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Movie,Sommelier,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine Etiquette,Wine Hospitality

SOMM: Into the Bottle ~ This one is a hit for wine lovers

In all fairness, I watched he original SOMM, and reviewed it as “navel gazing?” Here’s the deal, I’ve been in the wine business since 1993. Combine that with me reading the book Cork Dork Bianca Bosker’s,  A Wine-Fueled Adventure,” which hit a home run, IMHO. I wasn’t alone in my assessment, of a few guys sitting around, holier than thou in their recent wine knowledge, pontificating. I remember thinking, “Boy, are you guys narrow in your views.”

I felt like The Little Red Hen, who said to the other farm animals:

  • You have not worked in a winery tasting room, interfacing with the public that way.
  • Not segued into a marketing department.
  • Not made day to day decisions on what to create for a new wine, what to call it, how to price it, how to get it into the three tiered system, working in a car for days with sales reps.
  • Not worked wine events behind the table
  • Not rounded up all of the winemakers, while also filled a panel, coached them, made sure all of the wines arrived, made sure the paper work followed it all, checked that all of the glasses work.
  • Not interacted with wine media, written provocative press releases and sent samples with tech data – oh, yeah, you created the tech data sheets, too.
  • Not traveled about 70,000 miles a year, year after year, doing wine and trade events.
  • Not created a national food and wine event, including finding enough food vendors.
  • Not started a wine advocacy group, built it, sustained it, put on wine events, and managed the staff to help you make it all come together, setting up, tearing down, and putting it into storage for another year.

What you on this panel have done – here is where I’m giving credit to you – is learned about:

  • Who’s top of the line in each region
  • What varieties exist and their flavor profiles
  • When the regions were first started ~History
  • Where wine region are located
  • What foods pair well with which wines

You’re a walking text book, and no one can take that from you. So, the movie SOMM accomplished that in your area of expertise.

For me, I wanted – nay needed more.

So, I’ve now updated my first review to give you some credit, that states,

“From SOMM: Into the Bottle, an additional opinion ~ “This initial SOMM is a great introduction into the behaviors of Master Sommeliers. You’re a fly on the wall, and you might even be intimidated, but you now have the second movie as a follow-up. You’ll find a few more than one woman in the movie, and they’ll be more wine proficient than just that one server of wine for the guys. They’re important women in the wine business, with a cadre of wine careers; from a grower, to winemaker, to a wine writer, to a wine educator. Then, there are plenty of guys on the other side of it. But, it is a good progression.”

Fred Dame, MS – What a treasure, and now there is a range of ages, too. And, I found he was playing a character as a hard to please consumer. He’s charming in real life. (Missing in SOMM is that clarity.) This movie is much more complete, much more interesting, as well as entertaining. I was taking copious notes. I learned a lot. That’s what anyone coming away from a movie should have, n’est ce pas?

[PHOTO: Dr. Carole Meredith, as seen in the film]

There are 10 sections, covering wine aspects.

  1. The Winemaker
    1. Dr. Carole Meredith says it best: “Can there be any other business where there’s so much bullshit?
    2. She’s not only a grower and winemaker, but her credentials include wine education at UC Davis.
  2. The Vintage
    1. I have never seen mushrooms growing on a cork, and I have been to Europe, but not seen that.
  3. The History
    1. Said by Carole Meredith: The history of wine is the history of Europe.
    2. I was reminded of my travels there, and it’s so true
  4. The Wars
    1. As you travel around Europe, you’re constantly reminded by the artifacts that remain.
    2. The US has none of that history.
    3. Prohibition wiped away what little we had.
  5. The New World
    1. Madeline Puckett – today – represents the US’s spirit of telling it like it is.
    2. She’s very funny, and definitely is the other side of wine, know as a Millennial.
  6. The Cost
    1. Lower cost of grapes equals commodity, huge production wines that are mechanized.
    2. Higher cost takes in everything that is painstakingly managed by hand/people to craft the product.
  7. The Barrels
    1. The Etruscan people were the people to use barrels as a vessel for wine – 700 BC.
  8. The Point Scores
    1. For consumers, it gives them a guide.
    2. For wholesalers, points don’t matter anymore.
    3. SIDEBAR: I can tell you this, for wine shops where commodity brands exist, Scores are still paid attention to
  9. The Sommelier
    1. Wine goes with food.
    2. They guide those decisions in restaurants, where people aren’t confident – or want to impress their own guests by having that relationship with the SOMM.
  10. The Memory
    1. Fred Dame is perhaps the most important SOMM in the US.
    2. For over the last 40 years, he’s perhaps trained over 40 SOMMs.
    3. The 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac, France is one of the worlds most important vintages.
      1. Magnum cost in US: $23,995
      2. None of us can afford it, but it’s fun to know, when someone asks “What wine would you love to taste?”

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