Levi Dalton Sits Down with Daniel Johnnes

A chat with NYC's proto-modern sommelier


New York City is a particularly sommelier-rich city, and if you were to trace the lineage of the modern sommelier, you would find one common ancestor: Daniel Johnnes. While still a young man with some two decades and change in the business, Daniel has had a profound impact on what we drink, how we drink it and who we take advice from. He is quite simply the proto-modern sommelier, and Levi Dalton recently caught up with him in a fast-paced and enlightening interview!

Since 2005, Daniel Johnnes has been the wine director for Daniel Boulud’s WINEX group. With a full range of restaurants under his watchful eye, Johnnes is in the enviable position of buying wine for all restaurant comers, from those who want something to pair with a DBGB Burger at the bar to those seeking the ultimate in wine pairing and refinement.

Get to know more of Daniel Johnnes story by reading:

 Daniel Johnnes: Proto-Sommelier


On Hiring Sommeliers

As one of the great sommeliers of our time, and having hired so many others, it is interesting to hear what Daniel Johnnes looks for when hiring for his wine program. If you want to be the next great sommelier, you need to hear this. If you don’t, well just enjoy as Daniel relates the story of his wine epiphany.

On the Role of Sommelier

One of the traits of a great sommelier is taking risks. Not buying a wine because it will be hard to sell is both the antithesis of what a sommelier does and has the making for a very boring list and short career. Find out what Daniel sees as the role of the sommelier.

On Burgundy Getting Better

Burgundy has gotten better and better over time, or has it? Find out what Daniel thinks and let him tell you whether Burgundy remains the minefield of yore.

Photo courtesy Isbardel via Flickr/CC

On Burgundy Pricing

Along with the increase in quality Burgundy has experienced, there has been an increase in popularity and of course price. Daniel discusses this phenomenon with Levi and answers to people who say Burgundy is expensive.

Daniel on Other Wines that Excite Him

People who love Burgundy tend to love wines that are aromatic, and teasingly so. Levi and Daniel share a few tips on what other wines approach the satisfaction that Burgundy delivers. The answers smell delicious!


Photo courtesy ablegrape via Flickr/CC

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  • Snooth User: rosebrien
    79281 34

    Levi Dalton's body language is extremely annoying.He keeps covering his mouth with his hand, and that slouching style seems to indicate condescension...very unprofessional.

    Feb 27, 2012 at 9:33 AM


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