Sommelier Darlin Kulla of Succotash - Biography

Washington, DC

October 2018

Darlin Kulla grew up in Albania, but has lived in Washington, D.C. since she was 14. While she attended The College of William and Mary, Kulla worked in restaurants as a server, bartender, and host. Upon receiving her degree in biology and environmental science in 2009, Kulla moved back to D.C. for an internship in environmental policy. She worked part-time at Brasserie Beck under Sir Thor Cheston, member of the Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mashstaff in Belgium. Learning from him, she fell in love with all things beverage and transitioned to bartending full time. She soon became the food and beverage manager of the Park Hyatt, home to Blue Duck Tavern and its Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

In 2015, she became the beverage manager of Momofuku’s Washington D.C. location, Momofuku CCDC. Two years later, she filled the role of beverage director for Knead Hospitality Group, presiding over the programs at two locations of Southern-inspired Succotash and upscale Mexican hot spot Mi Vida. Fueling herself with the adrenaline of service and guest interaction, Kulla likes to be on the floor rather than behind a desk. When new hires join the staff of Succotash or Mi Vida, Kulla spends a full day teaching them cocktail compositions and wine pairings. She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and candidate for the Advanced Exam. She is constantly learning more about wine through local tasting groups and by attending conferences like TEXSOM. Knead has plans for growth and Kulla plans to grow with it.