Allison Crupton's wine selection process for The Florence is guided by one simple mantra: what grows together goes together.
"I'm an Italian-only wine list because we're an Italian restaurant," she explains.
Allison is The Florence's general manager and wine director and has been with the restaurant since its opening last year. Selecting wines is trickier than it seems to non-restauranteurs; picking the prettiest label or what your friend had at their house will not suffice, especially at an Italian restaurant.
"I do need to find a little something for everyone, whether it be a buttery chardonnay or a big oaky cabernet," Allison explains. "But Italy does everything, makes everything."
In Italy, wine is meant to complement food. Of course, wine can be enjoyed solo, but its purpose is to bring out the flavors of the food and create an overall experience.
To ensure an authentic Italian experience, Allison meets with the Florence waitstaff before every shift to discuss perfect wine pairings for the day's entrees.
The backstory of each wine is also important.
"I look for houses or wineries that are family owned and operated. I prefer organic or biodynamic sustainable farming methods," Allison says.
"I do my research, I look into them. It's good to know who it was imported by. I want to support the farmers who are doing something good.
"Good sustainable methods create a good wine."—Rachael Flora
Runner-up: The Grey