TO COMPETE OR... ?

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 inclusive to the self-study-minded and to make the competition more accessible.

With this in mind, we are launching a series of regional "Best Sommelier Competitions', beginning in 2017. Winners if each of the five regional competitions with three runners-up will then move on to the next round in 2018, ultimately culminating in a national Best Sommelier competition. Our goal is to give hospitality wine professionals of all levels the opportunity to independently gauge their efforts against their peers.

 

Why compete?

While a sommelier in Paris, I was unaware of the notion of wine stewards competing. We worked double shifts five days a week, worked dinner Saturday, and slept most of Sunday. The idea - never mind the opportunity - to meet, hang out, share experiences and network outside of work was never presented to me as a young gun in the profession.

Guns or no guns, we have so little free time in this business, so few opportunities to mingle with our peers, never mind the potential to meet the people we aspire to become. But we believe the environment of competition allows for all of this and more. Competing can have several impacts on the competitor. It can catapult a career. prompting job opportunities in the near and long term; it can calibrate your efforts with your actual knowledge; and it can provide a level of unbiased feedback from which a future plan can be developed

 

Structure counts

The competition itself will consist of two initial parts. we re creating an online theory exam for a fee for anyone over 21 years of age interested in tasting their mettle in breadth and depth of sommelier facts and figures of wine and grape-growing and history the world over. This round will candidates, maximum 20 per region, to come to the regional competition in their area to compete in the live semifinal.

The regional semifinals will put the candidates throught a morning of practical food and wine pairing; Champagne or sparkling wine service; and live, oral blind tasting of three wines before a jury. The top three candidates will move to the afternoon of life restaurant action. Here, in a mock restaurant dinning room, candidates will demonstrate their ability to manage several tables at ones. Candidates will execute service; pair a seven - course meal; present, decant and serve red wine; offer aperitifs to yet another table; review and correct a wine list; and identify three spirits with their nose the only exposure.

Sadly I was never exposed to this level of fun and engagement in my early years in San Francisco and Paris ass a sommelier. But I can tell you from creating these life-altering events that they are worthy of your blood, sweat and tears to create your own memories and forge your place in this awe-inspiring world of hospitality we share.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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