Gretchen Allen has a big job, overseeing the 2,400-plus wines at Valentino at the Venetian. As the wine director at Piero Selvaggio's restaurant, she’s helped the restaurant nail Wine Spectator magazine’s Grand Award yearly since 2002. Allen came on board last January, and she’s passionate about sharing the liquid history that is wine. Here she shares some unknown trivia about her past.
1. I grew up in Hawaii from the time I was 8 years old until I was 12, wearing no shoes and nearly drowning every day. And yes, I do love Spam.
2. I am very psychically attuned, and can “sense things” about a person if I don’t know them. I use it at my tables to my advantage daily.
3. I competed in pageants from age 15 through 22. I usually won them because I enjoy public speaking, and luckily, looks never win over confidence.
4. I dream constantly of writing several books, both fiction and non-fiction.
5. I plan to spend my retirement living on a boat.
6. I read dictionaries for fun. I’m a major spelling dork.
7. If I wasn’t a wine professional, I would be a doctor. I finished my pre-med pre-req’s but my job and family obligations made med school impossible.
8. I am not a wine snob at all, and will happily drink box wine as long as it is not heat stressed or oxidized. The only wine I will refuse to drink is one with too much oak.
9. I have both a high-heel shoe and a perfume fetish, of which I can wear neither at work.