There’s a saying in the wine industry that sommeliers are the last to be hired and first to be fired. This has never been truer than in the time of coronavirus. A staggering majority of somms were furloughed, laid off or let go permanently.
Ever since businesses across the United States closed down during the growing Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants and wineries have had the lion’s share of news coverage about their tenuous fates. However, there was little to no focus on the sommelier community.
But thanks to a handful of somms and wine companies, these wine professionals are getting the attention and help they need.
On today’s episode, we talk about what’s been happening to somms since March 2020, assistance programs, what role and operational changes may be adopted permanently, how the country’s reckoning with diversity and BIPOC is being addressed by the wine community and how you can help save our somms.
• Chris Blanchard, Master Sommelier, Vine Hill Ranch Winery in Napa Valley and co-founder United Sommeliers Foundation
• Jennifer Locke, Crimson Wine Group CEO, which runs Support Our Sommeliers
• Tonya PItts, Sommelier and Wine Director at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco
• Adam Sweders, Director of Wine, DineAmic Hospitality in Chicago and WineRival creator