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 released book on the beauty of pink by Victoria James should be available just in time for rose season, ‘Drink Pink’  I always have a lot to say, but again self-discovery is the road less travelled, so come with me on these two and write in your thoughts to BevMedia.


Why are these two events of import? I believe that sommeliers, tire of the rigors of the various elements of the ‘metier,’ and can occasionally lose focus and interest. What does one do to keep from losing site of why we love this job, career, industry? Pay it forward or back! I think that we are never better than when we are sharing our experiences and passions with someone who is dipping their toes in the ink of hospitality and are looking to see if it is a fit, especially if it is wine related.

I am empowered by the successes of the people who have come across American Sommelier’s classes and gone on to change their stars as a result. Writing a book is beyond the pale in terms of accomplishments, best seller, the golden ring. For the experienced sommeliers to whom I speak, my thoughts are far less lofty.

         Take a minute from your day, every day and pull aside one of your colleagues or employees and treat them to a moment of your time, sharing a memory of what made you so excited to call this business a career and not a job!

         An example is so simple, ‘I remember when I first tasted Woodward Canyon Cabernet vintage 1988, it was the first time I experienced coco powder in a wine. How does this make for mentoring? People would often ask if they (the winemaker) add coco powder in the barrel or tank.’ While that may seem humorous, the questions of this ilk are more frequent than you would like to think. Giving the next generation the opportunity to explore what seems evident or nonsensical without repercussion or fear of being mocked is a great place to be able take an up and comer and give them space to grow. Where the mentoring is most needed may very well be in service.


Helping hands

       Having just kicked off the sales, service and buying seminars, I have noticed a great interest in what happens behind the curtain as a sommelier or beverage director. The fiscal responsibility of a sommelier is significant to the potential success of a restaurant. Keeping your inventory in line, making smart, economic choices for your list and knowing how to not only treat your customer but also communicate with you staff are all key elements to a successful program that so not involve the actual wine list itself.

I believe that we sommeliers often assume facts not in evidence.

        We expect our team to know things and when they don’t, anger enters the situation instead of education. I have explained to many budding sommeliers that their success will be directly proportionate to their effort in a given position, to the senior sommeliers I say the same thing, your underlings success will be directly proportionate to your investment in personal time with your staff, Mentor!


© American Sommelier, Inc 2017

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