Cioppino Restaurant Group’s new sommelier is kicking things up a notch with his wine programs! Pittsburgh native Ben Sherman studied neuroscience and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, gaining knowledge of the restaurant industry simultaneously. Post-college, he embarked on a year-long motorcycle adventure from Pittsburgh to Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world. His exposure to many of the major wine regions in South America piqued his interest. When he returned home, he was offered a job at Cioppino as a sommelier apprentice. From there, he worked his way through the Court of Master Sommeliers to achieve his Certified Sommelier accreditation. Says Sherman, “As time went on, I further realized my love of wine and this business. It soon became apparent that my travels would have to be put on hold.”

Cioppino offers wine programs by the glass and the bottle. And, at nearly 300 selections, the restaurant offers wines from familiar, including major domestic wines, and lesser-known areas. Guests are given choices from Portugal, Greece, Australia, South Africa, France, Italy, Morocco, Germany, Austria, Argentina — and the list goes on. “We encourage our guests to break out of their comfort zones and try something new,” says Sherman. “We are utilizing a Coravin, a wine extraction tool, to help us accomplish this. The Coravin allows us to pour any wine we have on our bottle listing by the glass. This enables our guests to try something new without having to commit to buying a full bottle.” Cioppino’s designated wine-by-the-glass program is smaller only because it is seasonally oriented, hand-selected, and dynamic, affording the customer something new on a regular basis.

Next door, at Osteria 2350, guests can sip from the wine-by-the-carafe program, which includes fresh, affordable, and hand-selected varietals, paired with Chef di Cucina Matt McClelland’s menu. This unique concept works well with Osteria’s communal-style dining space, and is offered in three sizes: Quartino, Mezzo, and Litro. Sharing with a group of friends? Sherman suggests the Litro! Customers can expect to encounter new items weekly or monthly. And, be sure to keep one of Osteria’s five-course wine dinners in mind for an evening of celebration! — Andrea Bosco

[Cioppino Restaurant Group, 2350 Railroad St., Strip District. 412.281.6593]

Read more about Cioppino Sommelier Ben Sherman’s travels on his blog, benbybike.com.

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