Rising Star Sommelier Ania Zawieja - Biography

November 2011

Ania Zawieja did not set out to become a sommelier. Born in Poland, the daughter of an Olympic sailing coach, she had a nomadic youth, moving from Poland to Mallorca, Spain, to Miami. Despite all the moving and traveling, she hadn’t decided what she was going to do when she went to Philadelphia to attend Temple University. But the fates had something in mind for her.

Taking a bartender position at one of Philadelphia’s premier wine restaurants, Ristorante Panorama, was the first step in the direction of her career and her passion. Panorama’s extensive wine program, which included 150 wines by the glass and 27 flight selections, exposed her to the world of wine (literally!), and she’s never turned back. Zawieja traveled to Miami to design the 200-selection list of Soco Restaurant and then become director of wines at The Ritz-Carlton, Miami. Her next move was to New York, where she immediately became a part of the city’s top wine programs. Zawieja began at Café Gray as sommelier then moved to The Modern, where, as assistant director of wines, she managed 1,200 selections. She next became the opening wine director of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons Hotel, and in later joined Chef Fabio Trabocchi at Fiamma, where she won a 2008 StarChefs.com New York Rising Stars Award.

At Fiamma, she recast the all-Italian wine list with selections from the classic wine regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain and beyond, to complement the rich, regional Italian cuisine. After leaving Fiamma, Zawieja moved to Napa where she works as a consultant. She also contributes to Saveur's "One Good Bottle" column.