Dining: Wine & Gourmet
Indulge your love of fine dining and wine, and pick up some tips from Nemacolin professionals at the same time. Wine enthusiasts won't want to miss our weekly wine tastings at the Académie du Vin. This experience puts you in the hands of our experts who will explain the complexity surrounding wines.
Director of Wine & Spirits
As a young woman, Smith began cultivating indigenous grapes at her family’s vacation home on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, producing wine and fostering a lifelong passion as well as a heralded career in the wine industry.
Smith initially worked toward a certification in Elementary Education at Villanova University. While at Villanova, Holly worked at two of Philadelphia’s most honored restaurants, Passerelle and Marmont. She signed on as an opening staff member of Chef Georges Perrier’s restaurant, Le Mas Perrier. “It was at Le Mas Perrier that I developed my passion for pairing wine with food. I truly love finding that perfect pairing,” proclaims Smith, adding, “I also enjoy the opportunity to introduce guests to new and interesting wines and educate them on every aspect of wines, wineries and varietals.”
Smith’s own wine education included a rigorous journey toward her membership within the ultra-elite Court of Master Sommeliers, for which she logged hundreds of hours of training. In 2004, Smith had the opportunity to custom blend wine at The Steven Kent Winery with a select group of Ritz-Carlton sommeliers, wine directors and food & beverage professionals. The resulting wine, 2005 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast – A Ritz-Carlton Cuvée, is now being distributed as the house wine for all Ritz-Carlton properties around the globe. During the 2005 and 2006 harvests, Smith worked in the vineyards at the renowned Opus One and Cain Cellars wineries where she participated firsthand in the hard-work and challenge that goes into harvesting grapes, all while gaining a new appreciation for both the winemaking process and the finished product. In 2006, Smith was invited to the Oregon Pinot Camp held in the Willamette Valley.
In 2008, Smith’s journey took her to Los Angeles, where she was part of the opening team at Rock Sugar and established the current beverage and wine program. She oversaw the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, opening as well as closing procedures, wine education classes for servers and bringing managers to a higher level, and was appointed Fine Dining Manager in addition to her Sommelier title three months into opening the restaurant. She was passionately focused on the floor, welcoming guests and offering recommendations on a nightly basis. Before that successful opening, Smith opened ENO, a wine, cheese and chocolate tasting room at the Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton. This first of a kind wine tasting room for the Marriott paired perfectly with the sophistication of the Ritz-Carlton which catered to its guests and corporate events with exclusive boutique wines, handcrafted chocolates and artisanal cheeses from a global menu. Before her time at the Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton, she spent nearly five years as Hotel Sommelier at The Ritz-Carlton’s Marina del Rey property, where she developed a sophisticated yet approachable style that endeared her to customers.
Her California experience took Holly to Northern California’s Wine Country, a world that she enjoyed and had dreamed of being a part of. She accepted the position of National Sales Director for a small boutique winery, Domenico Wines. This family owned and operated winery utilized Smith’s corporate experiences to organize and implement procedures and practices that had not been used before her arrival. Aside from the day-to-day operations, Smith became extremely passionate in the product from start to finish. Holly was involved in everything from the inspection of the vines and grapes to the harvest as well as the crush, winemaking and final bottling. This exposed her to an entirely new aspect of the business that she could use to promote higher sales not only in the tasting room but to larger key corporate accounts.
Returning to her home state to be closer to friends and family, Holly accepted a position at the luxurious Nemacolin Woodlands Resort as Food and Beverage Manager of Falling Rock, the boutique hotel located in Farmington, Pennsylvania. In 2010, Smith led the Falling Rock team to achieve their ultimate goal, the award of Forbes 5 Stars. Holly was quickly promoted to the Director of Wine and Spirits for the resort in the fall of that same year. She currently leads the 5 Star Lautrec team in wine service on a nightly basis while concentrating on the resort’s wine list and conducting weekly educational classes for guests at the resort’s Académie du Vin.
Most recently, Holly created several educational pieces featured on Cox Channel 3 “The OC Lifestyle” and winetastetv.com. She also guest appeared on Indie 103.1 “Wino-Wednesdays” with Joe Escalante and Liz Warner and found time to conduct an Eno-Versity educational class every Saturday for an entire year with acclaimed winemakers like Francois Chirumberro of Veuve Cliquot, Freddy Constant of Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyard, Mike Drash of Luna Vineyards to name a few, as well as learning how to make cheese in-house and teach eager “students” on Saturday afternoons. “I wanted to conduct classes where it was educational and comprehensive without being pretentious. I just want everyone to have fun!” exclaimed Smith.
Very hands-on, Smith enjoys interacting with every guest whether it is in the Academie du Vin tasting room or in Lautrec’s formal dining room. In her spare time, Smith loves to travel, practice Pilates, cook—and, of course, pair wines to her culinary creations.