I was out at one of my favorite wine restaurants, Spina on the Lower East Side this weekend. I’m friends with the somm there and he got together a few friends to conduct a blind tasting. We each brought in a bottle, and tasted them blind to test our knowledge. Needless to say, it was a blast. I also learned about a brand new film that I am sure will join the ranks of my food/wine favorites (Sideways, Bottle Shock)…it’s called Somm.
I am not a master sommelier, I’m not even a sommelier (want to learn the difference between the two? Click here). I worked in the wine industry for quite a long time. I learned a lot about wine; but nothing compared to those who hold this title. I have an incredible amount of respect for anyone who has the skill to attain these titles.
When people hear that someone is in the wine industry they immediately think that all you do is drink wine all day. This could be further from the truth. Sure, there’s a healthy amount of imbibing; but in my end there were a lot of spreadsheets, calls to customs, customer visits and carrying cases in high heels. And this was for a mere winery rep. For sommeliers, it’s not just swirl, sniff and sip.
Sommeliers study, A LOT. This means a lot of reading, a lot of research and a lot of spitting. Yes, the wine industry requires spitting (lots of it). While there is a bit of alcohol abuse in the industry (you know who you are), the art of wine is exactly that. An art. I have friends that can taste a wine and tell me not only what country it is from; but exactly what region, varietal, winery and even the decade. These things cannot be accomplished when you’re hammered or just because you “have a palate”. A palate must be trained and refined.
I’m super excited to see this movie. I want to see a lot of dirty little secrets exposed. I also want people to realize that working in wine takes discipline, dedication and love.