As I work my way through the day, filling beer, researching wines, dusting and cleaning, I am addressed in many ways…
“Excuse me, are you the wine connoisseur?”
“Is the Sommelier here today?”
“There’s my Wine Girl!”
“Hey, Wine Lady!”
“Alright, Jen, let’s fill up a four pack.”
“Oh! Good! You’re here; you never steer me wrong.”
That last one has always been my favorite. Someone, whom I quite honestly may not recognize, recognizes me, is relieved by this and has confidence in my choices. Moreover, they’ve made good, long lasting memories while drinking something I’ve recommended.
Over the last 9 years I have earned many titles both personal and professional, including Wife, Homeowner, Mother, Certified Sommelier and, just recently, was voted Detroit’s Best Sommelier by Hour Magazine. Many of you have been through all of this with me.
I was invited to attend some of the country’s most revered courses like Oregon Pinot Noir Camp and Alexander Valley Cabernet Academy; sat and tasted with Master Sommeliers, drank pints with Master Brewers, and sipped some of the world’s rarest whiskies. My work – heck, my life – is fun and exciting and I hope that when you’ve read my blog in the past, you’ve always felt like my guest, sitting at a table draped with white linens, or standing next to me aside a giant oak barrel.
The reason for my reflection is that after almost ten years I am moving on from Nino Salvaggio’s. My family and I are moving up north to start a new chapter in our lives. This time in my life is bittersweet. I love my job. Unlike many in the service industry, when I come to work, people are excited to see me; they want to share experiences with me. I am a problem solver, a counselor, and an educator. I take your information, process it, and come to an intoxicating conclusion. Bridal Shower? Mother-In-Law wine? Boss coming to dinner? Tuesday night pizza wine? I’ve answered all of these questions with an enthusiastic determination to ensure your life event, big or small, goes off without a hitch.
Sometimes I feel like I ask too many questions… Is it for you or a gift? Do you want to stay under $20, under $15, or under $10? What are you eating that night? What kind of sauce will the food have? All of these questions lead me to the right answer for you. And though I can’t be at the dinner table with you, as I hand over a bottle, a little piece of me goes with it. I can’t tell you the kind of pride I feel when someone walks up and says the wine I chose for them was a huge hit!
One of my favorite experiences was with a very wine savvy couple that was having an in-home “Pop Up” dinner at which I was asked to speak. I was feeling nervous about the wine I chose to pair with the final course when the hostess took a bite, then a sip, and exclaimed “Oh Jen! This is delicious.” You don’t get that kind of rewarding experience being an accountant… except maybe during tax season.
Making people happy is what I do and I will miss the day to day contact with my customers. I wish I could name all of you that have become more than customers to me and my family. Though you come to Nino’s for the finest produce, meats, groceries and customer service, you in turn have become my counselors, educators, problem solvers. Thank you for all of the kind words over the years, thank you for reading my blog, thank you for trusting me, thank you for making me the best Sommelier I can be. I will truly miss and will always love my Nino’s.