The SOMM Journal

August/September 2014

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14 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 { shop talk } Master Sommelier Ian Cauble invented a new way to recom- mend wines to consumers with SOMMSelect. Top/SOMM Title "IT'S BEEN INTERESTING TO COME BACK TO San Diego and be congratulated by customers and colleagues who've heard the news," says Josh Orr, this year's recipient of the coveted Top/SOMM title, awarded by the Guild of Sommeliers. Orr is Sommelier and Bar Manager for Marina Kitchen at the Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego. The hotel has his picture hanging on the wall. "I guess this is what it feels like to be a minor celebrity," he notes. "Only I'm just selling wine in a restaurant." But the glory is truly his as he was judged by a panel of distinguished Master Sommeliers and former Top/SOMM winners. He competed against 200 of some of the brightest somms in the business. During the fifth annual U.S. championship, he took home the top Rodney Strong Trophy and a $2,000 scholarship. "I'm proud to bring this recognition to San Diego," Orr admits. "We're used to seeing these awards going to high profile names in San Francisco, New York and Chicago. Maybe we're finally proving that there is something great going on here in our community." —M. M. 5 Five New Masters The Court of Master Sommeliers welcomed five new members in late May. Held at the Little Nell in Aspen, and sponsored by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas, the by-invitation exam was attempted by 65 individuals from 18 states and two countries. Alexander La Pratt, MS (Atrium DUMBO, New York, NY) Andrew Myers, MS (CityZen, Washington, DC) Jarad Slipp, MS (RdV Vineyards, Virginia) Lindsey Whipple, MS (Vegas Vine, Las Vegas, NV) Pascaline Lepeltier, MS (Rouge Tomate, New York, NY) SOMM Idea WHILE YOUR CUSTOMERS MAY OR may not depend on you to choose their wine for their dinner at your restaurant or at their home, you are still an influential voice. You're not called "gate- keepers" without reason: You taste hundreds, maybe thousands, of wines a year and have developed your palate to be an author- ity. The general wine-buying public looks up to you. One somm is taking his influence a step further. "Every day can be a wine lesson," says Master Sommelier Ian Cauble, who brings his knowledge and expertise online, to the everyman and woman thirsty for wine education without the time to commit to classes. SOMMSelect offers online access to a different wine selection every day, at every budget. "It's not always the cheapest or 'best deal,'" explains Cauble, "but the fact that the wines are hand- picked makes them special." Being picked by a celebrity Master Sommelier makes them even more deserving of attention. One of the stars of the documentary SOMM, Cauble has worked at fine hotels and restaurants, served as a brand ambas - sador for an upscale Champagne house and, now still early in his blossoming career, has come up with a concept that is helping small producers increase their awareness in the super competi - tive wine sales arena. SOMMSelect sends out daily emails to its members, a one-min- ute read on the subject of the day. "This is the same info I would relate tableside," he attests. The wines are offered to members via the website. Choosing based on his own tastes and on the merit of the wines, without the influence of scores, Cauble maintains a suc - cessful operation with partner Brandon Carneiro, connecting the dots on style, education and somm confidence while helping further wine sales for producers and importers. After all, that's why we're all in business. See for yourself at www.sommselect. com. —Meridith May Josh Orr.

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