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The Most Asked Question: "Why are you a Sommelier?"

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

When ever I meet a new client, this question is ultimately what we first discuss. Why wine? Why Scotch? Why is this your career? How did you decide to become a Sommelier?

Pictured: (Left) Myself at the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, Scotland. (Right) Myself at Del Dotto Cellars in Napa Valley, California.

Food, cooking, and flavors, were always important to me growing up. Learning how to cook and being allowed to have my first glass of wine at dinner are vivid and defining memories, but I didn't think it could be my career. Like many creative minds who enjoy expanding their sensory experiences through food and wine, I also loved studying art, and I decided that I wanted to work with the best art collections.

I throughly enjoyed studying art history and the fine arts in college, and in retrospect it was because I enjoyed academic work and large research projects. In fact one of the department's more distinguished professors told me, "I am glad the future of art history is in your hands". I left my undergraduate program for a position at one of the best collections in Washington DC, excited to be working with art in the real world. As it turned out, my ideals about the art world did not quite match up reality and one of those realities was that the position did not pay much. So I took up a part time job at wonderful, small Spanish restaurant not too far from the museum.

This job gave me what I ultimately was looking for from my museum position: hands on experience, a close connection with the creative director, and a mentor to push me to fight for my goals. Working in this restaurant, I was able to realize the underlying passion that showed itself in art history, in hospitality, and in wine and food. At the core, I wanted to showcase a thought-provoking sensory experience to another person that expanded past the object that was in front of them and persuade them to be open to the abstract ideas that were encapsulated in this single, physical entity. Those experiences allow us to understand each other better and communicate in ways that words can not. Although art can also do this, now working with chefs and wine directors, I felt that I had met people who truly understood this mantra and also, most importantly, had fun doing it.

I was hooked. I quit my museum job, started studying wine more intensely, took classes, achieved certifications, and never stopped getting to know as much as I could about wine, beer, spirits, and the people who made them.

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