Will Work For Wine

Taking a sommelier class is no guarantee of a job in the wine industry. You can\’t even write it off on your taxes. This past January I completed the 24 week Viticulture and Vinification Program with the American Sommelier Association and the only certainty is people will ask me the same questions over and over.

\”What does that mean? Are you a sommelier now? What\’s your new job?\”

 Nothing and no. I\’m still working as a part-time server.

\”What does that do for you exactly?\”

I\’m full of fun factoids about Galestro soil and the Mistral winds.

\”I\’m serving paella for dinner. What should I pair with it?\”

Are you cooking it? Alka Seltzer.

I\’m typically more polite in person, though I must constantly explain that one class doesn\’t make me familiar with every wine ever made, or even the one you had with dinner with last night. I know people are trying to be nice and are just generally curious. But,  in our result-driven society, many seem unable to grasp this concept: how this course will affect my future is yet to be determined.

Like many things in life, you get out of it what you put in.  I personally loved all 24 of the weeks I spent reading about history, soil, climate and varietals. I liked memorizing, making flashcards, stressing and the anxiety of the weekly exams.  I went to Catholic prep school; I live for that kind of thing.  I also live for organization and foundation, two other things you will get from this course.  Sure you could sit at home and learn all the same information, if you\’ve got that kind of discipline. I don\’t.

There is a benefit to learning in a group setting. Call me Obama, but open forums of discussion with different points of view are a great place to come to conclusions and learn new things. This is coupled with the opportunity to meet some pretty spectacular people. Two of the best classes were lectures on Spanish wine given by Ms. Kerin Auth of Tempranillo. She provided maps, pictures, and first-hand accounts from her travels and work there.

I walked out of her classes, and the entire program, wanting more in the best way possible. Having completed the course, even so recently, I find myself in a mild state of panic. How can I retain all of what I worked so hard to learn and continue to build on that? My challenge is to parlay my passion into a career that will provide these things. I enjoy my part-time job as a server, but yearn for more challenging work and a more engaging wine program.  Having also performed the duties of manager, maitre\’d and host perhaps this is the time to move onto sommelier. Even with the sad state of the economy and the rising unemployment rate, I still feel hopeful that things will work out for me.  Grapes will still grow, winemakers will make wine, and we will all continue to drink.  Somewhere in that cycle there is surely a place for me to earn my keep.


2 responses to “Will Work For Wine”

  1. alex almeida Avatar
    alex almeida

    you always express yourself exquisitely on the page. you’re a beautiful writer, creator,
    person and friend and because of this you enrich those around you. i know i don’t just speak for myself.

    we need to discuss your being published- even self published- words and images- tastings-travels-thoughts…

  2. Jeff Kolton Avatar
    Jeff Kolton

    Francesca: having gone through the ASA class myself 5 years ago, without a job lined up in the wine field, I can feel your pain. But have hope…there are many ways to enter the field, and your ASA card will open a lot of doors. With your wonderful writing style, you could start by writing reviews – for stores or publications. Best of luck!

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