2015 and come and gone and what a year it’s been! I’ve taken huge leaps in my wine education, changed companies, survived a motorcycle accident and prepared the coming year to be a stellar one, with even more growth, education, sharing and hopefully no accidents to come!
This past April, the Culinary Institute of America, Napa Campus, hosted the 1st annual Sommelier Summit. This event is one of a few burgeoning around the country in which wine experts of the highest echelons were invited to share. Sessions on wine list development, wine writing, blind tasting, food pairings and then some, were available to all attendees. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience and one that I hope to experience again soon. Hopefully next time I won’t be in a fluorescent green cast (my accident remember).
Not long after returning from my Napa trip I began seriously thinking about my career and how wine was of secondary importance and it needed to become paramount. At that time, I made the decision to leave my company and join the team at The Patio on Goldfinch. This was one of my best decisions of 2015. While I have my hands in many “pots” at the restaurant, nothing stirs my blood like working with our staff and guests on wine education. Product knowledge is the hallmark of every great operation and we constantly strive to ever higher levels of staff engagement and great offerings for our guests.
As a part of my continuing wine education, in June, I enrolled in the Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 4 Diploma Course. This 2 year crucible of wine and spirits education is a knowledge masochist’s dream! For anyone seriously considering increasing their wine knowledge, WSET is a second to none program of study and I highly suggest it. Levels I – III are taught here in San Diego and Level IV is provided by Master Sommelier, Peter Neptune at his wine school in Costa Mesa.
- www.winesmarties.com Intro to Advanced WSET Classes by Lindsay Pomeroy
- www.neptunewine.com All levels as well as Diploma by Peter Neptune, MS.
By virtue of now being part of a relatively elite group of people studying for the WSET Diploma, I was able to apply to become an Associate Judge at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Founded in 1969, the goal of the competition was to award and recognize excellence in these beverages that we so love to consume. All entries undergo chemical analysis as well as blind tasting by a panel of experts, and me. I have been offered a set of three provisional dates in April (Spanish Wines), May (Italian Wines) and June (Tequila) and will write about these experiences as they happen. For now though I need to figure out how to get to London and back three times next year! Thank god for Air BnB.
Billy Nordmeier’s first loves are food and beverage. Having graduated from the Western Culinary Institute in 1999 he’s worked at all levels of food and beverage service and is most happy when sharing his experiences with guests and staff. Billy is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, Wine and Spirits Education Trust Advanced and current WSET Diploma student. He has completed levels I and II of the Master Mezcalier Program and has been lucky enough to have judged at the San Diego Home Wine Competition 2015. If he could have only one thing in the world, it would be World Peace… And Guigal’s La La’s (look it up).