2012 James Beard Foundation Award Winner: Outstanding Wine Program
Wine Director Cat Silirie at the James Beard Foundation Awards
Wine Director Cat Silirie’s approach to the wine program revolves around three missions: to create symphonious pairings with the cuisine, to seek out the finest artisan wine producers, and to mentor and train the servers and management of No. 9 Park.
No. 9 Park’s wine list features old world varietals from France, Italy, Austria, and Germany; as well as a small but very interesting selection of American wines from artisan producers. The process of selecting these wines is very personal and the wines are a collection reflective of the direct experiences of Cat Silirie and her staff. In this way the wine list displays a distinct point of view, something very important to Cat, as is the premise that the wine list should be stylized in a way that is appealing and not in any way intimidating.
Integral to our vision is the choice to work primarily with vintners who are completely dedicated to producing wines of the finest quality that are made in limited quantities. It is a challenge in terms of continuity, yet there is excitement in a wine list that changes constantly, both for the staff and our guests.
The final component of our wine program, and perhaps the most important, is the staff training program. As No. 9 Park’s Wine Director, Cat’s largest challenge is also her most satisfying. It is her responsibility to train everyone who works in No. 9 Park’s dining room about wine. To do this, Cat and her staff meet nightly for one hour before service to taste wines, study wine laws and appellations, and discuss (and taste) wine and food pairings. Our motto has long been “10 sommeliers are better than one” and Cat’s strong feelings about the value of this are confirmed each evening. We have an amazing staff, all devoted to and relating to wine in their own distinctive way, yet all contributing to the greater whole of the food and wine culture of No. 9 Park.