Jill Davis

Where Orlando - - Where Inside -

Napa Val­ley, Bordeaux, Or­lando. Wine En­thu­si­ast named Or­lando among 2015's top 10 wine des­ti­na­tions in the world, Wine Spec­ta­tor's 2015 Restau­rant Wine List Awards in­cluded 44 Or­lando-area restau­rants, and three mas­ter­level som­me­liers work in Or­lando. One of the city's new­est, Jill Davis, 28, is one of Wine En­thu­si­ast's top 40 som­me­liers un­der 40 in the coun­try. We caught up with Davis, now with Del Frisco's Dou­ble Ea­gle Steak House, to talk wine.

How did you get to Or­lando?

I had been in Men­doza—I had lived in Ar­gentina when I was 19 for a study-abroad pro­gram— and when I grad­u­ated, I thought it would be nice to live in a wine re­gion for a lit­tle bit and get to know the wines re­ally well. I speak French and Span­ish, so I reached out to a tourism agency down in Men­doza and of­fered to help with a wine-tour pro­gram. Af­ter about a year liv­ing there, and for fam­ily rea­sons, I wanted to live back in the U.S., so I wound up get­ting a job with a wine im­porter in Or­lando and then moved on to the Four Sea­sons.

You went from man­ag­ing a 300-bot­tle wine list at the Four Sea­sons to 1,200 bot­tles at Del Frisco's. What's that like?

It's so crazy. It blew my mind. When a guest comes in and tells me what kind of wine they like and what style they like, I re­ally do have at my dis­posal so many op­tions at any given price point. For me, per­son­ally, it's the most re­ward­ing part of my job: match­ing a wine to some­one's palate, to fig­ure out what some­body likes and be able to find a wine that per­fectly fits what they're look­ing for and get that ahha mo­ment in their eyes. It doesn't mat­ter to me if it's a $70 or a $1,000 bot­tle. As long as they're happy, I'm happy.

What are your tips for se­lect­ing a bot­tle for an ev­ery­day din­ner at home?

I would per­son­ally rec­om­mend a lo­cal wine shop with some­body in it who can get to know your palate and fig­ure out your style like a fun puz­zle—do you like fruit-driven wines; do you like earth-driven wines; do you like a big­ger red; do you like lighter reds? Once you get that per­son to learn your style, they're go­ing to show you a lot more wines that are fit­ting in that style in what­ever price point you want as well.

And what about choos­ing a bot­tle as a gift for some­one ?

You have to choose a crowd-pleas­ing wine. Usu­ally in the U.S., go­ing with a Caber­net or a Chardon­nay, or even a Pinot Noir, is a safe bet. And I hate to say it, but it's so true, pack­ag­ing re­ally does make a dif­fer­ence when it's a gift.

What is the best way to get a bot­tle of wine home from a trip?

I have some wine bags that are meant for trav­el­ing in suit­cases that I take with me ev­ery­where. They ac­tu­ally seal shut and then vel­cro, and they're made with a per­ma­nent bub­ble wrap so they don't break in your bag. I'm sure there's a way to ship it, but I usu­ally just bring it home with me.

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