By Jim Clarke
Julee Resendez spent
her childhood summers helping out in her grandparents’
vineyards, where she learned about grapes before even thinking
about wine. Years later, the early experience of caring
for the vines lead Julee to the finished product: wine.
She may have taken the long way round, but those summers
in the vineyards have stayed with her.
Her route back to the
grapes wound through college journalism and into the hospitality
industry. The wine bug began to grab hold during her time
in New York at the Blue Ribbon Bakery and Bouley
Bakery. After 9/11 Julee moved to Atlanta, where she
received her first public mention for her wine skills in
an Atlanta-Journal Constitution review of the restaurant
Commune, part of the Matthew Kenney group.
New York kept calling
her back, and she eventually returned to hone her skills
further at Café Boulud. She later opened
davidburke & donatella as General Manager,
this time earning mention from the New York Times in a two-star
review. Her fine-dining skills were evident to all, but
it wasn’t until she joined Jimmy Bradleys’ The
Harrison that she was finally able to hone in on, and
show off, her passion for wine. Aquavit noticed,
and when they moved to their new location in 2005, they
chose Julee to re-design their wine program. She also created
the wine program at Colors, a restaurant started
by former employees of Windows of the World. She recently
left there to fly solo, and currently consults for a variety
of restaurants and organizes private tastings and classes.
On the side,
Julee is working on a book on wine and its history. She
is a founding member of the Vino Vixens, a tasting group
with a mission to develop a nurturing environment for female
sommeliers, and a balance between work, wine, and life.