| 16.04.2021

Somm-antic Drift

I began working in the hospitality industry during college in 1999. The restaurant schedule worked around my college pre-med courses, and I worked my way from the host stand to the server floor to behind the bar, and eventually, to management. My first job at Char Restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi, formed the basis of my wine knowledge. Training classes and coworkers pushed me to dive into our wine lists and really learn the foundation of the wine world. Soon, a desire to start a family and focus on them instead of my studies led me to change college majors, which allowed me more hours in the restaurant.

After the birth of my daughter, instead of jumping back into the professional public relations world that I now had a degree in, I fell in love with the industry that had supported me for the past seven years. I became a full-time hospitality industry employee. I moved from Char Restaurant to Tico’s Steakhouse as a bartender where the world of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was prominent. I soon moved to Table 100 in Flowood, Mississippi, which was owned and operated by my former Char Restaurant bosses. As first a bartender and then a floor manager, I fell even more deeply in love with wine and how it was constantly changing and could transform a dinner. I sat for my Introductory Sommelier Exam with the Court of Master Sommelier in 2015 and passed.

I became wine director for Table 100 and implemented a Cruvinet by-the-glass system, wine dinners, and featured pairings. In October of 2018, I made the move to The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen in Jackson, MS. I have enjoyed the support of owners Steven O’Neill and James Beard nominee Alex Eaton. They have allowed me full control of the wine program. I carried over my wine dinners, tasting, and employee classes. While at The Manship, we have received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2019 and the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence in 2020.

Next week I will sit for my Certified Specialist of Wine exam with the Society of Wine Educators and hope to take my certified exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers when they reopen testing after the Covid-19 shutdowns. I continually look for ways to further my wine knowledge and education and share that with my guests and community in Mississippi. I am thankful to TEXSOM for giving me the opportunity to continue this education.