Rising Star Sommelier Natalie Johnson of Loring Place - Biography

New York, NY

January 2019

Natalie Johnson’s parents, her father an urban planner and architect and mother a designer, got her interested in the world of cuisine. They insisted on sitting down for family meals every night. Her father loved cooking and would engage her on such topics as the texture of different noodle shapes. When she was 15, Johnson’s father took her on a trip to Italy, kickstarting her love affair with Italian culture, food, and, eventually, wine. After graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in art history, she stayed local and worked as a line cook at small Provencal-style restaurant Matteo.

In 2010, Johnson moved to New York City and found a job as a cook at Jim Lahey’s pizza restaurant Co., and later a server-come-front of house manager at Piedmontese restaurant and wine bar Sorella on the Lower East Side. Her love of wine cemented, she soon moved to OTTO for her first official sommelier gig. In August 2014, Johnson started working under Champagne-enthusiast Jack Mason at Marta and credits him as one of her most influential mentors. In the spring of 2015, she returned to Colorado where she spent a year at Bobby Stuckey’s Frasca Food & Wine. In September 2016, Johnson made way back to New York and joined Rising Stars alum Chef Dan Kluger for his first solo project, Loring Place, where she curates a concise, two-page list of wines to pour and pair with Kluger’s vibrant, vegetable-forward cuisine.