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Know your Sommelier: Joben Herrera

02/10/2020 On this page find out about Joben Herrera who is a beverage geek and food nerd

I’m a Sommelier from Los Angeles, working in Hollywood’s most prestigious Pizzeria called Mozza. Being from Southern California and particularly from LA, I love keeping busy and being entertained. I’m a total beverage geek and food nerd. 

How long have you been in the drinks industry?

Been seriously studying and learning about beverages for 15 years now.

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

The pandemic has changed everything. Sommeliers in my opinion have always been some of the leaders when it comes to Hospitality. But since COVID with the whole social distance thing, it’s difficult to be as warm and welcoming. It’s very touching and goes now. 

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

Knowledge & Kindness. Knowing the beverages and in particular the wines. Telling their story which includes more than just varietal. But also the people and the place. Then also being aware of the clientele and whom you are speaking with. Some guests will love all the information but some may only need a snippet.

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

One thing that we look for that I think is very important is the season. What time of the year it is key because many of our menu items are seasonal. So we want wines that are not only perfect for that particular dish but also that time of year.

Where and what you drink when not working?

Before COVID anywhere we find great food from the West to the Eastside. And usually places where there are really cool beverage programs and a great wine list. These are usually places where our colleagues work.

Your favorite places to get happy hour deals?

When there was a happy hour, I loved Roy’s and Ruth‘s Chris in Pasadena.  

What are the new wines to taste now?

Wow, that’s a tough one! Since it’s summertime. I’m usually tasting anything that’s cold and funky. Definitely, orange wines are on that list. Plus I love bubbles so champagne is always a good idea along with Pét-Nat. Oh and lastly I would say Ciders. They are way more sophisticated than just apple soda with alcohol these days.

3rd Annual Sommeliers Choice Awards submission is now open. The wine industry is collectively looking to plan for 2021 and Sommeliers Choice Awards hopes to provide a platform to help producers and importers not just assess their wines, but crucially go on to promote them.

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