Sommelier who doesn’t drink – Amanda

Some people find their passion for wines in an utterly romantic story of how they chanced upon a beautiful wine so elegant it completely blew them away. For someone who does not drink, there’s absolutely no way I have a fancy story like that to tell. My name is Amanda, I am a sommelier and this is my story.

I wasn’t a very smart kid and was a constant worry for my parents because I was (to put it bluntly) untalented in every way possible. I couldn’t do well in school, hated playing music and definitely wasn’t fantastic at sports. On top of that, I had the memory of a goldfish and my attention span was ridiculously short.

On my seventh birthday, an insurance company sent me a birthday card decorated with stereotypical occupations in the society. There were firemen, businessmen, teachers, doctors, chefs and lawyers. I kept that card for years, wondering what untalented me would turn out to be someday.

Finally, the day had come for me to decide which route I was about to take. I didn’t fare so well for my O-level and my parents wanted me to be a physiologist, psychiatrist and a whole lot of ‘ists’ that I knew I couldn’t excel in. They filled up five choices on my form, and I filled up the sixth with what my best friend chose as her first. Only because she highlighted one thing: drinking wines in class is so cool.

I landed in Temasek Polytechnic’s Culinary and Catering Management diploma programme and did remarkably well; Learnt all sorts of crazy cooking techniques, served in our all-student restaurant which I enjoyed doing, aced all my subjects but ironically, I was struggling to stay afloat when I studied wine.

For me, learning about wines was like learning how to be a farmer; I had to learn about the sun, the earth, soil types, minerals, the growing cycle of vines, how many different types of grape varieties, where they thrived best in… and many other details. Intense as it was, I blindly memorised the information and passed with a depressing C-grade.

There was one thing I couldn’t memorise, the palate.

I remember how I would be awed whenever wine lecturers claimed they could smell and taste tropical fruits, berries, plums, honey and grass from the very same wine that I had in my glass. I tried hard, and at one point I was close to give up on wines completely but I was constantly reminded why I was here in the first place. It took me a while but I started to detect simple fruits like apples and pears, moving on to blackcurrant (Ribena helped me there) and cherries. I consulted one of my lecturers, Mr Jeremy Sim, in hope that there was a short-cut to improving my palate but all he said was, ‘It takes practice. There is no such thing as talent, just sheer hard work.’

So my journey began. I spent most of my days sniffing fruits and vegetables in grocery store; sitting by the window noting how rain smelled like, nosed the soil in my grandma’s potted plants when it’s dry or too wet. I grew inquisitive, and wines made me realised how we have taken simple things in life for granted because of our overly busy, hectic lives.

Moss Wood Winery

In 2010, I won a sponsorship to make wines at Moss Wood Winery in Margaret River, Australia. The ten days wine making experience was exceptional. All the information I was previously memorising started to take form. No longer was I confused with the technicalities of wine making and my palate was pushed to grow day by day. I graduated my module with a high B.

On my last year in school, I finally answered the question I asked since I was seven: I wanted to be a sommelier. I didn’t have a clue on how to go about being one, so I decided to start by attending wine tastings. By providence, I met Gerald Lu, who became my mentor. In two years, I grew tremendously and achieved several awards, one of which was Best Taster 2013 in the Singapore Sommelier Competition. My knowledge of wines grew so rapidly that looking back at the open book tests that I used to struggle with in school makes me wish that wines were that easy.

What fascinates me the most in my career is that my inquisitive nature grew stronger by the day. The more I knew about wines, the more questions I would generate. As a sommelier, meeting winemakers was a given to me, and I enjoyed how effortlessly they can respond to my questions. With each winemaker’s help, my painting of how vines are grown, what kind of soils they’re grown and how the climate there might be, grew less vague. The knowledge to learn more about why and not how amazing wine can be is what’s keeping me going as a sommelier.

