The Ocean House Collection restaurant group has announced a new wine director, Matthew MacCartney, for its Rhode Island resorts. Ocean House is the force behind the Ocean House and the Weekapaug Inn, homes to Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winners Coast and the Restaurant, respectively. (The group also owns Watch Hill Inn, not far from the Ocean House, in Watch Hill, R.I.).
“It is a rare opportunity to adopt a large wine program such as the one at the Ocean House,” MacCartney told Wine Spectator via email. “Aside from the wine list being an amazing read, the part that excites me is the fact that we have a clientele that not only appreciates, but actually purchases on a regular basis, the fine and rare bottles we offer.”
MacCartney, who started in June, brings experience from an impressive list of restaurants, including New York’s Gramercy Tavern and Grand Award–winning Daniel. He also spent time at two well-known European institutions: Les Prés d’Eugénie in France and Ristorante Cibrèo in Italy. MacCartney, who moved to Rhode Island in 2011, was a co-owner of Jamestown Fish in Jamestown, R.I., which held a Restaurant Award for years before closing in 2019. (Jamestown Fish and Ocean House celebrated their Restaurant Awards together on live television in 2014.)
“I loved simply being a patron [at Ocean House] over the years and driving down for an exceptional meal and great wine,” MacCartney explained. “But in the back of my mind I always thought, ‘Wow, if I didn’t have my own restaurant, this would be an amazing place to work!’” MacCartney takes over from friend and sometimes collaborator Jonathan Feiler, who was Ocean House’s wine director for 12 years before leaving this year to lead the beverage program at the Boca Raton resort in Florida. “It gave me tremendous pride to know that Jonathan was confident that I would be the appropriate steward to carry on what he built,” MacCartney added.[article-img-container][src=2023-07/rs_coast_oceanhouse_interior_1600.jpg] [credit= (Courtesy of Ocean House)] [alt= The dining room at Coast restaurant at the Ocean House resort in Rhode Island, with a view of the Atlantic Ocean][end: article-img-container]
While the Ocean House list is already extensive, MacCartney plans to increase the representation of several of his favorite regions, such as Austria and South Africa, as well as cooler-climate areas of Australia. Meanwhile, the team at Weekapaug Inn has increased cellar space. “This is a dream for any wine director to hear, as it allows us the opportunity to flesh out the offerings a bit while also providing the added bonus of being able to organize the cellar,” said MacCartney, who looks to spotlight wines that complement both locations’ menus while offering good value. “My hope is to offer our guests a ‘Big City’ wine experience while relaxing by the sea with an ‘on vacation’ mindset.”
MacCartney, who originally trained to be a chef before moving into wine, will also continue overseeing the annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival in Newport, R.I.; additionally, he helps lead Avventura, a travel company he co-founded to host wine- and food-themed trips in Italy.
In addition to overseeing the Ocean House wine programs, MacCartney is leading a variety of educational programs at Ocean House’s Center for Wine & Culinary Arts, including the “Oyster Shucking” and “Off the Beaten Path White Wines” programs. Visitors can attend a range of classes or arrange private events with their own sommelier and chef.—C.D
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Source : https://www.winespectator.com/articles/turning-tables-3-celebrated-rhode-island-resorts-have-a-new-wine-director