Sommelier Theresa Paopao
Oleana | Boston, MA
1. It’s all about the food. As a sommelier, there is no one that eats as much of your restaurant’s food and drinks as much wine as you do. Keep your menu in mind when you’re choosing wines for your list. Your cumulative experience and intuition will tell you if the wine works with your cuisine. Trust yourself.
2. Keep an open mind. It’s easy to lean on “red with meat” and “white with fish” but some of the most creative pairings come from highlighting the supporting flavors on the plate instead of the main protein. There is never just one perfect pairing.
3. Think outside the bottle. Don’t be nervous about selling wine with unconventional packaging or closures. The wine will always speak for itself. If it tastes good to you, it doesn’t matter where it was before it was in your glass.
4. Don’t forget about beer! Beer works well with many spicy dishes, cheeses and even desserts. The range of beer styles available allows for endless pairing possibilities.
5. Talk it out. Sediment, screwcaps, corked wine, boxed wine… People have questions on all of these topics, but most are too shy to ask. When the opportunity presents itself to have a conversation, take it! People love learning new things, especially about the ever-confusing world of wine.
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