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Zuma sommelier Daniele Tavernaro focuses on the experience

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Daniele Tavernaro has you covered at Zuma.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

He’s an advanced sommelier, an Italian wine specialist and an International Sommelier Guild diploma recipient—and he wants to make sure you have one of the best sake experiences of your life.

As the head sommelier at Zuma at the Cosmopolitan, it’s Daniele Tavernaro’s job to make sure your experience is one for the books. And it all starts with the right libation, whether that’s wine or sake.

“Zuma offers me the opportunity to play with sake, which has been a love of mine for quite a while,” Tavernaro says. “They have everything from steak to seafood to sashimi. It’s such a really wide range of food that everything you could think of in the wine world works.”

Tavernaro’s fate as a wine expert runs in the family—his father is a master sommelier—but it took the Las Vegas native some time before deciding it was the right career path for him. “I had to make sure I had the same passion and the same love for it,” Tavernaro says. “I kind of figured it out in the middle of my 20s. I loved the experience of watching people try food and wine and getting that expression and moment where they’re like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’”

Attempting his master sommelier certification is next on his plate—he would have done it sooner, he says, “but I wanted to give Zuma my complete focus.”

Whether he’s choosing new iterations of sake for Zuma’s menu or working the floor providing suggestions to customers, Tavernaro makes sure every sip is worth remembering. “Ultimately,” he says, “what made me fall in love with this side of the business was sitting there talking to people and figuring out what they enjoy.”

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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