The SOMM Journal

August / September 2018

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Page 22 of 124

22 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 Dear Good Somm/Bad Somm, I recently took part in a wine competition in which the grand prize was a free trip to France. While taking the test, I happened to notice the somm beside me cheating on his exam. He later won with flying colors. I'm embarrassed to look like a sore loser, so I tried to let it go, but several weeks later I'm still very bitter. What should I do? Sincerely, Do Snitches Really Get Stitches? Dear Do Snitches Really Get Stitches?, The healthy-minded advice in this case would be to "let karma run its course." If you think this cheating sommelier's punishment is having to live with the consequences of his actions or some similarly altruistic notion, you're absolutely right! It this case, it just so happens that the consequences are an epic trip to France, so you can be sure he's living just fine. I'd say that rather than letting this secret fester, you should inform the organizers of what you witnessed so they can run a more fair competition next year. Best, Good Somm Dear Do Snitches Really Get Stitches?, Cheating is human nature. People do it in business, sports, and politics, so why wouldn't they in wine as well? The real question here isn't "Should you snitch or not?"—it's "Why are you com - peting in these ridiculous competitions and torturing yourself?" If you're truly a good somm, you could organize your own trip with plenty of freebies along the way. I got into the wine business at a time when there were no Court, Masters, "pins," and competitions, so memorizing flashcards for a test doesn't impress me. Instead, why not take two somms of a similar weight class, place them in an empty fermentation tank, and have them battle it out using nothing but corkscrews and the jagged handles of broken decanters as weapons? That contest would result in some stitches a somm could be proud of! Yours, Bad Somm Dear Good Somm/Bad Somm, I recently heard robots may soon take the places of line cooks and waiters. Could sommeliers be next on the automation hit list? Sincerely, No Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto Dear No Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, You're not alone in your fears. AI is certainly gaining ground not only in the manufacturing sector, as it has been for years, but in service as well. Automation has the potential to change the way we do business at every level of society. Who's to say a robot couldn't be taught to smell and taste wine, deciphering soil types and varietals by the chemical compounds present in any given glass? Or, at the very least, retrieve, open, and pour a bottle? That being said, I do think the sommelier position can withstand the onslaught for the foreseeable future, as it seems diners still enjoy the excitement and relatability of human interaction. That's our edge! Best, Good Somm Dear No Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, If the "excitement of human interaction" is our last remaining edge over a robot-somm apocalypse, I'd say we're doomed! Judg - ing by the many aloof sommeliers I've encountered recently, we'd better pray a guaranteed minimum income system is established in our country quicker than a Champagne cork goes pop! Yours, Bad Somm This column is a parody and does not reflect the views of The SOMM Journal. Follow the columnists at @goodsommbadsomm on social media and visit their page at PHOTO: RTYPE VIA ADOBE STOCK

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