State of the Industry

  • Spotlight: Stockholm

    Beer and schnapps have long been Stockholm's beverages of choice, but wine is becoming increasingly important. Sommeliers Klas Ljungquist, Erin Stockton, Totte Steneby, Anna Rönngren, Fredrik Horn, and Robert Andersson talk about the industry in their city.
    • Nov 9, 2017
  • Spotlight: Detroit

    Detroit to us who live here means Metro Detroit, inclusive of the suburbs and townships within a couple hours’ drive. Maybe it even means Michigan, considering the wine-producing culture in our state’s northwestern and southwestern reaches. As someone who’s been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, I’m always very happy to come back to what dependably feels like “the real world,” the Midwestern pulse of America.…

    • Jan 26, 2017
  • Spotlight: Mexico City

    For a long time, fine dining in Mexico City meant fancy French restaurants. Restaurateurs would import big names from Europe for bumper fees; French wines became synonymous with good (and expensive) taste. But the local dining scene is undergoing steady change. Some of Mexico City’s most exciting restaurants are its cocina de autor, eateries owned and driven by Mexican chefs who trained overseas and returned to…

    • Sep 14, 2016
  • Spotlight: Sydney

    I have fond memories of living in Sydney in 2005 and 2006. Coming from England, the city’s lifestyle was eminently appealing. Runs from Bondi to Bronte for a dip in an ocean-filled pool etched into the cliffs. Long lunches, dominated by oversized sunnies and cold glasses of Chardonnay. Leaving the office with the sun still shining for happy hour bites at a street-side cafe, often with the glinting waters of one of Sydney…

    • May 6, 2016
  • Spotlight: Los Angeles

    When I lived in Los Angeles in the late ‘90s its downtown, filled with beautiful Art Deco and Beaux Arts architecture, was a wasteland. There was very little nightlife, and the streets were ominously empty after dark. Going for drinks in the area’s dive bars was slightly risky and seldom attempted alone. By 2006, when I returned from a few years in NYC, not much had changed. The ensuing ten years, however, have ushered…

    • Jan 26, 2016
  • Spotlight: Boston

    Boston. Too old school. Too insular, too cynical. Too small-town to compete with major markets. Too, well, Bostonian.

    No one knows the blemishes of our beautiful city more than those of us who have struggled through the ranks in restaurants, retail shops and distribution channels, working with laws and gatekeepers that feel like they were put into place right after Paul Revere ran through the night to Lexington and Concord…

    • Oct 2, 2015
  • New York City's Pioneering Female Sommeliers

    Every couple of years we see a new flood of articles announcing the arrival of women sommeliers. My issue with these well intentioned pieces isn’t the effort to highlight the achievements of 50% of our planet, but that they tend to get some fundamental facts wrong and often fail to give credit to the women who were paving the way twenty years ago. Being a guy in this industry and voicing a critical opinion on the…

    • Aug 31, 2015
  • Spotlight: Miami

    Sunshine, amazing beaches, and nightclubs. That’s all anyone used to talk about when the word “Miami” was mentioned. And yes, those three things still (appropriately) draw droves of people to the southern tip of Florida… but today, you’re just as likely to hear people respond with “cocktails, cuisine and culture” as reasons for checking out our Magic City.

    As a matter of fact…

    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Spotlight: Austin

    When we came to Austin about ten years ago, the professional wine community was pretty nonexistent, at least from a standpoint of people actively pursuing education in the service industry. We were introduced to each other by Guy Stout and soon found ourselves studying together for a few years, eventually achieving our Master Sommelier pins. Along the way, we had a few join us in the pursuit, including Mark Sayre and…

    • Mar 23, 2015
  • Fortified Wine Sales, Trends and Challenges Today

    I spent three decades in F&B management, created dozens of wine lists, and taught many a beverage sales staff in hotels, casinos, restaurants and resorts, etc. My takeaway, in relation to this feature article and to what I do today? That fortified wine has always been a tough sell—no matter how prominently it’s listed on menus, featured in pairings, or aligned with desserts.

    Yes, today we might see the…

    • Jan 28, 2015
  • Spotlight: Toronto

    Toronto. To offer up a quick comparison, we’re about the same size as Chicago (actually, Toronto is slightly larger) and considered Canada’s financial center. Far from the stereotypical image of Canadians you might be expecting (eh!), Toronto—or what we like to call the “GTA” (the Greater Toronto Area)— is quite cosmopolitan, with an impressive 49% of its population hailing from outside of Canada……

    • Dec 16, 2014
  • Spotlight: New York City

    I have been lucky to work in New York for nearly ten years, and if I have learned one thing, it’s that this truly is the city that never sleeps, and that is because it is continually reinventing itself. Never resting on laurels and driven by a palpable energy, the New York wine scene is in a constant state of evolution—and it has never been better than it is right now.
    Thanks to great mentors and some exceptionally…

