Somm to Sales
Dear Good Somm Bad Somm,
I am considering a move from Sommelier to a career in Wine Sales. I’m a little bit fearful as it is a big change. Any advice?
Somm To Sales
Dear From Somm To Sales:
This is a great question!!! Transitioning from being a somm to sales is a big change!!! A few questions for you: are you ready to leave the floor and “drag the bag”?
There are quite a few pros and cons to consider before making the move. On a positive note, this is a new opportunity to grow and learn. If you find yourself mastering everything there is in a restaurant, a career in sales can offer you a new challenge and a new adventure. A huge perk is that you will have nights, weekends and holidays off and you’ll be off the floor! In addition, you will not be boxed in by four walls anymore – you will have the opportunity to meet a lot of different buyers and visit many different restaurants and retail shops. Also, one thing about being in sales is you will be on the other side of the table – although still work, there is an opportunity to dine.
Alternatively, consider the challenges you will face as a salesperson. In a sense, this position is like running your own business. There is no set schedule and it requires you to wear many different hats and be organized. Can you sell? Can you look at a wine list and find opportunities? Are you persistent? How do you feel when you get “no” for an answer? Take an honest inventory of your skillset. Many sommeliers have what it takes to make the transition. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Lastly, instead of working from a global world of wine, you are only exposed to the wines in your portfolio. So, be sure this is a portfolio you love.
Dear Somm To Sales,
This is completely your decision and I really don't care what you do. BUT, I just want you to know that you if EVER come to my account to sell me wine: there's a few rules you have to abide by if you want to do business at my place.
First of all: Don't ever show up without an appointment. And don’t ever call me to try to make an appointment. And don't text me either if for some reason you found my cell number. Only email me with the subject line "Help Please, Somm God, Grant me an appointment."
Then, if I so choose, you will be granted an appointment. But don't arrive too early and don't be late. You have a 45-second window for which you may arrive and begin pouring.
When we taste, please keep in mind that the true expression of my palate is tantamount! You must not interfere with my ability to taste in an unbiased fashion. So don't wear any cologne or perfume or make up or hair gel or nail polish or cream. Don't use any breath mints or eat any strong foods prior to arrival at my account. And please: no bright colors and/or confusing patters like plaid, pin stripes or polka dots...this may also create an unwanted neurological sensation that may affect my palate.
And please: Do not tell me wine scores. These may affect my judgment. And don't tell me the wine prices. And I don't want to see the label or know the producer or wine maker. Or the consulting winemaker! And I don't want to know where the wine is from or what the grapes are. I should be blind tasted in utter silence, poured from plain white paper bags, the wines should be introduced only numerically and I should be given no technical information at all.
And I never buy in the room. So don't ask for an order. Just pack up your wine and leave without making any pleasant chitchat as I will still be processing the experience in my mouth and will not be able to speak.
If I like any of the wines, I will contact you. So there is no need for you to follow up with me.
Other than these simple rules, it's an easy job.