September 1, 2017

Regulations Can Help With Definitions, but Nothing is Simple 

Count me as a tremendous fan of "Organic Wines". But the notion of organic is not the same as reality. When you look at the agri-business of non-grapes, the rules, laws, and guidelines are sketchy at best. A perfect example: I have three children; my wife and I went the route of buying organic fruits and vegetables and making purees for our first child. Then our pediatrician informed us that the rules for "adult" fruits and vegetables was so lax that is better to buy...

August 1, 2017

Defining 'Natural" wine is just a first step

Hearing people speaking about natural wines is problematic from the start: Are all the other wines somehow unnatural? What is behind the loosely used word? I will endeavor to create a new lexicon for the simple task of clarity, without imposing a position on these wines and my experience of them.

Let's begin with the reality that defining, organizing and codifying wine is effectively modern phenomenon. Wine as beverage has not had a broad base of consumers until just about 100 years a...

July 1, 2017

Travel can help keep your 'Real Life' in your wine life 

Back in March, I first wrote about my trip to Porto, detailing a process of sampling wines from both the Duoro and Oporto for a future organized tasting for U.S. importers looking to bring in new  wines from these areas.

Returning last month to Portugal to teach a seminar reminded me that I truly believe that traveling is key to many elements of our business. no not the "boondoggle" version mistakenly held by people who think it's party-city-all-night-long. I mean the...

June 1, 2017

When has a guest crossed the line from 'Enough' to 'Too Much'? 

There was  news story last week, it goes something like this: A man walks into a bar.... no, seriously. Customer bar hoops between two places; drives motorcycle to a friend's house; hangs for a few hours jumps on motorcycle to ride home. Gets into and accident and crushes his leg, crippled. The victim hires an attorney and sues the establishment that he claims overserved him resulting in a crippling accident.

That horrible yet preventable scenario. Set asi...

May 1, 2017

We are never better thank when we share out experience

It has been a great month. I have two former students who have or are about to have their first book published and there are few greater experiences then enjoying the success of someone who went through a program you designed!

Kudos to Bianca Bosker for the outstanding success of her recently released book, “Cork Dork.” Not a fan of the title although I like it better than ‘cork geek;’ ‘wine nerd,’ etc. I will leave you to discover the content on your own.

A soon to be rele...

April 1, 2017

The place, the people, the wines - the past informs the present

Let me tell you: Oporto is a must-visit in your future travel plans. First, the city is ancient dating from approximately 8th century BC, with buildings that sometimes look as though they date all the way back. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon, the bellowing church bells signal the nature of the beautiful people of Oporto and their many places of worship. The winding, hilly cobblestone alleys are excellent for a Nat Sherman torpedo and a tourist center glossy map.


March 1, 2017

The real question is how you can elevate your own career

With the new year in full swing and winter nearly in the rear-view mirror, we look forward  to Spring renewal - and, for the faint of heart, sommelier completion season.

We at American Sommelier have an aggressive program in the work to reinvigorate and create more opportunities to demonstrate just how much we have learned and know. It has been our desire since the first Best Sommelier in America Competition in the late 90's to develop a series that would be more inclusiv...