Damon Gravina grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent much of his early life training and traveling as a competitive gymnast, ultimately ending up at the Junior Olympics. After high school and college, also in Ohio, Damon moved to New York City to pursue a musical theatre writing program with BMI.
While in New York, Damon started to supplement his income by working in restaurants and very quickly became that guy that was always bothering the Sommelier. Damon’s interest in wine kicked into high gear after finishing at BMI when he started his road to Sommelier certification through studies with both the Court as well as American Sommelier Association. This lead to working in the wine program at Artisanal, running the beverage program at Ardesia Wine Bar in Hell’s Kitchen, and eventually becoming an assistant to the wine director for Andrew Tarlow’s restaurant group in Brooklyn.
After ten years in New York, a move to the West Coast gave Damon an opportunity to explore wine with a completely new perspective by joining Vintage 59 Imports as a sales rep. After a year of hitting the streets, the opportunity to open The NoMad Hotel in downtown Los Angeles with wine Director Ryan Bailey presented itself and Damon jumped at the chance. During his time as Sommelier at The NoMad, Damon worked with one of LA’s great wine lists and was able to broaden relationships with wine professionals all over the city.
He is very excited to be back out pounding the pavement with Schatzi and representing them in Los Angeles.