James and Meghan LaCourte have both spent their entire lives growing up and living in Huntington, Long Island. Despite only graduating from Huntington High School a year apart from one another, the two really met and connected in 2004 while both working at one of their favorite family owned restaurants in town, Restaurant Joanina. They both share a tremendous love for the restaurant industry, and shortly after they began dating, discussions of opening their own restaurant began to take place.
Instead of jumping into restaurant ownership right away, the two chose to further educate themselves, learn from others, and extend their careers in various ways, to prepare for their ultimate goal. James remained and grew at Restaurant Joanina through it’s transformations - the end of Renaissance Gourmet, the building of the bar, and the expansion of the restaurant and wine shop. Meghan went a different route and pursued her career in journalism, which quickly morphed into her having a role as a producer and editor for Fox News Digital with a focus solely on food & wine. After Fox, Meghan worked in restaurant marketing — helping independent restaurants find a voice for themselves on the internet through social media. Little did they know, that their experiences over many years, would help them so greatly in their upcoming venture.
Aside from their growing careers, they attended wine school weekly at the American Sommelier Association in Manhattan where they grew their knowledge and passion for wine, and they launched their first business together called Grape Gatherings, which focused on wine education in a fun and exciting way.