On childhood trips to Napa Valley, Haley Guild Moore’s father offered her cash prizes if she correctly guessed the wine varietals she tasted. But it was during her teen years, when her parents took her to Paris, that Moore’s American palate of hotdogs and mac & cheese was transformed forever. She experienced her first gourmet meal paired with wine, and “understood what dining was meant to be.”
Now she’s the Lead Sommelier at Spruce San Francisco. “The beauty of this business is that it attracts a very similar type of person: one who cares deeply about food and wine,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you travel in the world, the people are the same, and it’s that passion that connects us.”
Tip 1: Use Wine That is Slightly Sweeter Than the Dish
"It is important to remember that even savory food has varying degrees of sweetness. For example, there is a high sugar content in scallops. If you pair a bone dry white, it will make the wine seem austere and highly acidic."
While at a business lunch, management associate Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan enjoyed her crusted salmon paired with Sancerre so much she was inspired to sign up for a wine tasting class. Which led her to take more serious wine classes. Eventually she quit her six-figure job to become a sommelier.
Now she’s only the fourth woman in the United States to earn the Master of Wine title. “I tasted approximately 10,000 wines in preparation for the exam, and traveled to over 30 wine regions,” she said.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan
Tip 1: Think Bold Meets Bold
"Try pairings like Massaman Curry and Moscato d’Asti. Both are highly aromatic with bold flavors. In this way, they match perfectly as one does not overpower the other. The sweetness of the wine, as well as its low acidity, offsets some of the spiciness of the dish."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of PhotoBarmaley/Shutterstock.com
While working in restaurants as a college student, art major Emily Wines felt she needed to know more about wine to be a better server. So she read books about wine, tasting each varietal as she went along, and eventually fell in love with the subject. “I still haven’t stopped studying it,” she said.
Now as a Master Sommelier and wine director for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, she trains staff on how to share their knowledge with customers. “I love to turn people onto wine in a way that demystifies it,” she said.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of ferblues/Shutterstock.com
Tip 2: Pair Young Reds with Fat
"If you have a big, over the top red that might be too young to drink (but you just can’t wait), then go for foods with a good fat content. Lamb chops or short ribs should do the trick. The fat in the meat coats your mouth and protects it from the harsh, drying effects of tannins."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Deklofenak/Shutterstock.com
Leslee Miller was born into the hospitality industry: Her mom owned supper clubs in northern Wisconsin. Eventually Miller moved west to pursue her own hospitality career.
While teaching staff at the upscale restaurants she managed in Colorado, she became fascinated by wine. "Not just the taste of it, but who grew it, who touched it, how did it get these flavors?" she said.
Now a certified Sommelier, she owns Amusée, a wine-consulting firm based in Minneapolis. "I love watching the lights go on for people when they learn something new, while having fun with wine,” she said.