Bistango Promotes Longtime Manager/Sommelier To Oversee Expanding Wine Operations


billblankA longtime manager of Bistango, Costa Mesa resident Bill Blank, has been promoted to oversee the restaurant’s dramatically expanding wine program, which now offers more than 500 labels including many rare, difficult to obtain and highly rated wines not available at many other fine dining establishments. Blank, a credentialed sommelier who has been working side-by-side with owner John Ghoukassian for a number of years to help build the wine program, will assume the reins and tap into his vast knowledge, education and experience to prepare for his recent appointment.

“I’m excited to accept this promotion, which grants me more freedom to develop a wine program that offers something for everyone from novices to knowledgeable and experienced wine aficionados,” said Blank. “Diversity is key to a successful program and that extends to price, regions where the wine is from, popular vintages and rarities.

“For instance, our wine list offers some of the big names like Dominus, Opus One, Darioush, Nickel & Nickel and Heitz, but we also feature a few hard-to-come-by rarities like Three Sticks, the Silver Eagle Vineyard Pinot Noir (only 30 cases are allocated for all of Southern California) and Ghost Block Cabernet,” he continued. “The ones that really get me excited are the hidden gems like a great Pinot Noir from Patagonia and a Merlot blend from Uruguay. Also, I love exploring small family wineries that are producing some of the most amazing wines at reasonable prices such as Yates Family Vineyards and Regusci Winery.”

Blank said that he is working with Bistango’s culinary team to develop wine events pairing certain foods with specially selected vintages. He said they might host a Salute to Bavaria complete with German wines and foods from the region or Homage to Pinots featuring the light red wines from around the world paired with small plates.

Before joining the Bistango team in 2004, Blank held management positions at Twin Palms, Bistro 201, the Jazz Kitchen at Downtown Disney and Chanteclaire. He has held his sommelier certification for nearly 2 decades and also holds a Masters of Science degree from Samra University, where he graduated in 1985.

Bistango is renowned for its diverse menu of fine American cuisine set in an airy atmosphere distinguished by fine art exhibits and large umbrellas that suspend from the ceiling lending great intimacy. Bistango also features an extensive cocktail list of classics and house specialties. New to its beverage offerings are beers on draft and 30 craft beers by the bottle, which include some difficult to acquire selections.

Posted by Rachel Allan