Gregory Smith was born and raised near Frankfort, Kentucky, and spent his formative years on his grandparents’ farm. The smells of the farm and taste of fresh food likely attributed to his later fascination with food and wine. At seventeen years of age he entered the world of restaurants and eventually worked his way through most positions, from line cook to waiter to manager.
Gregory developed a fascination with wine at eighteen years of age and soon bought and read the first edition of Hugh Johnson’s The World Atlas of Wine. He also began buying and collecting wine, particularly German wines (a few select bottles are still miraculously uncorked), which would some years later lead to his nickname, Riesling Man.
Gregory’s fascination with faraway places would lead him to a lifelong obsession with travel and his eventual conversion to ex-pat, finding his way in 2007 to Lima, Peru, where he currently resides.
Although currently working in wine importation, Gregory spent a lifetime working in restaurants, the last of which as wine director at Central Restaurante in Lima, whose wine list received annual international awards during his tenure there, the last three years awarded Wine Spectator Magazine’s Best of Award of Excellence. Gregory was also named Peru’s Best Sommelier in 2017 by SUMMUM Dining Guide.
In addition to importing wine, Gregory is professor at Peru’s Escuela Peruana de Sommeliers (Peruvian School of Sommeliers), specializing in Austria, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, North America, Sparkling Wines, and Wine List Development. He has also taught classes at Peru’s Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola’s Center for Global Education and at Le Cordon Bleu (Peru). He occasionally contributes to Peru’s Sommelier magazine.