In a press release issued this morning, Paulie's owner Paul Petronella announced that he has partnered with former Uchi beverage director David Keck to launch a new wine bar adjacent to Paulie's that will be called Camerata. Keck and Petronella are targeting a July opening for the space, which will be designed by Oxheart designer Gin Braverman. Camerata will be a showcase for Keck, who's one of fewer than a dozen Advanced Sommeliers in Houston. Petronella tells Eater that Keck "has the perfect personality for a sommelier" in terms of his ability to make the sometimes "pretentious and intimidating" world of wine accessible to neophytes. Petronella also says that he'll "never dictate what kind of beer or wine" Camerata will carry.
Keck, whose last day at Uchi is tomorrow, tells Eater that the Houston's wine scene is "lagging behind" the dynamic food scene and "needs a kick in the pants" that he hopes to provide with Camerata. One other goal Keck has for the project is to provide a place to educate the next generation of sommeliers. That means both hiring and training enthusiastic young people and providing a place for sommeliers to "spread maps out" when they're studying for exams.
Former Oxheart sommelier Justin Vann took a break from his secret next project to tell Eater that Camerata is one of the "most exciting wine projects in the city." He called Keck "a killing machine of wine knowledge," which is about the highest compliment Vann pays anyone. Expect much more about Camerata as it comes to fruition.
· David Keck's New Playground [Pauliepetro]