Charlie Gaeta, Wine Director

 

A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, Charlie Gaeta now finds himself close to home, spearheading the wine program for Salem’s Ledger restaurant. Yet this ambitious role as wine director, and the title as one of Zagat’s “30 under 30” in Boston restaurants, is not where Charlie would have pictured himself 10 years ago. After attending Providence College, Charlie carved out his career in the finance world, working in the financial districts of New York City and then Boston.

During Charlie’s early post-graduate years and financial career, he was fortunate to be exposed to fine dinners and wines with some frequency. He had the capacity to seek out different culinary destinations, from small cocktail meccas to chef-driven establishments. Charlie’s interest in wine soon turned into a passion. The energy coursing through the restaurants and bars was contagious, and prompted Charlie to leave his job in finance in his early 20’s to pursue a career in food and beverage.

Charlie’s next step was to return home to Lynn, joining The Blue Ox restaurant’s team as a bartending assistant, and working alongside his mentor, Blue Ox Owner, Matt O’Neil. Applying the same determination he did to finance, Charlie threw himself into this role, and rose quickly through the ranks to become The Blue Ox’s beverage director and general manager.

Continuing his education, Charlie enrolled in and graduated from the Wine Studies program at Boston University's School of Hospitality. Applying these skills and knowledge in practice, Charlie accepted the position as Wine Director at Branch Line, Garrett Harker and Andrew Holden’s Watertown rotisserie concept. It was at Branch Line that Charlie’s exceptional work was publicly recognized, as he curated a 100-bottle list that was recognized with the 2017 “Best Wine Program” award by Boston Magazine.

Charlie has staged with wine teams at restaurants around the country and traveled extensively to wine regions in Germany, Italy, France and the United States. Never afraid to get his hands dirty (forever a bus boy at heart), he has worked harvest in Santa Barbara at Domaine de la Cote and in Sicily on Mount Etna.

Yet his knowledge is never satiated – with a deep passion to continue learning, Charlie began his trek through the Court of Master Sommeliers, where he is currently pursuing his Advanced Sommelier certification. On a rare night off between dinner service and studying, you can find him with a steaming box of Chinese take-out, and a bright bottle of Riesling.