Throughout his career in hospitality, Sabato has fulfilled culinary, beverage, and leadership roles at esteemed restaurants and hotels around the country including The Little Nell Hotel, The Inn at Little Washington, and The Greenbrier Hotel. In 2020 he became founding partner in Apres Cru Hospitality a New York City based hospitality company that provides strategic investment to growing brands including Marc Forgione’s Respect Hospitality, Los Angles based, Petit Trois with Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s, Pig & Khao Hospitality, the iconic speakeasy Please Don’t Tell, and the East Village institution Crif Dog’s.


Before co-founding Apres Cru, Sabato was President of bartaco, helping grow the company to 22 restaurants in 13 states. In addition, he spent four years as Chief Restaurant Officer of Danny Meyer’s, Union Square Hospitality Group where he oversaw the company’s portfolio of 17 New York based restaurants.

Sabato is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and in 2010 became the fifth bald Master Sommelier.


Where are you working currently and how has being a MS supported you in your current role?

I’m currently a founding partner at Apres Cru Hospitality. My journey through CMS opened up countless doors and introduced me to an amazing network of mentors and peers that I now call friends. On the professional front it has afforded me a purview into all aspects of hospitality, food and beverage, and the business of restaurants.


Where were you working when you passed?

When I passed I was the Food and Beverage Director at The Little Nell in Aspen Co.. I was lucky enough to pass in Aspen and celebrate with many of the people that helped me on my journey.


What made you want to become an MS?

I wanted to become an MS because I love wine and it was a way of pushing myself and measuring my progress along the way.


What advice do you give those who are pursuing certification?

For anyone pursuing the MS diploma, I would encourage you to not forget to look around. There are a tremendous amount of learning opportunities, additional skills you can acquire, and people you can have a positive impact on along the way. If your heads in the books all the time, you miss out on what the pursuit is all about.


What is your desert island wine, or what wines/beverages are you currently excited about?

Desert island wine: Since it is a desert island, I probably don’t have refrigeration or a corkscrew, and will be drinking it straight from the bottle with what ever seafood I catch so I’m going with a bottle of delicious riesling, with a screw cap, that I can chill down in the ocean.