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Wine Woman

A temporary gig turns into a life passion for Angela Luciano.



When Angela Luciano moved to the Bay Area from Arizona after graduate school in 2007, she took what she thought would be a temporary job as a server at Walnut Creek’s Prima. Owner Peter Chastain immediately identified her as someone who could advance quickly in the industry. “Her passion for wine is beyond normal,” says Chastain.

Luciano, 28, ramped up her wine expertise through courses—and plenty of homework—and was recently named the restaurant’s sommelier.

How do you work with the kitchen on pairings?

I’ll get the wine nailed down with the guest, then go back to the kitchen, talk to the chef, and come up with a dish for that specific wine. Or, we might modify a dish to accompany the wine. If we’re opening an old Bordeaux at table 36, I’ll go back to the kitchen and say, “Cut back on the tomato and the garlic; you don’t want to overwhelm this wine.”

If there were only three wines left in the world, what would you want them to be?

A vintage Krug champagne, Egon Müller Riesling from Germany, and Échezeaux red Burgundy from France.

No Italian wines on your list?

Don’t get me wrong: I love Italian wine. My family is from southern Italy. But, come on; if I was dying on a desert island….

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