The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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Page 91 of 132

{ making it happen } HERE'S A CASE STUDY IN CHUTZPAH. In May 2014, at age 27, Emily Gold returned to her native Boulder, Colorado, after a two- year stint in Burgundy working as an export coordinator for Kermit Lynch with a vague plan to one day open a European-style wine bar. By August, Pour Ma Gueule—PMG for short—was open for busi - ness with an uncompromisingly esoteric, bottle-heavy list of small, mostly Old World producers that would require considerable hand- selling. It would have been a bold move for any young restaurateur in a small college town that already had its share of enocentric dining destinations. For one with zero experience in the hospitality industry to date, it was downright audacious. "I didn't sleep for a really long time," Gold laughingly admits. But her risk has paid off handsomely, and she has since been able not only to expand the list from one page to two but even to raise its aver - age price point. No doubt her success is due in part to the advice of numerous local colleagues (including Master Sommeliers Bobby Stuckey and Brett Zimmerman, respective owners of Frasca Food and Wine and the Boulder Wine Merchant): "Everybody in town was incredibly helpful. I'd literally never looked at a purchase journal before, and they showed me the ropes." Yet listening to herself has proven just as important. "So many people told me, 'We know you don't want to, but you really do have to have a Malbec by the glass.' And I was like, 'But why? People can go literally anywhere else for that!' I have no interest in selling wine I don't love, and I'm a big believer in choosing to go to places that offer the things I want—not the ones that don't." Granted, Gold has instilled that belief in her staff as well as her clientele only through plenty of on-the-job trial and error. Given the double-edged sword of her inventory—obscurity on the one hand, low allocation on the other—she's had to learn the fine art of "suck - ing it up," asking reps for training samples while dipping into her own limited supply for tasting classes. Her servers, in turn, "have become so skilled in moving to the outskirts of the customer's comfort zone. 'OK, you only like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc—what do you like about it? This might not be the wine you're imagining, but based on what you're telling me, I really think it will fit. If you hate it, we'll get you something else.'" As a result, "most of the people who come in here now understand what we're doing and appreciate it. It just gets easier and easier." An audacious success: Emily Gold at PMG in Boulder, CO. A Case of Mentoring HOW EMILY GOLD OF PMG, BOULDER, COLORADO, MADE HER MARK by Ruth Tobias / photo by Jennifer Olson { }  91

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