To finish, what appals most people is the fact that I don’t drink. My strong beliefs for alcohol never changed since I was a little girl, and I’m proud to say that it has never wavered. Now who says all successful sommeliers are alcoholics?

the author

Puzzled by the idea of a wine that never dies, Amanda works hard in trying to understand the definition of a good wine and loves taking on the challenge of identifying her wines, blind.

26 Readers Commented

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  1. Wee CY on September 25, 2013

    Respect. Keep it up, simplicity is a basic mean towards life happiness.
    Luv to learn from you one day.

    • Thorsten on October 3, 2013

      I like your approach. I am bringing the world of South African wines to Singapore in the form of the SA Wine Safari. You may like to follow my content. I am writing about more than just wine…- Also life here in general. Keep up the great site. Lol Thorsten

  2. Kennedy Ho on September 25, 2013

    Hi Amanda!

    I remember you from Praelum! Totally unrelated, but I warmly remember the good service i had that night. keep up the good work!

  3. Willem on September 26, 2013

    Really? You finish your post with a mention about sommeliers being alcoholics..? I think it’s damn disrespectful. I don’t really understand how you can blend in a strong belief against alcohol that never wavered, as you put it, and still sell it to other people for a living – sounds pretty hypocritical. Altogether what I certainly don’t appreciate is the idea this is taking wine to silly levels of intellectualisation and possibly snobbery.

    It’s a shame, sounds like you have a gift & a passion for it, you might as well embrace it. Feels like you will always be missing a part of appreciating the beauty of wines if you’re not drinking them you’re staying at a conceptual level, however many medals you earn.

    It does raise interesting questions about whether one needs to drink a wine to really appreciate it. You can probably already figure out my answer. I’ll probably be talking about it some day with some friends around a few glasses of wine.

    • HG of OZ on September 26, 2013

      Hi Willem

      Do lighten up please! I read Amanda’s article and found no disrespect for her peers or her elders.

      From her closing paragraph, I gather that she does not drink because of her personal belief and she should indeed be proud that she has not wavered in that belief even though she has chosen to be a sommelier!

      Being a sommelier, she could have easily given up her conviction but she didn’t, so I say kudos to Amanda for sticking to her beliefs. And kudos to Amanda for being a good sommelier even though she does not drink! After all, it is the ability to taste rather than swallow that counts!

      I feel her closing statement is simply a lighthearted jibe at herself; certainly, not a stereotypical generalised statement that sommeliers are alcoholics.

      Me thinks that you protest too much which indicates that you have the hang up, not her. See it for what it is, do not read too much into it and above all, enjoy it as a personal story.

      Regards
      HG of OZ

  4. Jonathan on September 26, 2013

    Dear Amanda,

    As happy and inspiring as I find the your journey into the world of wine, I’d like to raise an objection to your closing sentence in this article. Just because almost all sommeliers drink and swallow wine does not mean that they (the sommeliers), successful or not so successful, are all alcoholics. (The answer : They are not)

    I hope you actually do taste the wine and I assume you spit your wine during tastings so as not to get too inebriated by the alcohol. Just like I know most sommeliers do because as trained professionals in the field of alcohol service, they know all too well of the alcohol’s effects. To say that a sommelier is good because he or she gets sloshed is an insult to the men and women in this profession.

    Swallowing is merely another method to gauge another aspect of wine quality, the wine’s finish or length and the final step in experiencing everything a wine has to offer. It is this complete wine experience that we seek to share with others after all.

    Still, this was a well written article and you have shared some experiences which we wine geeks and nerds can connect and empathize. It is always fun to hear the stories of how individuals catch “the wine bug.” I hope you carry on finding even greater success with your talents and remember that a little respect for the ones that came before us can go a long way.

    I leave you with this, if wine was important enough for Jesus to create it out of water in the New Testament, it is definitely worth a little effort to swallow it.

