OFF THE VINE, brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, is a series of discussion panels and networking events designed to support wine professionals in the beverage industry. Each event provides education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.
How Sommeliers Have Become Ambassadors of Hospitality
Thursday, September 26th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater
The importance of service is not an unfamiliar concept to the world of Sommeliers. In fact, organizations like the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas® have long been responsible for setting a global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry. While standard service techniques and proper mise-en-place remain the same, the role of service in hospitality continues to evolve and Sommeliers are being asked to expand with it. As ambassadors of hospitality, Sommeliers must adapt to take service beyond the bottle to fit the needs of today’s customer.
So how can sommeliers stay relevant in this changing industry?
In our next Off the Vine panel, we’ll sit down with wine industry professionals Anna-Christina Cabrales (Certified Sommelier—General Manager & Wine Director of Morrell Wine Bar) and Jerry Cox (Advanced Sommelier—Sommelier at Le Coucou) to discuss how sommeliers can maximize their value in restaurants. We’ll explore the role of sommeliers as ambassadors of hospitality—both on and off the restaurant floor—and how it’s evolving with the use of social media. In addition, we’ll discuss how sommeliers are driving taste trends both in service, and as wine list curators, and the outcomes of such change—think the rise of natural wine or the stunted appearance of varietals like Pinot Grigio! Plus, they’ll share professional words of wisdom that every sommelier should know, such as the do’s and don’t(s) of service, balancing wine knowledge with guest experience, and how to provide customers with the information they can’t get from a Google search! Come with your questions—there will be an open Q&A with the panelists following the discussion, and the opportunity to network with other professionals.
Looking to break into the industry? You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you pursue your wine career.
Light refreshments will be provided.
Nikki Palladino, Certified Sommelier, ICC Wine Program Coordinator
Nikki Palladino joins her alma matter as ICC’s newest Wine Program Coordinator. Nikki began her career in publishing, earning a certificate in Books & Digital Magazine Media from NYU’s SPI Program. Thereafter, she secured a Juris Doctorate from Villanova University School of Law – clerking for a judge and working for a legal consulting firm in Manhattan.
After traveling to Napa, however, she was drawn to the vine and decided to shift her career focus to hospitality. After graduating from ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training Program, Nikki joined B&B Hospitality Group, where she worked first as a Server at La Sirena and eventually as a Sommelier, at beloved neighborhood spot, Lupa. More recently, Nikki worked as Head Sommelier at the seafood staple Oceana, in Midtown. While at Oceana, Nikki was featured in Food & Wine Magazine and was responsible for purchasing wines for the Italian portion of the List.
She is a member of Women of the Vine and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas®.
Anna-Christina Cabrales, Certified Sommelier
Beverage Director and General Manager of Morrell Wine Bar
Morrell Wine Bar Beverage Director and General Manager, Anna-Christina Cabrales brings a wealth of wine and culinary experience to her position. Growing up in a large family of chefs, Anna’s love of food and wine led her to the International Culinary Center where she received a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts and graduated from the first Intensive Sommelier Training program. Since joining Morrell in 2012, Anna-Christina has expanded the by-the-glass selection to, at one point, more than 150 wines. Her efforts have been recognized and awarded by The World of Fine Wine in 2014 naming Morrell Wine Bar’s glass list “Best by-the-glass Wine List” and the 2015 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for growing the bottle list well over 1,200 selections. Outside of work, she enjoys her time dining and enjoying wines from the regions of Champagne, Northern Rhone, Bandol and Burgundy.
Jerry Cox, Advanced Sommelier
Sommelier at Le Coucou
Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jerry graduated from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University with a degree in Marketing. After college, he spent a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying culinary arts at Gato Dumas Colegio de Gastronomía. In 2013, he moved to NYC where he began working at Colicchio & Sons. Jerry enrolled in ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program in the spring of 2014, passing the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas’ Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations upon completion of the program. After several months of travel in 2015, which included a stage at a B&B in the Loire Valley, Jerry returned to NYC in 2016. Shortly after, he began working as a Sommelier and opening member of the Le Coucou team. Since opening, the team has achieved such accolades as the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Jerry passed the CMS Advanced Sommelier Examination in July of 2019.