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Daniel Johnnes, La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturel

When Daniel Johnnes first visited France he immediately fell in love with the language, cuisine, wine and culture. For the last 40 years Daniel has been a devoted Francophile, building his career around food and wine.

After graduating from college with a BA in French, Daniel left for Paris to work in the kitchens of Guy Savoy. Upon returning to New York City, he helped open Montrachet, quoted as “New York’s finest wine restaurant,” which won a Wine Spectator Grand Award.

Daniel also formed his own import company, featuring personal selections of unique French wines. He now represents some of the most famous estates in Burgundy and beyond.

The James Beard Foundation honored Mr. Johnnes in 1995 with the ‘Outstanding Wine Service Award,’ and in 2006 as ‘Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year,’ the highest honor awarded to a wine professional in the United States. In 2000 he was named ‘Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year’ by Santé.

In 2000, he created his event La Paulée de New York, described as “the greatest Bacchanalia on the face of the earth” by The Financial Times. Through tastings, dinners and seminars, this event celebrates Burgundy’s greatest winemakers, boasts extraordinary cuisine, and has raised over $2,000,000 to charity.

After spending twenty years as the Wine Director for Montrachet and the Myriad Restaurant Group, Daniel joined Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group as the corporate Wine Director. He most recently formed La Fête du Champagne with Peter Liem to educate and promote the wines of Champagne.

Dubbed “the dean of American Sommeliers” by Jay McInerny in The Wall Street Journal, Johnnes continues to mentor a new generation of sommeliers. He recently created the La Paulée Scholarship which brings young sommeliers to France to experience the “terroir” as he did during his early travels.


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