Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Ron Acierto - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 Person to Watch: Ron Acierto

A retirement home dining room isn’t the usual starting point for a wine career, but for Ron Acierto, wine and beverage director at ōkta in McMinnville, Oregon, the unlikely fine-dining ethos in this establishment piqued his interest. The retirement home gig came shortly after Acierto emigrated from the Philippines to the U.S. at age 15, and from there, he found a home in the world of hospitality.

Crediting many mentors along the way, Acierto was a quick study when it came to wine, particularly Champagne and Burgundy. During his first trip to Oregon, he became enamored with the region’s wines. A job at Cherry Hill winery led to roles in several lauded Oregon restaurants including Bluehour, Jory at The Allison Inn, and Departure. In 2015, he opened the Champagne-focused Muselet to much acclaim.

At the James Beard–nominated ōkta, he synthesizes his passions into a wine list that asks diners to reexamine the concept of luxury. Along with Grand Cru Burgundies, the list runs deep with back vintages and rare single-vineyard offerings from Oregon wineries—comprising more than half of the menu. To understand the depth of his knowledge, put yourself in his hands with pairings for the tasting menu, often poured on the fly. Luxury aside, he also wants wine to be fun and accessible, and spotlights lesser-known varieties from around the world. “I am fortunate and thankful that I get to discover old and new varietals and producers,” he says. “My passion for wine, food, and hospitality is continually growing and evolving.”

Click here to read more about some of 2024’s other Imbibe 75 People and Places to Watch.

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