The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2018

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36  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2018 M aster Sommelier Bob Bath serves as an educator at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, while his wife, Julie Bath, is a partner at California-based importer Sake Tengoku. Both will appear at SommCon San Diego, set for November 14–16. I sat down with this wine industry power couple for a quick Q&A on the importance of mentorship, their role in educating young professionals, and their predictions for the future. You're both embedded in the education of wine professionals at all levels. What advice do you give when there are so many options available? Bob Bath: Our graduate wine and beverage program at CIA Greystone provides incredibly by Michelle Metter Bob Bath, MS, and Julie Bath, Partner at Sake Tengoku broad yet in-depth exposure to the industry and helps you find that part of the business you're really passionate about. Finding that passion and constant networking are my best pieces of advice. Julie Bath: Sake is inherently complicated in regards to language, terminology, and culture. Online sources are beginning to expand, but a good sake foundation can be obtained through many orga- nizations. I recommend the WSET Level 1 and Level 3 classes for sake and classes offered by John Gauntner. We're seeing a growing interest in sake—what do you think is in store for the category? JB: Over the last few years, the availability and quality of sake has vastly improved. The open-mindedness and creativity of chefs and sommeliers has made a huge difference. They are discovering that sake has a tremendous range in terms of flavor and style and works well with all types of Eastern and Western cuisine, in some cases better than wine. We are slowly breaking down the misconceptions about sake with consumers, and I see the category becoming a necessary part of any quality beverage program in the U.S. Bob, your session on the Garnacha grape at SommCon D.C. in July got amazing reviews. Why do you think this topic resonated? BB: It's all about quality, style, and value. Garnacha is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a truly exciting, versatile grape that's just as good at being a supporting actor in a blend as it is being the star of the show. You have worked in almost every facet of the industry. Do you feel like there's still unchartered territory for you to cover? BB: We have to continue to inspire and prepare the next generation of wine professionals and educators. Our industry focuses a lot on examinations and certifications, but we also have to focus on how to teach consumers and young professionals about wine in an engaging, fun, memorable way. I really want to get more into video presentations that will expose the wonderful world of wine to the largest audience possible. The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal are proud to serve as the media sponsors of SommCon San Diego (November 14–16). For schedule and registration details, visit

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