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Jen Bingham

Cru 8: Ryan Rugg

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Ryan has a thumb in every bottle: he’s made hundreds of wines over the years for customers at a custom crush facility. But he’s also worked on estate wines from Texas to Australia to Sonoma. Not enough for you? How about the time he spent in a Berkeley wine shop? Now Ryan brings all this experience to selling wine wholesale. It’s rare to meet anyone in the wine business with so much experience in production, retail, and wholesale. Join us as we explore wine from a broader view.


Featured Wine: Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso

Featured Restaurant: Brick & Mortar
539 Central Ave., Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 822-6540

Cru 7: Jacqueline Smith, Assistant Wine Director of Cru Cellars

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In 2014, when she was 21 years old, Jackie dove into the wine game in a big way. In just a few years she was already Assistant Wine Director of the (ahem) best wine bar in Tampa Bay, and had established herself as one of the experts of the natural wine scene in the area.

Fresh off her successful mastery of the Level 3 WSET, Jackie sits down with us to talk about the value (or lack thereof) in wine certification courses. With the programs offered by the International Sommelier Guild, Court of Master Sommeliers, Society of Wine Educators, and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, what is an aspiring Somm to choose? And what about the person who just wants to get deep into wine, without turning it into a career? (Answer: Cru U)

Featured wine: Dm. Diochon Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais 2016

Featured Restaurants: Bodega
1120 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, Florida 33705
(727) 623-0942

Intermezzo Coffee and Cocktails

1111 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33705
(727) 342-0156


Cru 6: Brooke Palmer Kuhl, Director of Bern’s Winefest and Kira Jefferson, COO of Bern’s Steak House

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And you thought the Golden Ticket for the Wonka Factory was hard to get. As oenophiles wrestle in the streets for tickets to this year’s Bern’s Wine Fest (just a few short days away), Jen snagged Brooke Palmer Kuhl, Director of Bern’s Wine Fest, and Kira Jefferson, COO of Bern’s Steak House, for a fun chat about hospitality, excellence, and the world-famous tasting overload.

Brooke Palmer Kuhl is Director of Public Relations and Director of Bern’s Winefest. She’s also the Founder and President of r.s.b.p. Events +PR, where she manages public relations and events for celebrities, politicians, and prominent restaurants. All this after earning a degree in Molecular Biology and while finishing a Master’s in Environmental Science.

Kira Jefferson is Chief Operations Officer of Bern’s Steak House (and self-professed Cheese Nerd). Raised in her family’s Mexican restaurant, Kira served her way through college before becoming General Manager of the Big City Tavern in Ybor. From there she became Assistant Manager at Bern’s Steak House before transitioning to SideBern’s, where she became General Manager. Kira was also the Project and General Manager of the team that opened SideBern’s replacement: Haven. Today, as Bern’s COO, she manages the daily operations and policies.

Tune in to hear how the James Beard Award winning team (and guardians of the largest private wine collection in the world) throws a party.

Featured Wine: Ridge Estate “Monte Bello Vineyard”, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Featured Restaurant: Bern’s Steak House
1208 S. Howard Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 251-2421

Cru 5: Noel Cruz, Owner of Ichicoro Ramen, Ichicoro Imoto, and Ichicoro Ane

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Just what is “Tampa Ramen”? And why was it first discovered in NYC (and now available in Alabama)? Noel takes us through the start of his Ichicoro empire, and how he introduced ramen to the Tampa Bay area. Thank goodness he did it right. After opening Ichicoro Ramen in Seminole Heights in 2015, new locations have been popping up like cloud-ear mushrooms. Is there more to come? And what’s his secret to maintaining excellence even as he grows and experiments?

Featured Wine: Allípallá 2016

Featured Restaurant: Acapulco Mexican Grocery and Taqueria
(813) 873-3665
1001 N MacDill Ave., Tampa, FL 33607

Cru 4: Julian Mayor, Beverage Director at LOCALE Market and FARMTABLE Cucina

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LOCALE Market and FARMTABLE Cucina
179 2nd Ave N., St. Petersburg, FL 33701

The world-famous Michael Mina Group took St. Petersburg by storm when they opened LOCALE and FARMTABLE Cucina downtown. Despite it being a success from the beginning, the group never stopped trying to make it even better. Their efforts have refined the concept and given it a narrower focus, and Julian Mayor can share what it took to oversee the subtle transition. Join us as he explains his own transition from DC power-player to Somm tastemaker.

Featured Wine: Donkey and Goat “Fenaughty Syrah”

Featured Restaurant: Viva Napoli
4301 El Prado Blvd., Tampa, FL 33629
(813) 443-8500

Cru 3: Ty Rodriguez, Co-Owner of Rooster & the Till

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Our guest is Ty Rodriguez, Co-Owner of Rooster & the Till. www.roosterandthetill.com What do you ask the man with the hottest restaurant in town? He and Chef Ferrell Alvarez Ty have grabbed the national food spotlight with their perfectly executed restaurant. Everything from the food to the plating, the service to the wine, is sharpened to a fine edge.

After leaving a job as the General Manager of a NYC institution to come to Tampa, Ty joined the team at another institution: Mise en Place. That’s where he met Chef Ferrell, and the two of them immediately formed a powerful and enduring relationship that saw them through years of work and the development of a new institution: Rooster & the Till. But hold on to your huitlacoche, something new is in the works! Find out all about their new project in this episode.
Featured Wine: Aubry Premier Cru Brut Champagne

Featured Restaurant: Hotel Bar
200 N. Tampa St., Suite G-100, Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 533-2650

Cru 2: Zach Groseclose, Wine Director of Cru Cellars

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Zach Groseclose

Zach Groseclose is the accomplished Wine Director at Cru Cellars. www.crucellarstampa.com From a somm in NYC to the cutthroat world of internet wine sales in Florida, Zach has done it all. Check out his take on Natural Wine (is it just a fad?), his philosophy on designing a wine list, and how he likes his pizza (hint: with wine).

Featured Wine: Meyer-Fonné Pinot Noir Reserve 2015
(Also mentioned: Aubry Premier Cru Brut Champagne, 2008 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Riserva, and Dm. des Deux Ânes)

Featured Restaurant: Fabrica
142 S. Meridian Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 605-0764

Cru 1: Jennifer Bingham, Owner of Cru Cellars

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jennnifer bingham

Welcome to the first episode of “At the Wine Bar with Cru Cellars”! Featuring Jennifer and Torrey Bingham, Owners of Cru Cellars: the Best Wine Bar in Tampa Bay. (www.crucellarstampa.com)  Jennifer is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and holds an Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In this mini-sode, Jen gives a preview to the excellent info you can expect from this podcast (covering great wine, the wine biz, and restaurants in Tampa Bay), all while she’s tasting through a pop-quiz blind tasting.