Becoming a Sommelier
by Kimberly Faye
My love for the art of tasting and recommending wine (yes, in my opinion it is an art form – file that as a note because we will be talking about that later) began in my late-twenties. My boyfriend at the time invited me to a young professionals wine tasting group run by a 30-something couple who owned an upscale restaurant in Tega Cay, South Carolina. The group met at their house monthly to taste (mostly drink) theme (region/country/varietal) selected wines and talk about the experience.
One of the guys in the group, of the 40-something age bracket, worked for a distributor and provided most of the wines for our group. Meetup didn’t exist so it was more-or-less a gathering of friends. None of us knew anything about wine except the distributor guy and he liked being the know-it-all. I guess being a wine distributor rep gave him that privilege. I was a secretary for Duke Power at the time and all I knew was I hated my job and wanted his! I knew nothing about the wine industry so I certainly didn’t know what that sort of job entailed.
I’m guessing he was the on premise rep for the hosts of the party since they owned the restaurant where his wines were sold. Anyway, all that to say, he introduced all of us to a 1988 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon at one of our tastings. That was when I learned I had a taste the finer things in life.
After my love affair with Chateau Montelena began, I stayed in the living room with the guys tasting through all the wines while the gals in the group usually filled up their glasses and went outside to smoke weed on the the deck overlooking the lake. After we finished the business of “tasting wine” we joined the other gals on the deck and the tasting/party advanced to hot tub experiences under the Carolina sky. For the record, I liked the tasting/learning part of these get-togethers and didn’t take part in the hot tub experiences. Well, there was this once when I accidentally slipped and fell, fully clothed, into the hot tub that was recessed into the deck. I had not advanced to the fine art of spitting as I tasted. Come to think of it, no one else in the group did either. The distributor guy was not a Sommelier so he didn’t teach us that part of the tasting technique.
My envy for traveling to wine country started when guys in this group took a road trip to Napa, leaving us ladies at home to tend to the children, our jobs and other stuff. It was “a guy trip” so they said. I was jealous, but as a single mom parenting and supporting my two kids, I couldn’t afford a trip to California.
I decided that one day, when I could afford it, I was going on a wine tasting adventure. It took several years before I could make good on the promise to myself. In the meantime I started buying and tasting wines and eventually traveled throughout Europe, California, Washington and Oregon tasting wines. Heck, I’ve tasted wines in Kansas, Colorado, New York and Kentucky (just to name a few of the states) for that matter.
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Wineguys Radio and Elway’s
Listen Now Segment 1 of 4
Keith and William sat down at Elways recently and enjoyed food and drink. Gary Horner of Erath Vineyards was on hand to talk about the wines he creates and we say he does a great job. He calls into the show in segment 3. But first in this segment it is time for the intro.
Our guests in studio today…
- Dana Eastman www.omnihotels.com
- Jarod Schott www.chateaustemichelle.com
- Kelly Woolridge of Beverage Distributors
And the wines of Erath Vineyards Visit them at www.Erath.com Go buy some wine!
How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?
MARCH 9, 2012 · (Dearwinebuyer.com)
Another take on the trade dinner. Winebuyer turns party-crasher? So not cool, man.
Note: REPublic posts are reader-submitted.
There’s an old Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks’ tune called “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?”
That was running through my head at one of those Wine Tasting Dinner events at a restaurant not long ago. You know: the Meet the Geek type of event at a restaurant.
Restaurateurs are dying to be able to charge customers for someone else’s wine and this time it was mine. I don’t mind too much…it was a restaurant that has a bunch of my wines on its list and I don’t mind donating to their charity in some small measure. I was going to, at least, get a free meal out of it in exchange for coming one night, providing a bunch of wines from one of my portfolios and regaling those diners who’d signed up for this culinary delight with stories of visits and such to the various wineries whose wines were being featured.
The restaurant posted notice of this event on its web site and had a little flyer on the hostess podium advertising this “special wine & food pairing” night. They may have even advertised it in the local paper.
I bring plenty of bottles…you never know if something’s corked or quite how many people are going to show up. And then there’s those last minute walk-ins.
Much to my surprise was the arrival of a prominent retailer in the neighborhood. He was not on the guest list and I certainly didn’t invite him. Nor had I invited his girl friend.
Neither had the restaurant.
But there they were during the “passed appetizers” and aperitif wine tasting.
They even graced me with their presence at my table, which was so considerate of these interlopers.
The evening went along nicely, though and the group of patrons actually seemed to listen when I spoke about the wines, where they came from, stories of the hard-working souls who make the wines… Click to read more
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Wineguys Radio Oak at Fourteenth
Listen Now Segment 2 of 4
The Studio was a Full House and the guys from Oak at Fourteenth were at the Top of the Deck. Steven and Brian ...www.oakatfourteenth.com Bit about Oak: OAK at fourteenth opened in March 2010 to rave reviews, showcasing a seasonally inspired menu utilizing locally grown ingredients. After a fire closed the restaurant shortly after its opening, the team used the opportunity to re-imagine the design and streamline the offerings. With OAK’s re-opening, Redizowski looks forward serving a refined New American menu, maximizing the unique flavor profile of the oak oven and grill.
Bit about Steven: With experience in iconic kitchens across the country over the past fifteen years, Chef Steven Redzikowski has finally achieved his dream of owning and running his own restaurant. Like many chefs before him, that dream started with humble beginnings at the young age of fifteen, working at a local pizzeria in his hometown of New York.
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- Oak, Wine and The Monkeys (wineguysradio.com)
- A Beautiful Oak (seaofgray.wordpress.com)
Wineguys Radio and TV… OK we like Dear Winebuyer. We are trying to get to a place where we post something from them on a weekly basis (will be Sundays mostly) so here is this weeks out take.. Follow more at the end please (we believe we can all relate to this, after all it is all business in the end no matter what business you may be in). Enjoy the read and have a great Day everyone!!!
Today I met with a new account opening this week. I’m constantly amazed by how many people wake up one morning and think, “I know! I’ll open a restaurant!” with no other background in the industry. Some have never even waited a table in their life. And yes, I suppose there has to be a first step in every successful journey… and please forgive me for my jaded outlook… but I’ve seen so many of these come and go, even in much better economic times.
There hasn’t been a single instance where I’ve been wrong here. Every account I’ve had doubts about has eventually closed, sold, or filed for bankruptcy whether it be a few months or a few years down the line. I wish that wasn’t the case… I grew to like the buyers/chefs/owners/servers at so many of those ill-fated accounts. Of course, there are accounts that I feel are no-brainers that bite the dust as well, so I’m not always on par with my predictions. Still, I sometimes wish I could just lay it all out on the table at our first meeting… Read More at DearWinebuyer.com
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