Carlton McCoy

Stay focused and humble. Work as hard as possible. Keep your options open because you never know where you’ll end up.”

Carlton McCoy - Aspen_2015_finals-1599C-CAP Scholarships Awarded
Culinary Institute of America, Full Tuition

Current Position
Wine Director
The Little Nell, Aspen, CO

On any given day in Aspen, you’ll find Carlton McCoy delighting guests at The Little Nell with his adventurous wine pairings. Carlton found his passion in wine and service working with top chefs of impressive restaurants including Eric Zeibold’s CityZen, Doug Anderson’s Four Seasons in D.C., Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Tom Colicchio’s Craft Steak and Aquavit with Marcus Samuelsson. In recent years, Carlton has been thrilling the palates of The Little Nell’s guests, where he is the Wine Director.

Carlton’s first taste for the food industry was helping his grandmother cook for her catering business, housed in a local church in D.C. His neighborhood was noted for its high crime rate, and Carlton explains that if he stayed there, his future did not look bright. Then came C-CAP. Carlton enrolled in a C-CAP class at Anacostia High School and worked his way to the C-CAP Final Competition where he won a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America.

Carlton was inspired by The Little Nell’s roster of top wine professionals. He studied for the qualifying exam (known as “the hardest test in the world”) to become one of only 230 Master Sommeliers worldwide. In 2013, 63 candidates tried for the Master Sommelier diploma — and Carlton was one of four to earn the rank. At the age of 28, Carlton McCoy became one of the youngest Master Sommeliers in the world.

Photo Credit: Aspen Snowmass

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