The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 124

30  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 In Defense of… Want to contribute In Defense Of an industry trend? Email for your chance to contribute a letter. W ente Vineyards, the Livermore Valley's most notable winery, also lays claim to one of the top dining experiences in the area—The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. Jorge Tinoco serves as their in-house Sommelier, but does a winery restau- rant really need its own somm? "I think it makes perfect sense for a winery restaurant to have a sommelier," Tinoco tells The Tasting Panel. "After all, every dish we put out has to be paired with either Wente wines or our global offerings. People expect that." The Restaurant opened in 1986, in part because Wente already had cattle and a full gar- den on its property. This provided the impetus to make the restaurant a showcase for wine in the then-desolate Livermore Valley—so it seemed only natural it should have its own somm, too. "We started with lots of Cabernet Sauvignon offerings like Georges de Latour, Louis M. Martini, and Diamond Creek," Tinoco says. "The vision was always to have great wines and great food." Clearly, the execution is working: The Restaurant has won the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for an outstanding wine list every year since its opening. "We started with an American-only wine list with 500 selections, and now I'm at 1,100 choices, including a lot of verticals, global offerings, and 40 wines by the glass," Tinoco says. "People are very loyal to our brand; they have been drinking Riva Ranch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for decades and the wines are the same, so the food needs to adapt." While Tinoco's position is relatively unique, his habits echo that of the average highly- dedicated sommelier who's utterly immersed in their work. Even when he's off the clock, Tinoco can't help but fall back on the instincts he's solidified throughout his career at The Restaurant. "Sure, I get invited to a lot of parties, and I go hoping to relax, but I end up pouring and talking wine," he says. "It's just my instinct to serve." Jorge Tinoco is the in-house sommelier at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore Valley, CA. A Winery Sommelier PHOTO COURTESY OF JORGE TINOCO by Michael Cervin

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - October 2017