    Please drink responsibly and if there is a question or comment that needs to be shared, please drop me a line on my Facebook page : The Wine Zen

    Yours in Admiration,

    THE WINE ZEN

  5. TXY on September 26, 2013

    Willem, I beg to differ about your statement that Amanda is being disrespectful ‘with a mention about sommeliers being alcoholics’. She has never mentioned that it was her perception, but that it is a general or commonly perceived view that successful sommeliers are more partial towards alcohol.

    She also never mentioned that she was against alcohol – her ‘strong beliefs for alcohol’ could mean that she has just put it up to herself not to drink, and committed herself to it. And if she really is against alcohol as you understand it, why would she continue to pursue wine? She was a student who scored far better in her other food and culinary modules, yet she chose to continue to study wine because she wanted to.

    One doesn’t need to like eating durians to be able to appreciate the fact that other people can enjoy durians, after all.

    • J C on September 26, 2013

      But one who does not like eating durians shouldn’t be selling durians because how can the customer be expected to confidently take a recommendation to buy from someone who is clearly doing it as a job rather than a passion. Big difference in appreciating that other people are entitled to their likes or dislikes but when you are selling there is a certain amount of persuasion involved. You can’t persuade me to do something you wouldn’t do. Because then it becomes hypocrisy.

      • HG of OZ on September 26, 2013

        OMG! Are you for real, JC?

        “Big difference in appreciating that other people are entitled to their likes or dislikes but when you are selling there is a certain amount of persuasion involved.You can’t persuade me to do something you wouldn’t do. Because then it becomes hypocrisy.” – JC

        I am truly sorry to tell you that in the real world, that’s where we all live, sellers of products do not need to like and they certainly do not need to be able to use the product they are selling. There is no hypocrisy involved in such a situation. The Art of Selling simply involves understanding the product, being able to market the product and closing the sale.

        Do lighten up people … at the end of the day, a buyer makes the decision to buy based on his/her own research, judgement and personal likes/dislikes. Only a fool does otherwise …

        This is a great personal story; read it for what it is!

        Regards
        HG of OZ

        • JC on September 27, 2013

          Are YOU for real HG?

          Firstly, you are absolutely right in your comment :

          “…in the real world, that’s where we all live, sellers of products do not need to like and they certainly do not need to be able to use the product they are selling.” – HG of OZ

          There are enough salesman in the world like how you described in this world already, people who sell without emotional content or belief because it is a job. It is this mercenary-like attitude that has given rise to the mistrust and even sometimes avoidance to sales people. Wine being a very personal experience to an individual like most foods a more humanistic approach. You don’t have to like what others like but you do have to be in the game of at least experiencing it to have a reference point to generate an opinion. Its like people who have never read the books that they choose to critique. It is a bad idea. I am sorry if you have been so jaded by this world that you have accepted common practice to be the best practice.

          Secondly, you also pointed out in your comment:

          “…at the end of the day, a buyer makes the decision to buy based on his/her own research, judgement and personal likes/dislikes. Only a fool does otherwise.” – HG of OZ

          If sommeliers are to be one of the sources of information for research, how trustworthy could they be if they do not possess the full experience of enjoying a wine. I mean would you expect a vegan or vegetarian to recommend you good Wagyu beef? How objective can that advice be if the very sensation of tasting meat repulses the seller.

          Thirdly, while Amanda’s accomplishments are indeed admirable that is not the offence here. Her last paragraph’s contains:

          “My strong beliefs for alcohol never changed since I was a little girl, and I’m proud to say that it has never wavered. Now who says all successful sommeliers are alcoholics?” – Amanda Han

          The offence I find here is lumping together alcoholics and successful sommeliers in one blanket sentence that has struck a nerve with all of us in the wine profession. I mean how would you feel if someone said,

          “Who says all good accountants are embezzlers?” or
          “Who says all good IT people are Identity thieves?” or
          “Who says that all Fortune 500 CEOs are money-grabbing, self-worshiping, financial mercenaries?” (Ok this one is debatable.)

