When I was 19 I got hired to be a server at a new casino restaurant that’s focus was going to be on local and sustainable ingredients. A real trendy farm to table type deal. As with any new restaurant we had full menu tastings and rather extensive beverage training. It was the last hour of every day and seeing that I wasn’t 21; all I got to do was take notes while everyone else drank their faces off. I looked forward to it none the less because the beverage director was everything! A certified sommelier, studying for his advanced exam: Crazy passionate, with an air of confidence and grace that I still probably don’t but definitely did not posses back then.
I remember the first wine tasting we had. Another server who had just came from managing a chain restaurant of some sort sat across from me picked up one of the 3 glasses we all had in front of us, swirled the contents around and brought it up to her nose. She started to spout off all of these descriptors. Black fruit, basement, rotten forest floor.
Uh, what now?
I was super confused but also was not about to let everyone know that I was a total amateur (lol because what else would you expect from someone who’s not of legal drinking age) so I picked up the glass and emulated what she did. ‘Smells like rubbing alcohol to me’….
The rep finished pouring everyone’s tastings and picked up one of his glasses, doing the same ‘routine’ that the girl had just done but adding even more adjectives.
He then went on to tell the story about the winery, the family, the region, grapes and so on. Something as simple as fermented grape juice and yet there’s so much history, science, art, economics and politics behind every bottle. I was extremely curious about wine at this point but had just finished a CNA course and was planning to pursue nursing so I resolved that I would learn what I needed to know for the job and just continue to focus on my studies.
Some time passed and it was becoming apparent to me that nursing was not my jam. I freaked out. This was the path I had chosen; everyone knew it. The thought of letting my family, friends and teachers down was so overwhelming that at one point I just decided that going through with something I despised and could not see myself doing for any period of time was better than appearing to be a failure. In the end I didn’t even forgo nursing school because you know it’s my life and I know what’s best for me; I let go of it because there’s so many brilliant, compassionate people who feel like it is their life calling to take care of people; day in and day out and they are the one’s who need to be in that position.
So fast forward to a very unassuming day complete with sushi, tea and Netflix. I’m scrolling through the ‘popular now’ lineup and Somm pops up.
The description read;
Four sommeliers embark on an all-consuming course of study for the prestigious (and nearly impossible to pass) Master Sommelier exam.
My attention span is pretty crap and I typically do other things while shows and movies play in the background but I got sucked in, completely enamored by the people the movie followed and the complete immersion/dedication that goes into becoming a master somm. Thirsty for more I googled ‘sommeliers’ and down the rabbit hole I went.