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Somm Moves: Ryan Baldwin Departs Girl And The Goat

By John Lenart in Food on Apr 22, 2015 8:05PM

Photo Via Ryan Baldwin Twitter

Ryan Baldwin, the 34-year-old sommelier at Boka Group mainstay Girl and the Goat, will depart his post at the end of April.

Baldwin's wine career began while he was a server at Sullivan's Steak House under then sommelier Blake Leja. After two years as a server there, Baldwin moved to Paris with his wife and his then two year old son, “That's where I really caught the wine bug,” says Baldwin.

Upon moving back to the United States in 2012, he returned to work at Sullivan's. At the same time, without his knowledge, Baldwin's wife signed him up for the CMS Level I exam. He passed the exam and began to prepare for the CMS Certified Sommelier Exam. It was at this time that Boka Group management reached out to Baldwin about the open sommelier position at Girl and the Goat. He was offered the job the day before sitting for his Certified Sommelier Exam.

“Under Chef Izard I was given the freedom to build a list of wines that I loved and was passionate about.” says Baldwin.

After departing Girl and The Goat, Baldwin will go to work for Blue Crane Imports, a Chicago-based importer and distributor of South African wines, as Director of Education and Business Development.

When asked why he was leaving Girl and the Goat he explained, “With a young son, it's important for me to be present in his life and restaurant hours make doing that very difficult.”

I joked with Baldwin that his world is now going to be a lot of pinotage and chenin blanc. He replied, “That's not true. There's a lot of exciting things happening with South African wine. There's just not a voice out there for it yet. As a sommelier I have to always be thinking about what's new and South African wine is poised to be the next hot thing in wine.”