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Getting Centered: Preparing for Somm Journal’s Central European Wine Panel

By Jessie Birschbach, Certified Sommelier, Wine Editor, Somm Journal Magazine The offices of Somm Journal/Tasting Panel/Clever Root magazines are located at the foot of an affluent suburban neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Often my colleague Allyson and I will stroll among this mix of old, beautiful Ranch-style homes and the occasional flashy McMansion just to get some fresh air and catch up on our social lives. Even though the intention is to take a break from grapes the conversation will inevitably land somewhere in the world of wine. On one of these recent turns gabbing about my up-and-coming vacation sailing along the Croatian coast I paused, suddenly realizing my lack of knowledge regarding Croatian wines. After a confession however my shame was quelled hearing Allyson’s similar disclosure; excepting the one native variety that we both exclaimed in unison (but pronounced slightly differently) — “Plavac Mali!” Yet the tide...

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Don’t be a Samelier

Maurice DiMarino | Certified Sommelier and Certified Cicerone The beverage industry has changed dramatically and gets more complex each year. Sommeliers who went through testing 20 years ago had a very different experience than those testing today. It has forced young sommeliers to look past France and Italy and discover wines from Croatia, Brazil, and other non-traditional regions. Many sommeliers are up for the challenge and build programs that stand out from the rest. Others are not up for the challenge, and I call these somms sameliers.   In addition to not adapting to changes within the wine industry, sameliers have not adapted to the fact that wine now shares the dinner table with spirits and beer. I hear more guests asking questions about the milk punch or the hops used rather than the grape. Many more people are enjoying a cocktail or craft beer with their meals rather than a glass...

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How to Revive a Failing Wine Placement

Will Costello, Master Sommelier What is the best practice when a “sure thing” turns out to be a “disappointment” on your wine list or by the glass? That amazing Côt you knew would succeed as the perfect Malbec replacement. The Malagousia that works perfectly with the crudo Chef just prepared is being poured down the drain more than in glasses. The small grower-producer champagne you curated is left deflated. How can you revive an obviously amazing wine choice which is being overlooked by all of your guests? When I am stuck in this situation, I always do my best to recognize the problem from its roots and find a meaningful solution; one which will see an amazing wine shine on your list and end in a profit and not an upset. On initial thought, training may be a great way to solve the conundrum of a slower moving product. Pour a bit at...

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Wine and the Experience Economy: Examples from Oregon

  By Carl Winston, Director, L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at San Diego State University   You may have read about the Experience Economy and how people nowadays are “collecting memories” via experiences of all sorts. Today’s winemakers, tasting rooms and venues are all stepping up their game to make wine experiences even more competitive.   I would argue you are competing not just with one another but also with activities ranging from movie theaters to hiking to shopping.   On a recent trip through Oregon, I stopped by the Willamette Valley to visit a couple of venerable “Dundee Hills” favorites. I had wonderful, traditional and expensive tasting experience, conversations with winemakers and a lovely day in the summer sun. As a “wine geek” this was a mini nirvana experience for me.   One or two of the places seemed more “down to earth” than others and some were superbly polished but a little “stiff.” I liked...

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One Million of You, Tasting Wine

Pam Dillon, Co-Founder, Wine Ring Remember when you first started tasting wine? I mean really taste. When instinctively you knew how much acidity or tannin a wine had. When you could taste the nature of the fruit. When finally, you could sense where the grapes were grown. [eltdf_blockquote text="Now imagine one million of you, tasting wine." title_tag="h2" width=""]   There are about a million wines in the world. No matter how many wines you taste every year, it’s not possible to taste each one. What if you could use your phone to taste a million wines? Turns out you can, more or less.   People and machines have begun to evolve together, and the future belongs to those who combine human expertise with the power of technology. Wine experts, especially sommeliers, will become ever more valuable in this brave, new world.   No longer is artificial intelligence or machine learning considered the province of academics. Soon every technology...

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