The prospect of exposing your lack of grape expertise to a sommelier (pronounced SOHM-EL-YAY) can be a frightening experience for a beginner, but Ottawa restaurants have many dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who want to make your meal the most it can be.
Jacqueline Peter - Sommelier at Trattoria Caffe Italia
Number of bottles you manage? 850 titles; total inventory of more than 5,000 bottles, ranging in price from about $25 to $2,500. Twenty-four are available by the glass ($6.50 to $18) and more will soon be available in our new enomatic machine. Focus of the restaurant's cellar? A wide range of Italians representing all the different regions; we like to work with smaller producers and have many bottles not found at LCBO. Years in hospitality industry? Over 20, concentrating on wine for 10 years Why wine? The evolution of wine and wine consumers over the last decade has really intrigued me - people of all ages and from all backgrounds are enjoying all types of wine. Wine is a lot more fun and accessible now. Current favourite sipping wine at Trattoria Caffe Italia? Pinot Nero Latinella. Easy drinking, great with or without food. Off duty, your favourite value wine ($18 or less)? Vina Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva from Chile. Your philosophy about wine? Keep an open mind and an open palate. Try different wines with different foods; don't go by the old standards. Upcoming wine trends? Dry rosés are hot for the summertime. I'm keeping an eye on some of the indigenous grapes from the southern portion of Italy; they are producing bigger wines at great value.
Vanessa Emerson - Sommelier at the ByWard Market Keg Steakhouse and host of the online wine show Grape Potential
Number of bottles you manage? 50 titles; total inventory of 700 bottles, ranging in price from about $20 to $130; 22 are available in either six- or nine-ounce pours ($6 to $16). Focus of the restaurant's cellar? A wide range to satisfy every palate with an emphasis on New World wines (Californian, Chilean and Australian). Years in hospitality industry? 14; concentrating on wine for five years. Why wine as a career? I had done everything else in the hospitality business so wine was a new facet of the industry to explore; I love that there's so much to learn and things are changing all the time. Favorite sipping wine at The Keg right now? Antinori Sangiovese Santa Christina. Off duty, your favourite value wine ($18 or less)? Aveleda Vinho Verde. Your philosophy about wine? Drink what you love and don't be afraid to try new things. Upcoming wine trends? Argentina is about to explode, just as Chile has done. I also really love the movement towards socially responsible winemaking, like eco-packaging and charitable tie-ins.
Sylvia Taylor - Sommelier at domus café
Number of bottles you manage? More than 30 titles; total inventory more than 1,000 bottles, ranging in price from $30 to $180. Eighteen are available by the glass ($6.50 to $12) Focus of the restaurant's cellar? Vintners' Quality Alliance (VQA) wines from Ontario, with an emphasis on smaller producers not available at the LCBO. Years in hospitality industry? Over 30, concentrating on wine for 12 years Why wine? I'd always had an interest and decided to learn more to help showcase Canadian wines at domus. Favorite sipping wine at domus right now? Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2006. Off duty, your favourite value wine ($18 or less)? Sparkling wine from Ontario's Thirteenth Street Winery. Your philosophy about wine? Keep it as local as possible, keep it simple and drink what you like. I have a very laid back approach as wine is meant to be enjoyed. Upcoming wine trends? Canadian sparkling wines are going to become more popular and available in the years ahead, so I'm watching out for those. Written by Paula Roy