Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hiring a Wine Expert?

If you're having a wine party, you can hire a wine expert. But choosing one can be tricky if you don't have any idea on whom to choose. We don't want pitfalls in the future, so perhaps the following guides might help ;).

Start with asking them about their sommelier's background when you call. It can be a good measure of their knowledge.

Be flexible and honest. A good wine evening should push your guests into some unexplored territory, but shouldn't be too esoteric or technical.

If the wines aren't coming from your own cellar, make sure to ask and agree how much the sommelier can spend. Take note that when it comes to buying bottles, remember that one 750ml. bottle contains about 12 two-ounce tasting pours.

A follow-up meeting with the chef or caterer is a good idea so you could finalize menus, pairings and costs. Some sommeliers bring their own glasswares with an extra charge. If you use your own glasses, plan on at least two per person.

Provide dumping buckets. Even if people don't intend to spit, they may not want to drink every single wine.
 Sommeliers usually charge a base rate of $200-$300 per hour, with 2-hour minimum, but some may charge by the event.

Most can handle a party of 30 people on their own, but for larger groups, additional staff may be needed, which will add up the cost.