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  • Writer's pictureMelissa L. Smith

September Newsletter

Updated: May 13, 2020

In the inaugural Enotrias newsletter, we cover a month in Northern Italy, passing the Certified Sommelier exam, and the launch of the Enotrias sommelier service subscription.

Summer is coming to a close, and with it rosé season is beginning to wane, vacations are over, the kids are back in school, crush is in full effect, and Fall is fast approaching.

While my Summer started with a month sabbatical in Northern Italy where I visited dozens of wineries and a handful of distilleries, I am still trying to digest the immersion months later. I learned first hand not only about the production, but the changes in vineyard practices for this generation of winemakers, and of course was able to experience Italian hospitality in incredible ways. I drank Valpolicella in Verona with an astounding amount of tartara di cavallo. I shared a bottle of 1961 Barolo by Mascarello Giuseppe in Treiso, with a restaurateur from Ensenada that had followed a very similar career path to mine. I stood on the top of a tower overlooking Barbaresco. I galloped through vineyards in Chianti, stopping to have jug wine with a picnic of farro salad and grilled sausage while our horses ate the wild peas growing throughout the region. I had dinner with Dario Cecchini that surpassed all other restaurant meals in sheer enjoyment of an impromptu community. I toured Rome with famed chef Chris Behr and a group of visiting chefs and somms from Danny Meyer’s restaurants in Manhattan, including Master Sommelier Jack Mason. I sat alongside the only private beach on Lake Garda, drinking a Campari spritz, and questioning whether or not I was actually alive in that moment of unsurpassed beauty.

And then I came back and had three weeks to study for and pass the Certified Sommelier exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers, all while moving a new client’s entire wine collection into their new custom built estate. The notecards over flowed, podcasts and audiobooks played nonstop in the car, I practiced opening bottle after bottle of cava (with a serviette), I blind tasted like my life depended on it, and I went to sleep staring at maps of wine regions from around the world. Have you seen the movie Somm? Yeah, it’s really like that. I passed, and could not be more pleased to have that new pin on my lapel.

I’ve been busier than ever with new private clients and corporate team building events. There was an unexpected rush for people searching out birth year wines for their children, wine pairings for private events, and of course those jet setting off to exotic locales and needing wines to accompany their travels. And then there were generous gifts that I was asked to source for clients of clients. It turned into a scavenger hunt for rare whiskeys and small production wines to be presented with pride and appreciation to the recipient. I even impressed myself with what I was able to procure for them.

All of this lead to me developing a subscription/retainer for sommelier services. These clients had already gone through the full inventory process with me, were set up with accurate information and valuations for their collections, and now required maintenance. In order to best serve them, and provide a valuable service, I began offering a monthly contract, where I would remotely manage inventory by entering wine club and other purchase information into their database, pair wines for private and catered events, maintain collections by sourcing wines to collect and drink, suggest wines that would be ready to drink from their collections, and include weekly deliveries to their on or off site wine cellar. Plus they get to say that they have a personal sommelier on staff. Cool right?

There are four spots left on the Peninsula (which include Thursday deliveries) and six openings for the East Bay (which include Friday deliveries). If you are interested in this service I am offering an introductory rate of $500/month with a three month commitment.

And with the close of this long overdue newsletter, I leave you with this:

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”

~ Paulo Coelho

Wishing you all the best,

Melissa L. Smith, CS

And now for something completely different:

Have you ever had to wrestle your coworkers in a sumo suit in the company parking lot? Maybe do that trust exercise where you fall back into your coworkers arms hoping they will catch you before you land on the floor? Enotrias offers a much better alternative.

Wine and spirits seminars as corporate team building events, employee/client appreciation, happy hour, and product launches are just a few examples of the reasons to pop bottles and learn from a certified sommelier in a casual on site, or a more formal off site atmosphere.



(Public Service/Personal Sommelier Announcement):

If you do not already have an accurate inventory of your collection I urge you to do so as soon as possible. Between the earthquake in Piedmont the other night, and having just finished the book Tangled Vines by one of the best writers and journalists in the industry, you NEED to have this documentation. Do not wait until disaster strikes. Also, open what you have and drink well. Tonight could be as good a time as any for that special bottle.

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