For anyone wanting to work anywhere in this industry, but with a focus on wine service, here is a very helpful post full of advice from one of America’s most respected Sommeliers Levi Dalton. There are some gems here that i have been given in the past by some of my own mentors, and advice i wish i remembered and followed myself!
There are a couple of things i would add to this.
Look after yourself – eat a reasonably balanced diet, try to eat at sensible times and try to get enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet. Trust me, Red Bull isnt your friend, all you will get after two or three cans is an unhealthy dose of the squits.
Find the story behind the wine. That is what will help to engage the customer, drawing them into the product, enticing them to try it.
Be adventurous with your selections. Have one or two choices that are off the wall, different or unusual. If you can offer them by the carafe or by the glass it will help to encourage experimentation.
Make the time to go to trade tastings. If you dont, no-one else will make it for you. Be firm, you need to gain the experience from talking to suppliers, winemakers and fellow sommeliers/wine geeks. This is where you will find out about the new trends, the next big region, the new grape variety and tone your experience.
Be truthful, you cant be expected to know everything. But if you are caught out with something you dont know, make sure that it becomes a priority to learn it.
Dont believe everything you read on the interwebs. While it can be a valuable source of knowledge and information it can also be full of crap. Check and double check, if possible to direct to wineries, for information.
Knowledge comes with a price. A lot of hard work and time is spent gathering that knowledge, make sure you use it to good effect, pass it on to your team, help them to grow too.
Some might find it hypocritical of me not to practice what i preach here. Much of this and Levi’s advice is solid, perhaps it will be a new years resolution of mine to try and live up to this a bit more!