64 / the tasting panel / october 2015
Fred Dame: Dan, here’s where it all started for us. I was sitting here two-and-
a-half years ago with Darius Allyn, MS talking about Southern California. The
manager saw our pins and told us we had to meet you. And the ﬁrst of the SWS/AWS
tasting groups was born.
Dan Bailey: That is absolutely correct! It was a great moment in history. I’ve been here for
nine years and I remember it vividly. Mastro’s has been here for 14 years.
FRED DAME, MS
Daniel Bailey, Sommelier
of Mastro’s Beverly Hills,
with Fred Dame, MS, VP
of Prestige Accounts for
American Wine & Spirits (a
division of SWS of CA).
A Conversation with
Daniel BaileySOMMELIER, MASTRO’S BEVERLY HILLS
photos by Cal Bingham
october 2015 / the tasting panel / 65
What are trying to do, break my
record at The Sardine Factory?
Three more years and it’s yours. How
did you start here?
I was looking for a bigger opportunity,
and wow, did I ﬁnd it! We have 800 seats
and host about a thousand customers each day. Our clientele
is so diverse; we have the anniversary couple sitting next to
a sports star, Hollywood celebrities next to them and music
execs one table over. You never know what to expect, but
it makes for a thrill ride each night. It’s exciting to come to
The wine list? That must be an adventure!
Our list changes every three weeks and features 700
wines. Our Corporate Wine Director, Robbie Joe Oliver,
keeps us on our toes and always delivers the “good stuff” for
She’s one of my favorite people, a true professional.
What do they drink here? Let me guess, GREAT BIG
CALIFORNIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON?
Oh yes, but you’d be surprised: We do amazingly well with
Champagne and sparkling wine. We sell a lot of Pinot Noir
and are really delving into the Grenache/Syrah wines.
Chardonnay is king of the white wines, but you’d be sur-
prised at the amount of Sauvignon Blanc we sell.
Great segue my man. Let’s taste
this fabulous (my agent said to
say that LOL) Pouilly Fumé from La
Doucette. Incredible aroma, and what
a great classic from a legendary
I agree this wine is terriﬁc. What a
pairing with our famed shellﬁsh tower.
Big and rich, with great length.
Is it possible to have a local favorite from the sur-
rounding wine regions?
We sell Santa Barbara wines like we were in the middle of
town. The big Napa wines do especially well here, and we’re
always on the lookout. Price is not really an issue for many of
our customers, but we work very hard to deliver value and
uniqueness to each guest.
OK, I have to ask: What do the stars drink?
A lot of very excellent Champagne. It’s interesting that
many of them from the music world are looking for very
rare, hard-to-ﬁnd Cabernet Sauvignon. So we are con-
stantly battling for allocations that provide us with enough
Do you have many regulars?
We certainly do. And they know their stuff. One of
my favorites is actually a vegan who comes here to eat our
fresh vegetables. I know it a steakhouse but we have great
produce. I really have to be on my toes for those pairings
and it is a welcome challenge. We also have a large number
of locals who dine with us regularly.
So, beef, beef and beef.
We feature the top two percent of prime beef in the
USA. In every cut you can imagine. Our shellﬁsh is hugely
popular and we feature fresh ﬁsh every day.
What does Dan really like to sell?
(Laughing) I always tell the staff that we are part thera-
pist and part private detective. It can get interesting when
you have a table with every possible food combination.
Is it still fun?
Absolutely. My dad used to say, ‘If you aren’t having
fun, change jobs.’ My longevity here shows that I still enjoy
my evenings on the ﬂoor. In the middle of the shift you can
do a lot of eye rolling, but at the end of the night it’s totally
worth it. We have a great team here and can always depend
on one another.
What do we need to change in the world of wine for
I wish the general public of diners didn’t have to write one
complaint about the quality of wine service in restaurants.
The Southern Wine & Spirits/American
Wine & Spirits Tasting Group: Dan
Bailey, Sommelier, Mastro’s Beverly
Hills; Sean Prevatt, Sommelier,
Mastro’s Thousand Oaks; Laurie Sutton,
Sommelier, Shutters; Dana Farner,
consulting sommelier; Phillip Dunn,
Wine Director, Spago; Micah Clark,
Sommelier, Steak & Whiskey; Fred
Dame, MS, VP/Prestige Accounts,
American W&S; Jaimee Anderson,