    • Nov 26, 2014
  • South American Wine Sales, Trends and Challenges Today

    South American wines can happily and proudly claim palpable success in the United States. A mere curiosity some 35 years ago, wines from the continent can today boast being the #3 (Argentina) and #5 (Chile) wine imports into America. It only takes a stroll down a grocery store aisle or a glance at most wine lists to see this phenomenon played out. Beyond that, interest is emerging in the sommelier community for exciting…

    • Oct 21, 2014
  • Spotlight: San Francisco Bay Area

    When I moved to the Bay Area a little over four years ago, the restaurant scene could be described as guarded, at best. The effects of the mortgage-backed securities and housing meltdowns were still reverberating. Everyone was cautious. Chefs eased back on their craft and kept things simple; sommeliers were prudent, buying what sold to maintain cash flow; guests avoided splurging and sought safety over ambition.

    How things…

    • Sep 22, 2014
  • Champagne Sales, Trends and Challenges Today

    From the point of view of an American consumer, the world of Champagne is more diverse today than ever before. While the most prominent names are still highly appreciated, the proliferation of lesser-known houses and grower estates in the marketplace has given us an incredible array of wines to choose from. More importantly, this diversity has encouraged more of us—consumers and wine professionals alike—to think of…
    • Aug 29, 2014
  • Spotlight on Hong Kong: Leading the Way in Asia

    I recently returned from my second trip in the last year to Hong Kong. This time it was combined with a visit to Shanghai, further emphasizing the dichotomy between what we think of as “The China Market" and the established scene in Hong Kong. Lumped together, Asia is the Wild West for wine—and globalization as a whole. Laws, import tariffs, distribution, prices, and quality are inconsistent, but the mindset is rapidly…

    • May 2, 2014
  • Spotlight: North Carolina's Triangle

    Come with me and you’ll be in a world of Pure Imagination. Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination. – Willy Wonka

    Twenty years ago, the Triangle wine scene had everything that I could ever possibly imagine. It’s as if I were Charlie Bucket seeing the candy and chocolate room for the first time and Wine was the great Willy Wonka. All that I started to read about wine—Bordeaux, the Rhône, Napa…

    • Apr 10, 2014
  • Spotlight: San Diego

    San Diego is the eighth-largest city in United States and the second-largest in California, yet it rarely garners a mention in the gastronomic press. The climate is pretty much perfect year-round, there is a historic walkable downtown less than a 10-minute cab ride from the airport, you're never far from a beach, a taco, an orca or a mating lemur, and you can get good seats to a visiting Giants baseball game at a fraction…

    • Nov 26, 2013
  • Spotlight: Sin City Somms

    During my time in the food and wine world in New York City, Chicago and Aspen, I always thought that Las Vegas would be the last place I would ever end up working. That's where sommeliers go to die. After moving here seven years ago, my opinion certainly has changed...either that or I am already in heaven. Now I can understand why some wine people wouldn't want to sell '82 Bordeaux and DRC on a nightly basis, but why…

    • Sep 29, 2013
  • Go Big: The Houston Sommelier Scene

    Houston has always had great wine professionals. When I first started getting into wine here people like Guy Stout MS, Paul Roberts MS and Tony McClung (Now with Copain) were already entrenched and doing exciting things. I have seen this city go from a few great wine pros to many amazing people doing exciting things. Some have come and gone but many are still here. My measure of the success of the wine industry in any…

    • Jun 27, 2013
  • "Change We Can Believe In": The DC Sommelier Scene

    "When I started my sommelier career in Washington, DC, I could count the number of exciting wine programs on one hand – and still have two fingers left. Only two restaurants employed sommeliers.  The scene was dominated by steakhouses and predictable wine lists. The dining public was dominated by politicians and lobbyists opting for the safety of the lowest common denominator. When a certain anti-business/pro…

    • Nov 5, 2012
  • Sommelier Spotlight: Seattle

    "Put simply, the Seattle sommelier scene in 2012 is as dynamic as any in the world. Local favoritism aside, when compared with the great gastronomic cities of New York or Paris or Tokyo or San Francisco (et al.), this sleepy Pacific Northwest “Big Town/Small City” features (on an entirely different scale, mind you) as fine a combination of wine service, beverage scene, food stuff access, chef talent and consumer base…

    • Sep 10, 2012
  • Sommelier Spotlight: Atlanta

    What cities across the U.S. have the most vibrant, up-and-coming wine scenes?  This time around, the Guild takes a look at the emerging scene in Atlanta through the eyes of five of the city's top sommeliers.  

    Why Atlanta?  In the words of Eric Crane, one of the city's (tireless) advocates: "Few cities in the country offer the same diversity of dining and drinking choices as Atlanta does.  While Atlanta is …

    • Jun 27, 2012