The SOMM Journal

August/September 2014

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32 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 { wine speak with eric hemer } I MET VIRGINIA PHILIP 14 YEARS AGO AS WE arduously worked our way through the Advanced Sommelier Course and Examination offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS). Upon passing the exam in 2000, Virginia was hired by iconic resort The Breakers in Palm Beach as Chief Sommelier of L'Escalier, their fine dining restaurant at the time, and entrusted her with the management of their Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning wine list and cellar. Since her start at the resort, Virginia has passed the Master Sommelier exam and been promoted to Wine Director, in charge of all of the resort's wine and beverage programs. She also runs her own wine shop and education center, Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy in West Palm Beach. Eric Hemer: Virginia, how many beverage programs do you currently oversee? Virginia Philip: Eight restaurants, as well as the ban - quet list, room service list and performing arts list [for The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach]. I know staff education is very important to you. Tell me a bit about your training program. Every day at pre-meal the sommeliers taste a wine and discuss an important topic related to wine or spirits. Today, we discussed the U.S. becoming the largest wine consuming market in the world. We also do a 16-week wine training course, which is manda - tory for our three fine dining restaurants. We cover one wine region per week. We also run numerous and varied incentive programs for the staff. Right now we are running a contest between our two restaurants by the pool deck. There are several incentives, but the overall winner receives an iPad mini. photos by Vanessa Rogers Eric Hemer, MW, MS Interviews Virginia Philip, MS, MW Wine Director, The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida Q: Q: Eric Hemer, MS, MW, Senior Vice President, Director of Wine Education at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., with Virginia Philip, MS at The Breakers resort in Palm Beach.

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