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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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Are Short Wine Lists Truly Back in Style?

Randy Caparoso, The Somm Journal “Water, water, everywhere,” wrote Coleridge, “nor any drop to drink.” That’s how I’ve always felt about the palatability of big wine lists—in my book, anything over 150 selections. Way back in the late 1970s I read about Kevin Zraly, who said, “Eighty percent of our wine sales always came from about 40 wines . . . the other 800 to 1,200 wines on our wine lists [at New York’s legendary Windows on the World] were no more than window dressing.” As a young sommelier I took that to heart. In fact, inspired by Michelin-starred French chefs who hand-wrote their dinner menus each day, for a short time in the early ‘80s I tried writing out (and photo-copying on parchment) 50- to 60-selection wine lists—until computers came along, at which point it became even easier to bang out our short wine lists, several times a day if we wanted. Freedom! [eltdf_blockquote...

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Atmosphere Engineer

Woody van Horn | General Manager, Bracero Cocina de Raiz As we look at our field of work, one of the duties that sets sommeliers apart from the rest of the wine industry is the act of service, which goes hand-in-hand with hospitality.  I would raise the point that a strong element of service is in fact, showmanship.  From Wikipedia:  Showmanship, concerning artistic performing such as in Theatre, is the skill of performing in such a manner that will appeal to an audience or aid in conveying the performance's essential theme or message. Profitable showmanship frequently appeals to pathos. Showmen aim to display goods with tact in order to sell an object or a show. As the sommelier profession changes and evolves, and as millennials shape our industry, it is important to respect our past while also improving our industry standards by embracing and guiding this evolution. As the new generation takes over the floor...

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