          The point is Amanda’s last paragraph showed her ignorance and she celebrated it further with a holier-than-thou attitude about being a better person for resisting the temptation of alcohol that demonstrated a double standard. So is she saying all her customers are of weak resolve for not resisting alcohol’s siren calls like she did.

          Her tone in that last paragraph basically sends the message that it okay for me to send you, my customers, to hell in a merry way as long as you pay your bill for the bottle of sin I just had the pleasure of selling you.

          And finally if you, HG of OZ are not in the wine and spirits profession, that Amanda has intentionally or unintentionally insulted, then you have no right to tell us who are in it to “lighten up.” We are professionals and we take our jobs very seriously.

          • KhalDrogo on September 28, 2013

            As a person who has strong beliefs that i wouldn’t take alcohol as well, im very certain that people like Amanda and I strongly advocate responsible drinking among the people around us. Think about it, how often do you see a smoker tell another smoker to cut down on his smoking just because he has been smoking excessively. Having said that you are in the wine profession, shouldn’t you be at least proud that there is a sommelier out there who would make the effort to ensure responsible drinking to her customers and not simply continue to sell wine to an already tipsy customer.

            ” I mean would you expect a vegan or vegetarian to recommend you good Wagyu beef? How objective can that advice be if the very sensation of tasting meat repulses the seller.” – JC

            I think the analogy that you tried to up with is highly exaggerated. I can’t be certain if you are just judging and trying very hard to put down Amanda based on the comment she made or simply overlooked the fact that she does put the wine in her mouth, taste, before probably spitting it out. A better analogy would be a food taster, who does not swallow beef, but chew and taste the meat before spitting it out. However, a food taster would have been able to describe most of the experience that others would have just by doing that such as the texture, tenderness, taste etc.

            In an article with zero bombastic words, it doesn’t take much for one to identify what are the aspects that Amanda enjoys in being a sommelier – learning about the wide factors that influence the grapes and how she is able to explain the various process that the wine has undergone to produce the drink that her customers are sipping. What wrong is there when she is unable to undergo the full experience of appreciating wine that she is unable to share with her customers just because she does not drink said wine. Every specialist have areas where he/she excel or poor at in the trade he/she is in and if she is able to complete this ‘experience’ in other ways that she excels in, how is this hypocrisy at all?

            Amanda also mentioned that she does not drink at all and this belief has never wavered ever since she was little. Now, there are countless reasons as to why she may have such strong beliefs and to broaden your mindset a little, here are some:
            1) She does not like the taste of alcohol
            2) She does not like experiencing the effects of alcoholism (headaches, reduced concentrations etc) on her body
            3) Her body is less tolerant to alcohol as compared to others
            4) She has personal issues that she has experienced in the past
            5) Many others reasons

            She did not state as to which reasons that moulded this belief of hers, and regardless of what it is, it is of her own personal principle which she abides by. Yet, you assumed that Amanda is implying that she is selling toxic bottle to her customers and secretly having an evil laughter behind their back.

            As to her saying, “Now, who says all sommeliers are alcoholics?”. I have to say that it was a wonderful closing to her article. I can relate to how other people who are replying to you are asking you to ‘lighten up’ completely. It is definitely a play of words to make the whole article interesting. From how I see it, the term ‘alcoholics’ here is not to be taken in its literal terms and is meant to imply ‘Who says sommeliers have to drink a lot(or drink at all) to be successful’

            Lastly, I really admire the extent in which you are trying to protect the image of sommeliers. But I sincerely ask that before you put people down, get to know them personally before you rule out what kind of person they are. There are so many ways to interpret words just as I have shown you. Make the effort to ask her out, for a glass of wine maybe (though you will probably not see her glass emptied).

            🙂

          • HG of OZ on September 29, 2013

            Oh dear ,,, did I hit your nerve JC?

            And yes, I am for real … always am!

            Many thanks for agreeing with me … yes, I am “:absolutely right” in my comment; therefore by implication, you are then wrong!

