Rallying Chicago’s Somm Community
by Lisa Elbert, Tastemaker in Residence - Megan Swann - Wine Director Ryan Arnold of Lettuce Entertain You - Chicago, IL Wine Director Ryan Arnold of Lettuce Entertain You - Chicago, IL
Lots of people talk about community building, but Sommeliers Ryan Arnold and Steve Morgan actually did something about it. “There has been a sommelier community [in Chicago] for as long as I can remember,” says Arnold, a 2015 StarChefs Rising Star. But in 2013, he and Morgan noticed a disconnect.
“It's important to talk about our experiences in our own restaurants, post beverage job openings, and host industry events,” he says. To foster that communication, he and Morgan founded the blog, Squire Wine Co., to create an approachable forum to strengthen communication between somms. “We have a live calendar on the blog that includes all of the Chicago events that are happening each month, and we're sending an e-mail every Sunday with the coming week's events.”
Squire showcases wine regions and programs in the United States and abroad, interviews with winemakers and local somms, and stories about how travel connects different parts of the industry. “Social media is key,” Arnold says. “We want to promote new wines and dishes for our restaurants, but in a way that shares our personality and allows us to have more fun with it.”
So follow in Arnold and Morgan's footsteps, somms. What can you do to rally your community to engage and connect with wine enthusiasts across the street, and around the world?