On Wine. A tragedy.
Ryan Opaz

YES! Thank you! I grew up south of Napa/Sonoma and now live in Washington State surrounded by excellent wine, I got married at a winery, I spend whatever free time (and dwindling cash) that I have going to wineries, tasting rooms, wine events and have been selling wine either as a server or at the retail level for a combined 20 years approximately (for context) and one of the most discouraging things I encounter, repeatedly, is this sense of “buyers shame”.

The sole reason I am back in school, formally studying wine, is to prepare myself for taking at least a couple levels of either the CMS or WSET.

I wanted to chime in to offer the flip side …..that this “gilding of the lily” attitude with wine affects not only the consumer but those of us who are trying to help the consumer too. Let me explain……. How many times did I get asked “So, are you a Somm?” as if that, and that alone is the only thing that could qualify my knowledge of wine or how I would know to ask the right questions and make a killer suggestion. Now I’m actually inschool and the first question I get from friends and acquaintances is “So are you going to be a Somm?”


My goal in educating myself is because I LOVE WINE. I love the history, the mystery, the geography, the quirky stories of egos bruised and stroked, the magic of one grape tasting so differently depending on where it was grown, etc……

Yes, I’d like to make more money doing what I love and, sometimes, having a piece of paper saying that you paid to learn something qualifies you for a bigger payday…… but NO, I am not going to be a Somm and yes, I can still know a ton about wine without a shiny lapel pin that says so.

It is as much OUR responsibility, as people on the sales side, as it is the winemakers and “marketing geniuses” to cut it out with the “good ol’ boys” BS and really tap into how people enjoy wine and why and drop the pretense. This is my goal when I get my “credentials”….. Cheers🍷

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