            Since you did not answer my opening question, I can only conclude that you live in la la land where you are always the centre of your own attention. Your opinionated comments also tell me that you like to force your personal misinterpretations unto others and that you also like to put words into other people’s mouths (articles). Your writing has a very strong vibe of a “holier- than-thou” judgemental mentality and I sincerely hope that you do not treat your customers thus!

            Now let me use your own technique of misinterpretation, of twisting words and of incorporating inappropriate analogies on your own comments.

            1. “Wine being a very personal experience to an individual like most foods a more humanistic approach.’ – JC

            Your comments suggest to me that you apply the didactic instructional approach and I envisage that you would tell your customers that this is the only wine they should have, and no other, to pair with whatever foods they have ordered; even if the customer cannot afford that particular wine.

            2. “There are enough salesman in the world like how you described in this world already, people who sell without emotional content or belief because it is a job. You don’t have to like what others like but you do have to be in the game of at least experiencing it to have a reference point to generate an opinion” – JC

            Well JC, are you suggesting that salesmen selling women’s shoes should first squeeze their feet into slinky high heels and perhaps wear them for a week so as to get the “reference point” required before they can recommend the shoes to their customers?

            3. “If sommeliers are to be one of the sources of information for research, how trustworthy could they be if they do not possess the full experience of enjoying a wine.” – JC

            Gee, are you suggesting that a sommelier needs to drink the whole bottle of wine before he/she possesses the “full experience of enjoying” that wine”?

            4. “… while Amanda’s accomplishments are indeed admirable that is not the offence here …” – JC

            JC, are you jealous? Are you upset that a very young sommelier was asked to share her story for this blog while you were not asked to?

            Now enough of using your technique, I’m back to me now.

            1. “The offence I find here is lumping together alcoholics and successful sommeliers in one blanket sentence that has struck a nerve with all of us in the wine profession.” – JC

            Gee JC, this is your own comment so kindly leave the rest or the “all of us in the wine profession” out of it please!

            2. “The point is Amanda’s last paragraph showed her ignorance and she celebrated it further with a holier-than-thou attitude about being a better person for resisting the temptation of alcohol that demonstrated a double standard. So is she saying all her customers are of weak resolve for not resisting alcohol’s siren calls like she did.” – JC

            No JC, the point is you choose to interpret Amanda’s article in your own twisted way. And you choose to say that your “customers are of weak resolve for not resisting alcohol’s siren calls” … no one else came up with that twisted comment but you!

            Amanda’s personal choice is hers to make, not yours. And since this is her article, she is free to say that one does not need to drink to be a sommelier.

            3. “Her tone in that last paragraph basically sends the message that it okay for me to send you, my customers, to hell in a merry way as long as you pay your bill for the bottle of sin I just had the pleasure of selling you.” – JC

            No JC, again the point is you choose to interpret Amanda’s article in your own twisted way. And you choose “ to send you, my customers, to hell in a merry way as long as you pay your bill for the bottle of sin I just had the pleasure of selling you” … no one else came up with that twisted comment but you! Me thinks that you have the hang up, not her!

            4. “And finally if you, HG of OZ are not in the wine and spirits profession, that Amanda has intentionally or unintentionally insulted, then you have no right to tell us who are in it to “lighten up.” We are professionals and we take our jobs very seriously.” – JC

            Gee JC … you are certainly highly opinionated, assumptional and judgemental as usual! Again, this is your own comment so kindly leave the rest or the “all of us in the wine profession” out of it please!

            Finally, do lighten up for the sake of your customers if not for yourself or the profession!

            Regards
            HG of OZ

  6. Rakesh on September 26, 2013

    Impressive!! 🙂

  7. Grad8 on September 26, 2013

    As much as I know being a Sommelier has never been about drinking wine for personal satisfaction, it has always been a profession about tasting wine and all the technicalities of wine making, the results etc etc. You are a wine connoisseur so to speak just like an art connoisseur knows a great deal about the works of art but is not necessarily a good artist or a good consumer himself. As the profession does not necessarily include the consumption; the opposite of that is also equally true.

