Haley Fortier is having a banner year.
In February, the James Beard Foundation announced that haley.henry, a wine bar in Downtown Crossing that Fortier opened in 2016, was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program. And on Thursday, Food & Wine magazine named Fortier as one of its 2019 Sommeliers of the Year.
The publication’s annual list recognizes sommeliers that are crafting unparalleled wine programs in restaurants and bars across the country. Among nine wine professionals named, Fortier was the only New England sommelier, and Boston has not one — but two — wine bars from the talented expert.
“It still fees a bit surreal actually,” Fortier wrote in an email to Boston.com. “The thing that strikes me the most about the list, is that it’s really mixed with an incredibly diverse set of people; all doing very unique things in this industry. I think the way that people think about wine is shifting, so it allows different ideas to finally have a voice [and] a seat at the table. I am really excited to be a part of that growth and can’t wait to see what happens five years from now. Buckle up!! I think it’s going to be a wild ride!!”
Following the success of haley.henry, Fortier opened nathálie wine bar in the Fenway in July 2018 with a list that focuses on small production, natural, and female-produced wines. In addition to wine, both haley.henry and nathálie offer an eclectic food menu with items that range from tinned fish and rabbit terrine to roasted bone marrow.
Food & Wine praised Fortier for bringing something new to the city’s wine scene, writing “She was exactly what the city needed, making wines available that had never had a place there before.” The publication also listed two bottles of wine that have stood out in Fortier’s career: a 2008 Movia Lunar and a 2017 Day Wines Tears of Vulcan. Of the Vulcan, Fortier shared that “This wine feels like you’ve just driven your moped to the beach: salty, peachy, a little diesel-y. It’s a great first glance for anyone who wants to explore orange wine.”
Other sommeliers on the list include Liz Martinez from Prime + Proper in Detroit, Vinny Eng from Tartine Manufactury in San Francisco, and Erik Segelbaum from Somlyay in Washington, D.C.
Check out the complete list of Food & Wine‘s Sommeliers of the Year 2019 here.