Russ Russell has left his position as sommelier at Bella Tuscany in Windermere.
Known for hosting creative and sometimes extravagant weekly wine tastings paired with small plates, his last official day was December 8. He continued to host the tastings through December.
Taking over Russell’s position is Natasia Lin, a Certified Sommelier who was part of the team that opened Wine Bar George last May. Today was her first official day at the restaurant.
She says she plans to continue Russell’s schedule of tastings, including this Tuesday’s event featuring wines from Argentina’s Catena family. As of this writing, it’s the only item of note on next week’s wine calendar, as most of Orlando’s wine purveyors continue their post-holiday lull.
New Wine Venture in Winter Garden
Russell’s new home is Regency Wine & Liquor in Winter Garden. He says the store currently carries several hundred liquors, more than 100 craft and regular beers, and about 300 wines.
“When I was hired, I was charged with creating a wine department with 1,000 labels,” he wrote in his first email to the list he took with him from Bella Tuscany. “So I shall.”
He plans to start holding tastings at Regency in mid-January, which he says will be frequent and often free.