“One day I will take the time to be proud and appreciate what I have accomplished, but right now I’m making sure I take a moment to breathe,” says master sommelier June Rodil, who runs the beverage program for the six restaurants under the umbrella of McGuire Moorman Hospitality group in Austin, TX, and is a partner in their seventh restaurant, June’s.
Like so many in the industry, Rodil found her passion for wine on accident, stumbling upon it while working in hospitality. Early in her career, she’d considered attending law school, but the thought of going into debt made her switch course: “Really I was just picking a career I knew would support the lifestyle of which I’d become accustomed—eating and drinking out, a lot,” she jokes.
One of only seven master sommeliers to earn the title in 2015, Rodil’s approach to building a list is more casual than the title might suggest; she prefers to keep things “ever-changing and fun,” with a broad range of styles and places represented and a firm belief in supporting producers with an eco-conscious focus. She also hopes to educate customers on the ins and outs of the wine world via a monthly “‘zine,” which is “hand-drawn, colored, xeroxed, taped, collaged and put together in-house,” Rodil says, with each issue focusing on a specific region, including shout-outs to favorite producers.
Rodil has her hands in winemaking, too. Beginning in October, the restaurant group will be launching a private label sparkling rosé in collaboration with Austria’s Markus Huber. But Rodil is modest about that, too: “I’m essentially a music critic that can’t play an instrument,” she says.
So what does Rodil do, she drink, when she’s off the clock? Here, she tackles our Lookbook Questionnaire to share her strangest hobby, the first time she ever got drunk and her go-to drink in a dive. —Amy C. Collins
Beverage director for McGuire Moorman Hospitality.
What do want to be when you grow up?
Tax attorney or book editor (but then I realized my propensity for typos).
Best thing you ever drank:
2007 Comte de Vogüé Musigny Blanc. It’s a rare bottle of white Burgundy that I drank right before I found out I passed my master sommelier exam. It’s beautiful, unique, rare, delicious, shared in great company and actually took my mind off my nerves for a moment.
Worst thing you ever drank:
Unknown tequila mixed with Topo Chico and powdered lemon-lime Gatorade. Don’t ask.
First time you ever got drunk:
Junior prom. Five shots of Goldschläger. My parents were nice enough to give permission to stay the night at friend’s house ’cause, well, they know me. I vaguely remember bouncing like a pinball down the hallway to my bedroom the next morning while my dad was just shaking his head at me. As proper punishment, he woke me up a few hours later in time to fully reap the benefits of my first hangover.
If you had to listen to one album on loop for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Stevie Wonder, Signed, Sealed, Delivered or Dr. Dre, 2001.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
Buy real estate—I held out too long. ie. was too scared of being an adult for too long.
Weirdest cocktail experiment you’ve ever attempted:
Bonito flakes infused into sake for a pairing. It was… intensely flavored. Likely more lazy than weird, but there’s always the good ole bourbon and Dr. Pepper highball as well.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not eating, drinking or drink-making?
Sleeping and buying shoes.
Weirdest drink request you’ve ever gotten:
Someone asked me for a “kir” once and I came back with a white wine with crème de cassis. But what they really wanted was a Coors, cause, yeah… that’s house you pronounce it in Texas: Keers. They looked at me holding a glass of dark pink wine as if I had grown a second head.
Your favorite bar, and why:
The Jack Rose in Washington D.C. That whiskey selection, though. Wow.
Best meal you’ve ever had:
Grandma’s cooking: full-on Filipino buffet.
Champagne or riesling to start then I like to order something I’ve never had before.
In a dive bar?
Vodka and soda. I’m on a mission to bring it back (though it likely has never left). When I was in my early 20s I always ordered it and, by God, it was damned refreshing and clean, so why not own it?
Your preferred hangover recovery regime:
Sleeeeeeep. Morning after: water, Berocca®, coffee, orange juice, champagne (not to be mixed with orange juice), coconut water, french fries.
The one thing you wish would disappear from drink lists forever:
The last text message you sent:
“Beat it, nerd.”