Educating Sommeliers Worldwide.
By Beverage Trade Network
"Immerse yourself in wine. Live it, breath it, drink it, talk about it constantly, go to wineries, visit vineyards, ask every question you have, network like crazy, live with roommates who work in wine too." - Chappy Cotrell
I'm a marketer, podcaster, sommelier, geek on vintage Land Rovers, and never pass up the opportunity for ice cream.
Joseph Jewell Wines.
The stories. I was curious about the story behind each bottle when I would go to a restaurant growing up. I'd stare at the back bar and just wonder what each bottle was all about. Then attaching these stories to the land and farming brought it all together. Plus, the best nights are those around the table with friends and a couple of bottles of wine.
The role of the sommelier is to provide an experience and to educate. All that's really changed is the medium which we now operate. It's no longer restaurant for many of us, it's now a tasting room, on Instagram, hosting our own master class or wine courses, or writing. If there is wine, there will always be a need for sommeliers, it's just how one personally defines that role in the time.
Make people feel comfortable and happy. We have to remember that oftentimes people aren't there (in a traditional restaurant setting) to learn something new or discover that "ah-ha" bottle. They're there to have a great time with whoever they are dining with. If they are comfortable and leave happy, then our job is done. It doesn't matter if they drink wine or not. I've often thought of the role of a sommelier is to be a liaison between the chef and the guest, while also being a server, back waiter, Maitre'd, bartender, and everything in between. We often act as the buffer between everyone in a restaurant, and as times are changing that role is simply expanding outside of the restaurant walls.
Chappy Cotrell drinking wine, Source: Chappy
What's next for me is building a wine company focused on sustainability, community, and mental health at a large scale.
Actually engage with people the same way you do on the floor, but online. Turn the camera around and be real with people, show them what's going on in the business, how you're working on ideas, and taking them behind the scenes.
You could focus on more cost approachable bottles and ship those out, or you could re-bottle into smaller formats. No matter how you do it, remember that people don't want to be lectured to, they want to have a conversation.
Chappy in meeting, Source: Chappy
Utilize great, and often free, digital tools/resources like Mailchimp, Yotpo, Google Business, Hotjar, SMS/Texting.
When I was buying for a restaurant, it shuttered my buying altogether.
In this time, focus on value and quality, but know your audience and what they want.
How does it work into my program and do I know that I can sell this in 3 months, or am I buying this as a long-term investment for the restaurant (cult cab, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, etc.)
Somm.ai was really helpful with selling higher-end wines to collectors at a good price point.
Cans are continually on the rise, people are going to be even more focused on alcohol content and wanting lower ABV drinks, and the demand for sustainability/organic/biodynamic is going to continue to increase.
I'm immersed in everything wine all day long
Chappy Cotrell, Source: Chappy
Chateau Musar - the history of the property and everything they go through to make wine each year is incredible, plus very affordable for the quality.
Immerse yourself in wine. Live it, breath it, drink it, talk about it constantly, go to wineries, visit vineyards, ask every question you have, network like crazy, live with roommates who work in wine too.
If you don't believe there will be, you're a fool. But hopefully, to-go cocktails and alcohol will still be a thing.