The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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4 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2018 IN MY DAYS OF SERVICE AT SPAGO, I'd watch Philip Dunn strut about the floor with a bit of smirk and a puffy chest. He almost reminded me of a dapper, formal version of Foghorn Leghorn, and although this probably sounds magisterial, he was anything but. Guests adore him. It could be his genteel Montgomery, Alabama charm that keeps them captivated, but I think it's because his open-mindedness and sheer love of wine is palpable. The Southern gent runs one of the best wine programs in Los Angeles, but you'd never suspect this given his modesty and receptiveness. However, watching guests fall under his spell isn't quite why he ranks as one of the people I most admire in the industry: It's the benevolent support he provides to his team of somms. Philip's generous directorship is the kind that breeds loy - alty—undying, bona-fide, free-willed loyalty. The Advanced-level somm knows a whole lot about wine, weather, and whiskey. He helped to make me a better sommelier and did so with patience and kind- ness. During the days and nights spent in the wine room or cellar with Phil, the knowledge he'd impart felt more like being let in on a secret rather than a hearing a lecture, and what's more, he was your audience just as much as you were his— your biggest fan, even. That's a rare quality for a person in his sort of position. Philip Dunn is the best man I've ever worked for and I'm really not sure where I'd be without him. { vox populi } Who Do You Admire? JOHN TEELING IS A CERTIFIED SOMMELIER, world traveler, and General Manager of Calcareous Vineyard in Paso Robles, California, but he's also my good friend, mentor, boss, and neighbor. As a friend, John is generous and kind. He previously owned a fine-dining restaurant and international wine shop and has shared his cellar with me, as well as his knowledge and adventures in food, wine, and hospitality. Beyond mentoring my enthusiasm for wine with patience and encouragement, he also helped me pass the Level 2 sommelier certification. As a boss, John is a good listener. He's expressive, funny, fair, and firm, and in the heat of a challenge, he maintains a steady outlook that's bigger than the current situation. Finally, as a neighbor, he understands that life takes a village, and I am so grateful to be a part of that village. Philip Dunn, Wine Director at Spago Beverly Hills by Jessie Birschbach, Managing Editor, The SOMM Journal John Teeling, General Manager at Calcareous Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA by Jacqui Pailing, In-House Sommelier, Calcareous Vineyard John Teeling, General Manager at Calcareous Vineyard. To submit to "Who Do You Admire?", email Managing Editor Jessie Birschbach at

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