Translated literally to "Wine Paul," vinopaolo was gamertag chosen during the Xbox 360 era. The naming coincided with my six year stint working as a wine professional for the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.
With almost twenty years of hospitality experience in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, and Singapore, I am known primarily for my wine buying and educational roles at world-class dining establishments. After four years in Film School and producing an independent feature documentary; an alternate career path was forged. Currently, I seek to integrate these seemingly unrelated fields through social media, original content, and future food and beverage concepts.
I successfully passed the Level 1 Court of Master Sommeliers Certification at the Bellagio in 2008. In that moment, I was working for B&B Hospitality Group working with an all Italian wine list. There was never a requirement from my employers to pursue the CMS, WSET, or ISG certification. In 2010, I was tapped to open Eataly Flatiron, the first Eataly in the USA. Later that year I joined the opening team at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore as "Executive Beverage Director" for Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza. Demanding momentary wine duties and on-the-job training outweighed my desire for further certification. Eschewing the title "sommelier" for the simpler "wine specialist" has always been the preference. Joining the opening team of "Esther's Kitchen" in January of 2018, I re-established roots in the Las Vegas wine community. Esther's Kitchen has since become something of a Las Vegas institution, known for our handmade pasta, craft cocktails, and meticulously curated wine options. $10 glasses of wine rotate often between lesser known varieties and boutique productions of the essential Cabernets and Pinots.
Growing up in suburban Las Vegas, movies were always central to my childhood. When I wasn't biking around the neighborhood or through the Whitney Mesa, I was enamored with our living room laserdisc player. Messing around with the family JVC camcorder and catching film premieres at the Station Casinos movie theaters with friends filmed a bulk of my time outside of school. Unsure of exactly what to study in college, my father's simple advice to "follow your passion" led me to apply to film school in Southern California. Graduating with a BFA in Film and Television from Chapman University and completing an internship at a nearby Post-Production House, I eventually made my way back home to Las Vegas. At 22 years old and needing work, I put the dream of film on hold and focused on a burgeoning food and beverage career. After about nine years in a meteoric rise to General Manager of a Manhattan celebrity chef restaurant, I was burnt out and looking to return to film. Landing in Los Angeles in 2014 to find my college roommate over encumbered with footage from the Occupy Los Angeles Protests and aftermath. Attempting to weave together a cohesive narrative, our small group "Collective Media" premiered "Radicalized" at the Downtown LA Film Festival in 2016. Following completion of "Radicalized," we began collaboration on "Confluence," a mulit-part documentary series examining the North American water table. Due to the scope of the series, "Confluence" is still currently in production. Journeying through 48 states to document local water issues, production has remained independent as self-financed.
Even with the incredible popularity of gaming, it is still a subculture that can be further embraced by a wider audience. One of my earliest memories was my father bringing home the NES Console back in 1986. My three brothers and I played countless games on several generations of gaming consoles. Bicycle rides to Circle K and 7/11 yielding many hours competing with schoolmates in Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Sim City 2000, Warcraft II, and Roller Coaster Tycoon were on heavy rotation. With college and entering the workforce, gaming went on the back-burner. As the younger generation supported a Twitch subculture, I noticed the parallels of storytelling particularly in the gamers of YouTube. Diving head first into PC gaming after a long absence, vinopaolo is a regular on the servers of Rust; considered one of the more difficult gaming experiences out there. Requiring unwavering resilience, I stream and edit YouTube videos of this experience.