Lindsay: life must be hard, guy who gets paid to drink wine.
Me: sooooo hard!
Lindsay: I hear that job’s up there with underwater welding in hardness.
Me: What ever, those welders have no idea how hard I work
Lindsay: Slaving away.
Me: If you had to walk a mile in my shoes…
Me: Well I can’t usually walk after all that wine, but you know what I mean.
Seriously though, I don’t think I have written much about what I do for a day job. About two months ago I took over the wine list at a local Portland area restaurant. What does that mean? To give you some back story on me I have been a Sommelier for over 6 years now. I have worked for some pretty large companies such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and some much, much smaller mom and pop restaurants in that time. Sommelier for those who have not heard of them, and I can’t blame you if you have not, is loosely translated into, “butler of drinks”, and that is pretty much what I do; I study the drink. I’m paid to be educated and knowledgeable about beer, wine, spirits and mixed drinks. I specialize in wine, as most somms do, North west wines being my passion, though Spanish wine also holds a pretty lofty place in my heart; but i’m sure I’ll get into that in another post. As a somm I am in charge of tasting new wines and new vintages, yearly releases of wines, and selecting what wines will be on the wine list and what wines will not. I also maintain our inventory, order when we are low, put things on special when we have too much, and make sure that no one is going home with something they didn’t pay for. I also help create new drinks for the bar, and pick the beers we will be featuring on tap.
While it’s a lot of work, it’s not really what I would call, “high-stress”. People often make comments when they see me sitting with a wine rep or distributor and we have eight or nine bottles of wine out and open about how they want my job. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s not a fun job, it totally is. While it took a ton of training and lots of study to get where I am it was all fun. No matter how much I had to study I was studying wine. No matter how much I had to taste to develop my palate, I was drinking wine. It’s hard to be stressed about anything when you are done tasting seven or eight wines. But it’s a job that comes with a great deal of schmoozing and a fair share of people who are just down right rude. Part of my job is to answer questions about wine that my restaurant offers. Some of my previous restaurants had wine cellars that had between 800 and 1200 bottles. I’m no human encyclopedia and remembering everything about every bottle is impossible. Playing “stump the sommelier” can be a fun game as long as you are not a dick about it.
So that’s what I do. I sell wine, I buy wine, I taste wine. It’s great work if you can get it, and if you want to call it work.
I’ll leave you with some pictures I took yesterday at work