Know Your Sommeliers: Nevin Kumar

Meet Nevin Kumar- a sommelier and cicerone who makes restaurant beverage lists shine!

Hi Nevin, tell us something about yourself

I’m both a certified Sommelier as well as a certified Cicerone, so I hold both a passion for wine and beer. As a consultant, I help build beverage lists for restaurants based on their menu and customers. I derive the most pleasure from teaching and conducting private tastings. 


How long have you been in the drinks industry?

20 years in hospitality with 15 years being focused on drinks and food pairings. 

How according to you has the role of the sommelier evolved, especially now during covid times?

Indoor dining in California never resumed so almost all sommeliers are unemployed or furloughed still. It’s hard to pour wine in 90 plus degree weather with wildfires and smoke, so almost all of the market is takeout. Social media platforms like Instagram are being utilized by out of work Somms to build relationships with both the public and others in their industry. Some are reviewing products and others posting educational material. 

What are some of the most important skills for a sommelier?

Listening to one’s guests to learn their palate to better share recommendations is paramount. After listening, comes having knowledge of trends, styles, food pairings, and manners.

What do you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business?

I look for what the guests will enjoy and for what will make the business money. Both the owners and patrons must be happy. 

Where and what you drink when not working?

I usually drink a Belgian Trappist ale or Saison with lunch. With dinner, I enjoy red or white burgundy. 

Your favorite places for happy hours?

Sushi spots can have some great happy hours. 

Your favorite nightclubs?

I’m up too early for nightclubs but I do dig on shows at the Hollywood Bowl during the summer. 

Which new wines do you suggest we should try?

I think wines from Priorat and Montsant Spain are picking up steam. Rene Barbier and his family are doing some innovative and yet still terroir-driven stuff there worth checking out. Clos Mogador, Clos Figueros, Dido, etc. If looking for a beer, here’s what I had recently.

Where do you currently work or worked at last?


What are your favorite food pairings with great values wines?

Nacho/ Wine Hack!

$10 Rioja split (2010 Alberdi 95pts) cherries, cigar, leather

$10 Smoked chicken nachos

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