Wine Director John Ragan of Union Square Hospitality Group - Biography

New York, NY

September 2017

A trip to California wine country convinced wine lover John Ragan that he could actually love wine for a living. A then-graduate student in urban planning, Ragan relocated to Napa, where he worked at both The Restaurant at Domaine Chandon and the Martini House as a sommelier.

A dinner with Chef Daniel Humm at Campton Place convinced Ragan to relocate yet again, this time to San Francisco to work with the chef himself. Humm and Ragan made such an excellent pair—both 2005 StarChefs Napa-Sonoma Rising Stars—that Ragan relocated across the country to continue their work together. In 2006, Ragan took over as wine director of Eleven Madison Park, cementing his pairing philosophy. Accolades were aplenty during his five-year tenure: the 2008 James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Wine Service,” Best Sommelier in the World from the International Academy of Gastronomy (2009), and the Wine Spectator Grand Award for his wine list.

Trailing his successes, Ragan joined Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group as wine director in 2011. Since solidifying his wine authority as a master sommelier, his position has also risen to director of wine and restaurant operations, where he works with each of USHG’s restaurants to implement exceptional and distinctive wine programs.