Rising Star Sommelier Rachael Lowe of Sixteen at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago – Chicago, IL
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Wine Tips for the Sommelier
1. Offer a well-rounded wine by the glass program. Providing wines from different regions and countries with varying price points gives guests the opportunity to experience new things. A well-rounded program also enables the sommelier to change things up constantly, which keeps the creative aspects of the job always within reach.
2. Create a good relationship with your chef. Maintaining an open conversation between yourself and the kitchen is imperative—knowledge of the dishes and their nuances will help streamline wine pairings, and it can be educational and eye-opening to hear what your chef has to say in terms of flavor profiles and combinations.
3. Change up your wine pairings. If you work in a restaurant that offers pairings with different courses, it is a fun creative outlet to offer different pairings on a nightly basis. Establish a price point for the bottles that you open and stay at or below that number; from there you can offer your guests a unique experience, while also tasting new wines yourself.
4. Make yourself approachable. Wine can be a daunting portion of the meal for some people, so it is incredibly important to be able to read your guests and be sensitive toward their needs and palate. Do not force a wine on someone if you know they are specifically looking for something else.
5. Educate your staff. The more knowledgeable everyone on your team is, the stronger the entire unit. Get sample bottles to open and discuss, bring in representatives from importers and distributors, compare regions, and get thorough information on all your wines by the glass for your servers. The more wine savvy they are, the better the experience for your guest, and the more support there will be for your wine program.