was as a server at Amuse, an American restaurant in Chelsea, where he helped the wine director assemble the wine list. The restaurant also hosted American Sommelier Association classes in the space, so he was able to further his knowledge of wine. He moved on to become the beverage director at chef Waldy Malouf’s Beacon Restaurant where he curated the wine selection, and was put in charge of the liquor and beer programs. At Beacon, he began his real wine education, learning about producers, vintages and styles. In 2006, he was hired as beverage manager at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Spice Market and oversaw the cocktail, beer and wine lists, before joining Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group as head sommelier at Corton and Tribecca Grill. Throughout his years in the restaurant industry, he met members of the Craft restaurant family. These relationships led him to join the team at Colicchio & Sons as beverage director in 2012. At the restaurant, he aspires to create a diverse and approachable wine list with selections at every price point that will appeal to both aficionados and novice wine drinkers alike. His interest in aged wines is reflected on the list as well. Mills-Knapp has traveled to more than 20 wine regions exploring the diversity of wine growing around the world. Recent trips have included Tokaji in Hungary, Greek Macedonia and Southern Styria in Austria. This program has been sponsored by Heritage Foods USA.
“When you’re young and you’re really excited about something, you feel like you need to educate everybody about it.” [11:00]
—Ryan Mills-Knapp on In The Drink