Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Humble Pie – it must be my favorite dish, because my wife often likes to serve it to me whenever I am wrong about something (which is usually 99% of the time). Take for example the fact that I feared that my assistant Shannon, was not ready to take the first level of her Master Sommelier test. Indeed, it is a difficult program, and a very selective process attaining one’s Master Sommelier certification. Shannon is very young, and hasn’t been in the business for very long (despite the fact that Liquor Direct is a family business, run by her father). Those in my position would be understandably concerned.

Shannon, along with one of our newest team member’s, Corey S., ventured to Indianapolis Monday to undertake their first level MS test, and I am happy and proud to report that they both passed the exam. To coin an old Genesis album (I am old), “And then there were three.”
I have been really hard on Shannon. Her position here is unenviable in that she has a lot to prove. And no, I am not referring to gender in this business, which is tough enough, but that aspect is getting better. No, I am talking about age. Most people in this business tend to look at experience first and foremost, and a long, track record in the wine industry goes a long way toward respectability. Shannon is at a disadvantage in that department - she is in her early twenties. Yet what she lacks in experience, she more than makes up for it in intelligence and exuberance, and unfortunately, I don’t often give her enough credit for those.

I will more than likely continue to be hard on her, if only to try and motivate her to become the best she can be in this field. I only hope she can understand where I am coming from, and I hope that she sees that respect is something she is earning, and has earned, from me and from her peers.

Congratulations to both Shannon and Corey for passing, and for taking the first step toward becoming a Master Sommelier. And pardon me for I have to finish eating this last bit of pie...

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