This wonderful quote is imprinted on a pewter wine charm that currently hangs on my desk lamp. As I gaze upon it writing this, I reflect upon last Thursday when I found myself in a meeting with the owner of a new wine bar that is opening up in my town. It’s all the buzz within the community of which I have found myself connected to way beyond anything I could have imagined.
How did I get this meeting?
One of my co-workers and I were standing in front of the wine section within the shop where we work. We were going through and checking inventory and commenting on the choices. I told her even I was surprised to see a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on our shelf. Her jaw dropped. She said, “Cairenn! The Somm from the new wine bar was here last week said the same exact thing!” (Could it be that I do actually know about this stuff?) She goes on to tell me that she knows the owner, and encouraged me to get a meeting with him. To make sure to use her name.
I didn’t use her name. Not a name-dropping kind of person. I found his email address on the website and shot off an inquiry. To my surprise, he answered my email immediately and within 10 minutes I had a meeting with him. I truly had no idea what I was doing, and only hoped that maybe there was an opportunity to advance in my wine education.
My co-worker informed me the night before my meeting that the guy has a 3,000-bottle wine cellar at home.
Oh my. I figured I would get 5 minutes of his valuable time, just long enough for him to chew me up, spit me out and I would go home in tears.
I arrived early, and he was late. He walked off the elevator, marched right up to me, introduced himself and said, “Leave your things here. We’re going to take a walk.”
He proceeded to give me a grand tour of the hotel, banquet area (already booked 2 years out before they even opened). Down back stairwells telling me all about the plans for the entire street district of new businesses going in. Then we walked across the street, and he took me into his wine bar. From the moment I stepped inside, he was sharing with me the design, all the plans for every square foot of the place. Walking over cords and pipes and chunks of drywall, I was standing in the center where everyone in town wanted to be, getting the inside scoop. My mind was reeling.
I know several people in the wine industry whose heads will explode when I tell them where I was Thursday at 3:00 p.m while they were struggling to figure out how they were going to survive the opening of his bar. There I was, being told where each and every seat in the house was going to be placed. And then some. I was excited. I was impressed. I was also concerned for those other places in town – my friends in wine.
After the tour was over, we went back to the hotel bar and sat down for a chat. He explained to me that he wants every person he hires to be on the WSET or Court of Masters track, even the cashier at the front of house. His chef is going to be on “Beat Bobbie Flay”. The opening is 5 weeks out. He is going to create a place for me and wants me on staff in some capacity. He will contact me and make an offer soon.
Meeting over, and I wasn’t crying.
By the way, I sold all of that Montepulciano on the shelf at work in less than one week. I do know about this stuff and the next level of WSET courses starts in June.
Whether his offer is one I can refuse or not, we shall see. He’s not messing around and neither am I.