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Know your Sommeliers: Catherine Morel

05/10/2020 On this page find about your sommelier Catherin Morel

Restaurant lifer (my college degree is a BA in Latin so not a lot of real-world use for that) Passed my CMS Advanced Exam back in 2011- Have been working on passing the MS- Currently Lead Sommelier at 71Above Restaurant in DTLA

How long have you been in the drinks industry?

Been in the restaurant industry 20+ years- been focused on wine/beverage for the last 12+

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

On the restaurant side, we have plans in place for how we are going to be handling wine service once indoor dining can restart-  on the non-restaurant side, the somm/wine community is incredible-  the amount of support (educational/financial/emotional/professional) that has been happening is just so wonderful. I have had positions before where I only had sommelier duties but in my current position, I have multiple roles & responsibilities in addition to the wine program. I think that is going to be more the norm going forward as the restaurant industry recovers from the past few months- 

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

Obviously in-depth wine knowledge but also the ability to communicate with the guests without 'teaching' or being overbearing- honest, genuine hospitality is such a necessity. The ability to work hard & adapt at a moments notice-

Catherine Morel at 71Above

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

We have a very well rounded list so at this point I more looking for interesting wines to use in our tasting menus or anything new/exciting 

Where and what you drink when not working?

Lots of Gin (The Botanist & Monkey 47) and high-acid white wines are my go-to.

Your favorite nightclubs?

Lol-  maybe back in my younger days but at this point, I really like getting home well before the sun comes back up.

What are the new wines to taste now?

There is so much new stuff on the market these days- tons of new portfolios & small, independent importers- b/c of this we are seeing lots of new wine from small producers from around the world- I would say- go to a good, local wine store & have them suggest something out of your usual go-to's- expand your horizons!

Your current place of work / Last place of work 

71Above Restaurant

As the Lead Sommelier, I get to share my knowledge about wine with our customers. I love making someone’s night special by introducing new wines that they’ve never tried before--it’s a great experience to see someone fall in love with new wine.

Picture source 71 Above facebook.

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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