Native to the SF Bay Area, Thomas has been working as a sommelier and wine director for 10 years, with a focus on the wines of California. He passed the Advanced Sommelier Exam in 2016 and after passing the Theory and Tasting of the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination, he started teaching with the San Francisco Wine School with the hope of paying it forward. He is currently preparing for the Practical portion of MS Exam, in between working, teaching, and raising his amazing son Oliver.
Anything new! It’s inspiring to engage with the people who make the wine, the food of of the region, and learn how their wine fits in context of the local traditions.
Anything to do with California or blind wine tasting. Many of our students are more familiar with Californian wine regions, promoting lively discussion about everyone’s favorites. I also love shining a light on lesser-known areas of California that offer something really special. In blind tasting classes, I particularly enjoy de-mystifying the topic; it’s not a magic trick! There are objective qualities that act as trail markers that an experienced taster can follow to the correct conclusion - once they learn how to understand them!
At my first staff training as a server at a restaurant/wine bar, the sommelier (a term I didn’t know until then) threw me in the deep end with a crash course of about a dozen German Rieslings. I remember being overwhelmed with the terminology, and being struck by the incredible differences from wine to wine. How could one kind of grape from one place have so many different expressions? To this day, I always think back fondly to that day whenever I teach about German wine.
I’ve always loved teaching, and being a part of a community that lifts each other up to their greatest potential. David Glancy, the founder of the San Francisco Wine School, was an early mentor of mine, and I felt honored to be able to participate in helping others in their own path to knowledge.
When visiting Bordeaux, my wife and I had the privilege of tasting many of the local wines with local duck-based dishes. And, of course, Sauternes with foie gras...
Putting big concepts into understandable language requires really internalizing the information, as well as an understanding how best to communicate to each student. Everyone is on their own journey, and like pairing wine with food it’s important to know how to match the presentation of information to a student’s needs.
Coming up with silly songs to sing to my son!
I’ve always felt that when it comes to real-world wine lovers, the most difficult task is finding a great wine that over-delivers for the price. A recent favorite is the Victorine de Chastenay Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé, a sparkling wine from Burgundy made entirely from Pinot Noir and aged 20 months on the lees, crafted with a seriousness that transcends its price point. Also, the Piedrasassi Rim Rock Syrah from Arroyo Grande is astonishingly expressive, and the 2015 Caraccioli Cellars Brut Cuvee remains among my favorite domestic sparkling wines.
California Syrah! Great examples from Peay, Radio-Coteau, Drew, Failla, Piedrasassi, Pax, etc provide an amazing combination of Californian lush fruit with smoky, peppery, savory tones that are just divine!
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION Learn about the physiology of taste and how to evaluate acidity, tannin, res...View Class
Program Description DEVELOP YOUR SENSES: An in-depth program to prepare for mid-level blind tas...View Class
Program Description THE ULTIMATE IN SENSORY TRAINING: An intensive program to help you advance ...View Class
Program Description Learn The Nuances of California Wine and Master the Increasingly Complex AVA ...View Class
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Did you know that the California wine region produces 81% of all US wine? Let us take you on a jo...