Rising Star Sommelier Sam Rethmeier of République - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

May 2021

After spending his teen years working at a chain restaurant in his native Orange County, Sam Rethmeier’s first big break in hospitality was at the James Beard Award-winning Frasca Food and Wine. Under partner and Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey in Boulder, Colo., Rethmeier started by expediting food, worked his way through almost every position, and attended the restaurant’s weekly wine class. He stayed with Frasca through a remodel before moving back to L.A. in 2013 to be closer to family and the coast. He scored jobs as floor sommelier at Nancy Silverton’s chi SPACCA, general manager of Eric Railsback and Brian McClintic's Les Marchands, and wine director of Nocciola. He then took a break from the floor to sell bottles for Veritas Imports.

In 2017, Walter and Margarita Manzke recruited Rethmeier to be wine director of République, where he offers luscious pairings such as Marquis d’Angerville Domaine du Pelican with salt-baked black cod and Domaine Simon Bize et Fils Aux Vergelesses with duck à la presse. Under his leadership, République was named one of Wine Spectator’s best L.A.-area wine lists and one of Wine & Spirits’ 100 best wine restaurants in America, both in 2019. In December 2020, Rethmeier founded Wednesday Night Wine Club, a subscription service to educate the consumer about affordable wines.