Giada sommelier uncorks a successful career
It all began with a hammer and a bottle of champagne right around the time Stephanie Cimino was in high school. She and some girlfriends got hold of a bottle of champagne. “We couldn’t figure out how to open it, so I took a hammer to it and the bottle exploded,” she said. “That piqued my interest. I wanted to know why it exploded. From then on, I wanted to learn all about champagne and wine.”
Cimino landed her first job on the Strip at 17 years old, and “I haven’t left since,” said the La Quinta, Calif., native. For the past two years she’s been the sommelier for Giada at The Cromwell. She first studied beverage management at UNLV and worked at restaurants inside MGM Grand, Caesars Palace and The Venetian. It was at the Wynn, though, that she really cut her teeth. “I started as a hostess and left as a wine manager,” she said. “Over nine years—it’s where I really honed my sommelier skills.” Two years ago, Cimino earned her sommelier certification. And she couldn’t be happier to have landed at Giada. “I came in for dinner and I absolutely fell in love,” she said. “The mantra of Giada—she’s a female chef and I always wanted to work for someone that promotes female empowerment. Being a female somm, I was like ‘yes, girls rule!’”
Cimino’s job includes introducing new wines to new palates. “I love the feeling of teaching our guests something new about wine.” … No hammer required.
Cimino has traveled the world visiting vineyards including ones in Italy, France and Canada. And she specifically loves to study the rosé wines they offer. “I love rosé,” she said. So much so that she concocted her own rosé specialty cocktail, the Frose. Mixed with Cape Mentelle rosé, limoncello, peach Grand Marnier
and white peach purée and garnished with rosé-infused sugar crystals, the frozen cocktail is like an elevated slushy. “When you see this cocktail you automatically think sweet, but this
is dry,” Cimino said. “There’s citrus notes, hints of strawberry, a little white peach and it’s fruit-forward and dry at the end.” And, of course, it’s simply delicious.