The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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32 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier. { the punch-down } interviews and ruminations with beverage industry pros by Jonathan Cristaldi Career Highlights: 1992: passed the Master Sommelier examination. 1993–1996: Northern California sales and marketing for Heitz Cellar in Napa Valley. 1996–2001: worked with Peter Granoff, MS as a senior wine merchant at Virtual Vineyards (the original 2003–2011: Education Chair/ Director of Education for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. 2011—present: consultant, instruc- tor/examiner, blogger and researcher. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Jonathan Cristaldi: You have a Master's degree in classical music and played professional trumpet. How did you end up in wine and have your musical talents somehow carried over into wine? Tim Gaiser : I worked in restaurants off and on from the time I was 16 up through graduate school in Ann Arbor and beyond. After grad school, my wife Carla and I moved to San Francisco where I played freelance classical music for several years and bartended to help pay the bills. Eventually the restaurant business, along with the birth of our daughter Maria. took over and bartending evolved to wine buying and finally to sommelier. As for a music and wine connection, there are many but none more important than the ability to keep an enormous amount of sensory information in your head either simultaneously or in rapid sequence. You're currently teaching a deductive tasting class. What's involved and where are you offering these one-day seminars? I'm teaching two different classes in the "SommDay Series" at the newly chris - tened Napa Valley Wine Academy. The first class is an introduction to deductive tasting and focuses on learning the deductive grid, cause and effect as applied to tasting, and the markers and objective factors for major grape varieties. The sec- ond class is all about sommelier skills in terms of proper wine service techniques, the language of selling wine and the role of the sommelier on a restaurant staff. There are two other classes planned as well: a class called "Tasting Mastery" on my tasting project as well as a seminar on strategies for test anxiety. Some of your work includes behavioral and neuroscience research, part of your "Tasting Mastery" project. What does it entail and how will it help people in the industry to be better tasters? My project focuses on the best practices for tasting—literally the strategies of top professional tasters. I was fortunate to work with Tim Hallbom, a behavioral scientist, in 2009. We tasted about a dozen wines together on camera and dur - ing the sessions he tracked my eye patterns and language patterns. Together we deconstructed what I do internally when I smell and taste wine. It was revelatory and I've continued the project over the last few years by interviewing MS and MW colleagues to model their tasting strategies. I've blogged about it quite a bit and needless to say it's changed how I teach tasting profoundly. How do you see the role of the sommelier evolving? The role of sommelier has changed a great deal over the last 20 years and will continue to do so as time goes on. Once the job focused on just maintaining a cellar and wine list and working the floor. Now there's usually a lot of manage - rial work involved as well as a great deal of education and a fair bit of writing as well—not to mention keeping up with social media. Learn more at MASTER SOMMELIER TIM GAISER DEBUTS "SOMMDAY" SERIES AND "TASTING MASTERY" CLASSES IN NAPA VALLEY Deductive Tastings Q: Q: Q: Q:

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