    Your essay needs better articulation. You may be a good sommelier, effective writing is another matter but that is my personal opinion.

    • qwerty on September 27, 2013

      Was there any point to your closing paragraph? Besides trying to belittle the author? Like you said, she doesn’t write for a living.

      Sometimes personal opinions needn’t be made public.

    • JC on September 27, 2013

      agreed.

    • JC on September 27, 2013

      I meant agreed with Grad8

  8. Keawlun Paw on September 27, 2013

    Hi, I am a sommelier, and i also not a alcoholic just because falling in love with wine. I appreciate every single sip of wine and respect for the behind story of every single wine producer. A good sommelier doesnt mean he/she need to be an alcoholic. Passion is everything. Sante~~

  9. Sarah on September 29, 2013

    I hope Amanda does understand that she is in fact, consuming alcohol when she sips (even if she spits most of it out). Having a career about consuming wine and making comments about it being immoral and suggesting that others of the same profession are “alcoholics” for consuming it, is arrogant, unprofessional, and disrespectful. I do not foresee a bright future for this one. Never smart to slam your own profession, not to mention completely misunderstand it in the first place.

    • HG of OZ on September 29, 2013

      Sarah, I now see that there are a few of you who seem to be unable to read and comprehend properly without misinterpreting the writer’s intentions and without putting your own spins into the writer’s article.

      I now also see that some may not only have a poor grasp of comprehension but are also too easily offended by self perceived insults; and the few claiming to represent all in the wine profession seem to lack a sense of humour, suffer from the jealousy syndrome or practise the tall poppy syndrome.

      1. “I hope Amanda does understand that she is in fact, consuming alcohol when she sips (even if she spits most of it out).” – Sarah.

      Let’s get this right once and for all seeing that you, Willem and JC seem to have a hang up about sommeliers needing to be drinkers if they want to be sommeliers.

      Be careful with your rigid insistence that sommeliers must be drinkers as you all can be construed as self perpetuating the silly belief that sommeliers need to be alcoholics (literal sense used here) to be successful.

      When someone says they do not drink (whether or not they are sommeliers), they mean that they do not drink alcoholic drinks when they are out socialising with friends, at birthday parties, weddings or even just at home. Tasting and swallowing a little bit of wine (inevitably) is just that … tasting and swallowing.

      It is a real pity that you, Willem and JC (and not Amanda) have put this silly notion in the forefront; and in so doing, have sullied a great personal article and done yourselves no favour.

      Amanda may not be a professional writer but this article has shown that she can write with humour, poise and style. I particularly liked her closing statement “Now who says all successful sommeliers are alcoholics?” which really encapsulates and finishes her article with finesse. Khaldrogo very aptly explains what this statement means…

      “As to her saying, “Now, who says all sommeliers are alcoholics?”. I have to say that it was a wonderful closing to her article. I can relate to how other people who are replying to you are asking you to ‘lighten up’ completely. It is definitely a play of words to make the whole article interesting. From how I see it, the term ‘alcoholics’ here is not to be taken in its literal terms and is meant to imply ‘Who says sommeliers have to drink a lot(or drink at all) to be successful’´- KHALDROGO

      Many discerning people will read the article and understand it as so. Only the select few who choose to put their own interpretations and spin for whatever hang ups they have, will refuse to understand it as so.

      2. “Having a career about consuming wine and making comments about it being immoral and suggesting that others of the same profession are “alcoholics” for consuming it, is arrogant, unprofessional, and disrespectful.” – Sarah

      Sarah, Amanda did not say that anywhere in her article. You have chosen to interpret Amanda’s article in your own twisted way, just like JC and Willem did.

      No one else came up with the above twisted comment/words but you! Your comment above reeks of the very arrogance, unprofessionalism and disrespect you speak of … me thinks that you have the hang up, not her!

