By Heather Salsman
There are people who enjoy wine, and then there are trained and knowledgeable wine professionals, called sommeliers. From tastings to pairings, Dina Bohn from Whittier, California knows it all. Find out how she became one of Lafayette’s finest sommeliers, and give her a visit on your next outing for great Italian food!
Where are you currently working and what is your title there?
Bohn: General Manager of Marcello’s Wine Market Café Lafayette, LA
What interested you in becoming a sommelier?
Bohn: Working in the restaurant industry for so many years and trying so many different wines, my interest peaked when I discovered that the same type of wine could be so different depending on where it is grown.
While working for Gene Todaro at Marcello’s, I realized that the customers were becoming more wine savvy and with the wide selection that Marcello’s offers, I had to up my game.
Describe your process of becoming a certified sommelier:
Bohn: Studying for a sommelier test includes blind tasting, theory and service. I studied mornings and evenings and bought a lot of wine books for theory. I studied wine labels while stocking wine and with the help of many wine reps and co-workers; I studied blind tasting and service.
I passed level 1 (pre-requisite to certified) in 2015 and became a Certified Sommelier in 2016. I was selected for the advanced course in June 2018, and currently studying to sit the advanced exam in 2019. My ambition is to be invited to sit for Master Sommelier in the next 6-8 years.
Are there any clubs, groups or organizations that you belong to?
Bohn: Guild of Sommeliers and of course, the Court of Masters Sommeliers.
Name a few of your favorite wines/champagnes or what region you find yourself drawn to:
Bohn: That is like trying to pick a favorite child. My favorite wines are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone, Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne from the Aÿ region, and Muscadet-Sevre et Maine from the Loire…I could keep going…
What “pro tip” would you give someone who is interested in drinking or learning about wine/Champagne?
Bohn: When trying wine or Champagne/sparkling wine, taste the same varietal but from two different regions or countries side by side. For example, Pinot Noir from the USA and France or Pinot Noir from Sonoma, California and Willamette, Oregon. It will help to show the differences in the wine due to climate and terroir.