Tag Archives: sommelier

Why a Somm? Three ways to leverage an expert

If you’re like me, you want your dollar to go as far as possible. From restaurants to travel and wine, it’s not necessarily the cheapest choice, but more so receiving the maximum benefit from your investment.  In the case of wine, this can be confusing. Pricing doesn’t correlate with quality, producers that spend more on marketing than the production of quality wines often inflate the cost. So how do you know you’re getting an excellent value wine? Through trusted resource – your Somm. These highly specialized experts are skilled in recognizing varietals, vintages, regions and can help you select the best value for your dollar.

Here are a few situations to leverage a Somm and the approach to take. In every case that you find a bottle of wine that you love (or hate for that matter, just create a system for recording that it wasn’t your favorite) take a photo of the wine so that you have it stored for next time!

1) Restaurant

If you’re in a group for a dinner or event, ordering wine by the bottle is the way to go. Do the math – if more than two people in your group drink red wine, you’re typically in a better position to go with a bottle rather than a glass of wine. Besides, restaurants often present a longer wine list when selecting by the bottle.  So the next time your server offers the wine list, take a look and ask for the Somm, you might be surprised that it’s not a scary as it looks.

2) Wine Shop

Time after time I hear people say that they shop for wine at a grocery store. In fact, in a survey I conducted, 66% say they buy wine at a grocery store and 60% at a wine shop (there was overlap). That little hand-written card speaks to people, even me, who are in a crunch to purchase a bottle of wine for a party, dinner or just a quiet evening at home. The benefit of buying wine at a wine shop is access to these specialized experts called Sommeliers.  If you don’t know what you want, start with a price point, a place you visited and loved the wine (I  loved the sweet wines, known as ice wine in Quebec), or the food that will be paired with the wine and leave it to them!

3) Wine Consultant

Ever heard of wine consultant? If you’re planning a large event, wedding or catered party, it’s a must. From curating a wine list to food pairings, and wine education, wine consultants offer a low-stress approach to making decisions on wine. These guys can even come in handy if you’re looking for the perfect bottle as a gift or for a perfect date night.  They are typically sommeliers with access to top wines across the world. They often have great negotiated rates and expertise to make your event a success. If you have the budget and want great wines at great prices, I would go the extra mile.

Where else have you consulted a Somm? We’d love to hear from you!