      3. “I do not foresee a bright future for this one. Never smart to slam your own profession, not to mention completely misunderstand it in the first place.” – Sarah

      I see the green devil is running wild again. From your comments, I see that you are the one slamming the profession and the one misunderstanding the role of the sommelier.

      I think it’s time people appreciate the article as the great personal story it is, nothing more … nothing less.

      Wine Xin, may I suggest that you invite Sarah, Willem and JC (and any others interested from the wine profession) to write/share their personal stories? Please provide the same brief you provided to Amanda so the parameters are the same. I believe they feel that they can do a better job, so I think they should be given the opportunity to do so?

      Regards
      HG of OZ

    • KhalDrogo on September 30, 2013

      Hi sarah, if you gargle listerine in your mouth, do you consider yourself to have consumed listerine? Clearly, I’m sure Amanda knows that in the profession she is in, there will be a small margin of alcohol that will enter her system BUT she will not be able to feel the effects of alcohol with just this amount.

      “Having a career about consuming wine and making comments about it being immoral and suggesting that others of the same profession are “alcoholics” for consuming it, is arrogant, unprofessional, and disrespectful”

      I have no idea how you are interpreting this article, but I am sure you are doing it all wrong. If you haven’t, have a read on what I posted in response to JC to get a better explanation on what she meant. But at this point of time, you have already lost most of the essence in Amanda’s article – e.g. humor. And I pity you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.

      ‘ I do not foresee a bright future for this one’

      I must say, this comment of yours UTTERLY DISGUST me. How would you feel that based on just that sentence itself, i would say you are judgemental, mean, frivolous, superficial, senseless, juvenile, scatterbrained, narrow minded.

      One thing’s for sure though, you have to read more, you seem to be taking every words in an article word for word

      Never smart to criticise an article when you completely misunderstand it in the first place.

  10. HG of OZ on September 30, 2013

    Hi Wine Xin

    I am sure most people will agree that there are a few schools of thought:

    1. Those who believe that sommeliers need to be drinkers to be sommeliers.

    2. Those who believe that sommeliers do not need to be drinkers to be sommeliers.

    3. Those who are sitting on the fence, undecided.

    4. Those who couldn’t care less as long as the sommelier has the ability and can do the job.

    5. etc

    Whatever people want to believe, that’s their prerogatives to do so.

    It would indeed be a real shame if a few sour grapes are allowed to bunch up together to bully and harass those who do not share their mentality. I particularly despise bullies in any form.

    Wine Xin, your responsibility now is to ensure that these sour grapes do not spoil or taint the whole batch; and that no vulnerable grapes in the batch are adversely targeted and professionally destroyed.

    Regards
    HG of OZ

    • Wai Xin, CSW, FWS on October 1, 2013

      Dear HG of OZ,

      Thank you for the active discussion you have left on this thread. I didn’t want to partake in this discussion but since you have directed this to me… As the site owner and editor, I should paint a holistic view.

      Yes. There are as many schools of thought as there are for grapes, all valid by their own merits. You could tell we didn’t intend to, and still did not, undermine the profession. Unfortunately, this had been misread otherwise. When the comments started streaming in, Amanda and I discussed and decided we shall publish all the comments openly. That, includes those you have termed as bullying-sour-grapes. For a first time contributor, and also as a young sommelier, Amanda gracefully accepts the views people chose to frame her with. Those who know her in person, even briefly, would know better.

      The word drink can be interpreted as ingesting fluid, or also as an activity carried out like a hobby. Like what you had observed, it was meant to be the latter. This is the fun part of writing (ineffectively), we get to see what manner of intention people read our posts with.

      Amanda does her tastings, but doesn’t share the same interest of drinking as I do. She will respectfully finish a glass of wine whenever offered, so please offer her a glass if you ever meet her in person and prove that she ‘ingests.’ Like her fellow sommeliers, she’s a taster. I am the avid drinker, and I could never imagine myself being a sommelier.

