Tanya McDonough’s Wine Tips for the Sommelier
Listen to your guests. Finding the right wine for everyone can be difficult at times. It is helpful to ask questions about what they like in a wine and what they don’t.
Hold regular staff education classes. I have found over the years that most people in the restaurant business want to learn. The more they know about all of the products that they are responsible for, the better they are. Servers who feel comfortable enough with a wine list to talk about new wines to their guests are more enthusiastic and confident, and guests recognize that.
Blind taste with friends and coworkers. I find it incredibly helpful and challenging to pull a bottle here and there and take turns blind tasting. It is important to stay on your game and keep learning.
Keep wines at the correct temperatures. Whites should be kept between 48°F to 52°F; reds 58°F to 62°F; sparkling wine 40°F to 50°F. It makes a big difference in taste, and most guests not only appreciate that but they also are becoming more and more wine savvy and will call you out on incorrect wine storage.
Travel as much as you can to wine growing regions. Take advantage of any wine trips that come your way. It has really helped me to absorb all I can about a place’s food, culture, and landscape by being immersed, even for a few days.