Sommelier Gregory Smith of Central Restaurante - Biography

Lima, Peru

June 2014

Gregory Smith may have graduated (ehem, magna cum laude) from Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska, and followed that up with a degree from University of Nebraska, but his professional trajectory would ultimately take him far afield from academia. Already having shown a palate for internationalism in college—he studied German—Smith eventually found his calling in the wine world, which he immersed himself in not long after joining the restaurant industry.

Whether he was pairing vintage French and Italian wines with an Italian menu at Casa Grisanti in Kentucky, or marrying Pacific Rim-influenced Japanese cuisine with Austrian and German wines at Silk Asian Steak & Seafood in Atlanta, Smith was clearly nimble with the regions, languages, and worldwide flavors of wine. So when, after 13 years in Atlanta, he made a move to Lima, Peru, Smith was more than ready to tackle its challenges.

Working his way through a relatively young wine culture—and learning more than most about Peru’s native Pisco— Smith found work at a wine club and later an importer before taking on the role of Director of Wine at Virgilio Martinez’s Central. At the helm of one of the best restaurants in the country, Smith is not only helping to push Peru’s wine culture forward with a greater emphasis on global wine, he’s indulging his own cravings for place, and drinking in the native culture and cuisine of the city in a country he now calls home.