      I particularly like her rhetorical ending. The closing statement wasn’t an imagination that stemmed from immaturity, but a matured observation of our societal preconceived notion of the sommelier profession. She wrote this to change people perception and prove sommeliers are not all about drinking wines for pleasure. It is a profession that calls for intensive training, hard work and determination. It is a specialist trade that I dare say comparable to engineers, bankers and lawyers. Many perceptions about the career are flawed, along with many others on this post.

      This platform was carefully built and designed to serve the local wine drinking populous with a down-to-earth approach and unsophisticated touch. If not why would I have named it “The Blabber”? As such, I respectfully decline your proposal to welcome contributions from people who do not meet my requirements.

      In real life, Amanda is a bubbly, engaging and welcoming character in our wine industry. A renown wine educator had described her having a bright future with the flair and attitude she exhibits. Indeed, her positive traits are what prompted me to invite her on-board my, otherwise monologue, project. I have no fear of her being adversely targeted and destroyed professionally, she fared better that what I have imagined.

      Amanda will be a permanent contributor for the site, we look forward to your continuous support.

      With best regards,
      Wine Xin – The Blabber

      • HG of OZ on October 1, 2013

        Hi Wine Xin

        Many thanks, I appreciate your response and I do apologise if I have put you in a spot. However, I needed to ensure that vulnerable grapes were not adversely targeted and professionally destroyed in real life.

        1. “When the comments started streaming in, Amanda and I discussed and decided we shall publish all the comments openly.’ – Wine Xin

        You and Amanda did the right thing. I commend you both for that. I would have done the same. I certainly did not mean that you should not have published them. Complimentary as well as adverse comments come with the territory and should both be published as comments and commentators have a way of sorting themselves out … eventually.

        2. “She will respectfully finish a glass of wine whenever offered, so please offer her a glass if you ever meet her in person and prove that she ‘ingests.” – Wine Xin

        Wine Xin, Amanda does not have to prove that she can drink. I think people should just respect her personal stance and let her be. So please do not encourage people to offer her wine and make her feel obligated to drink! Amanda, do heed this piece of advice … you do not need to drink to be a good sommelier; you just need to taste well (paying particular attention to individual nuances), so stay with your belief.

        3. “As such, I respectfully decline your proposal to welcome contributions from people who do not meet my requirements.” – Wine Xin

        No worries, I actually didn’t expect you to!

        4. “I have no fear of her being adversely targeted and destroyed professionally, she fared better that what I have imagined.” – Wine Xin

        Excellent!

        5. “Amanda will be a permanent contributor for the site, we look forward to your continuous support.” – Wine Xin

        Many thanks for letting me participate. I certainly look forward to reading more articles from you both. In this case, variety is the spice of life … I think you made the right decision in ditching ‘monologuism’ and you certainly did pick well!

        Best wishes to all …

        Cheers!
        HG of OZ

  11. JC on October 1, 2013

    To all the comment contributors of this post’s.

    If I have come across in my responses to Amanda’s accomplishments and talents as condescending, arrogant or even rude, I do apologize.

    It was not my intention to belittle this bright and young new Sommelier, who has found her own place in the world of wines and I believe will become one of its brightest stars in the near-future.

    For sharing my personal sense of hurt in this forum, I have been accused of being jealous, hyperbolic,even of being an insensitive wine Nazi that would shove my own choices of wines down my customers throats rather than listening to my customers and giving them what they asked.

    I see now the mistake is mine for not being able to “get the joke” that Amanda had intended in her last paragraph and actually found it offensive. I am sorry for assuming I was worthy to protect the sommelier profession from that alcoholism stereotype.

    Forgive me for being the minority.

    • CJ on October 4, 2013

      Being insincere in an apology is akin to not apologising at all. So why bother?

      Sacarsm sacarsm sacarsm….

      Sorry for hurting your alter ego!