Sommeliers’ dilemma: return to floor or new career?

As America’s restaurants fully reopen, sommeliers who lost jobs are now making critical career choices. Roger Morris has asked around in the US.

Sommelier Jason Wagner in the Union Square Cafe cellar
Sommelier Jason Wagner in the Union Square Cafe cellar

Highly trained restaurant sommeliers have long viewed their natural performance stage as being “on the floor,” shuttling between wine cellars that often cradle thousands of rare and expensive bottles of wine and the dining room customers ready to drink them, often on the somm’s personal recommendation. But in March 2020, that stage came crashing down, and their careers were either put on hold or ended altogether.

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