Lisa Redwine, Advanced Sommelier
As a Sommelier and Wine Director I would have never thought that I would do anything but create wine lists, educate staff and guests, and the experience the nightly thrill of taking care of a guests from the beginning of a dinner to the end. It’s the thrill of service, the art that defines a mere opening a bottle and transcends it into a seamless and flawless experience of handling the winemaker’s portrait of a vintage. It is as romantic as it sounds, and the rewards are many of running a high profile successful wine program.
As much as I loved being a Beverage Director there are a few disadvantages. Up until this year- I’ve never had a Mother’s Day off, I’ve missed countless sports games, and most of the parents at school have never met me. With that being said, I wanted a career change that offered me the same romantic experience as above but afforded me the priceless opportunities to grow in other areas of my career and be a more present parent. I had explored many opportunities within the restaurant and wine industry and finally a good friend suggested wine sales.
I never thought of being a wine rep, but as I learned more about the industry it became evident that these positions are as different as restaurants. I wanted to work for a wine company that made great wines and offered a global selection. I found that in Regal Wine Company. In every bottle there is a heartbeat and every sip has a soul. The wines are not manufactured, but rather created from the great vineyards that Jess Jackson had the foresight to purchase.
“But selling wine is really not a huge departure from being a Wine Director. The thrill of service is still there – taking the Saturday call when an account sold its last bottle of chardonnay by the glass, and they need more, or finding the perfect wine from Argentina for a tasting.”
Wine knowledge is key, I spend more time learning about the producers and the places where our wines come from than I did as a Sommelier. I learn daily, and it’s the challenge of translating that education into a sales goal that I find rewarding. Getting to know your buyer is akin to knowing your table and identifying what they need and how you can accommodate them. I often spend Friday and Saturday nights with restaurant staffs doing staff education. This keeps what I am learning and studying at the top of mind and gives me the thrill of watching staff learn.
As a parent, I am calling this my year of firsts. This was my first Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July that I have not had to work. I have had the opportunity to take my boys to birthday parties and school functions. It’s great to meet the parents I hear my kids talk about. I can’t honestly say I regret the years of working as a parent, I’m just now open trying new experiences. For me, I thrive when I am challenged learning new things. Being a Sales Representative gave me a fork in my career path that affords those goals and feeds my passion for all things wine.