After 28 years of thinking about taking a wine class I finally acted on it about four years ago. I attended monthly classes for 2 years through Total Wine and More and thanks to a great teacher what a learning experience it was. I’ve got a growing collection of wines going and completed wine certification [WSET] programs available through local universities and hospitality programs. A hobby became a career. Certification led to a job as a Wine Steward for a national grocery store chain. This, in turn, led to my job as a local Specialty Buyer [beer and wine] for Whole Foods Market. Who knew I would have such a calling.

2013-2019: [Update]

Oh what a ride. Continued wine studies and certifications led me to become a Specialty Associate Team Leader in 2016 followed in 2017 by becoming the local Amazon/Whole Foods Specialty Team Leader. In this role I now oversee not only the wine department but also beer, cheese, coffee juice and coffee bar and the approximate 17 team members that it takes to run such an operation.

Check out the previous updates below in chronological order.

For ad’l info “about me”check out blog entry:

April 2012 – UPDATE:

I have completed my Wine & Spirit Education Trust Wine Certification Level I. Upward and onward! Next up WSET Level II.

May 2012 – UPDATE II;

I have a new career!

June 2012 – UPDATE III:

I am honored to have been chosen by community blogger site WalkedThru to be their Wine Walker through my blog Whine and Cheers for Wine.


July 2012 – UPDATE IV:

Spreading my wine gospel – I’ve been asked to come on board as a contributor to Bargain Wine Time, a web-site specializing on economically priced wines along with wine tid-bits for all.

October 2012 – UPDATE V:

I have been assigned the position of Interim Winn-Dixie Liquor Store Manager/Director for a self standing liquor store in Miramar Florida adding spirits to my repertoire.  Responsibilities include; sales, purchasing, receiving and my favorite; dealing directly with customers about spirits, wine and beer.

April 2013 – UPDATE VI:

Whole Foods Market here I come! I have been offered and accepted the position of Specialty Beverage Buyer for Beer and Wine.  Careful what you wish for!  Check it out here.


52 responses »

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! This is terrific. You have some great notes and I look forward to reading more. If you’re looking for more certification – I took courses with the International Sommelier Guild. Not sure if they have any classes around you. I liked that it was classroom based and pretty rigorous. Best of luck and keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for the ISG advice and visit to my blog, much appreciated. Unfortunately no local classes planned but I am working with the WSET [Wine Spirits Education Trust] through a local culinary university. Presently between Level 1 and 2 out of 3. So much to learn! 🙂

  2. Ernest, I’ve nominated you for Kreativ-Blogger Award on my blog 🙂 Also, I noticed, you have a comment from Natalie MacLean! That’s awesome! I love her books.

    • How is the stewarding going? Good question! One month into it and I am really enjoying working with the public and the wines themselves. I am learning to deal with the different distributors. Fortunately/unfortunately I am technically managing a department of one [me] so I am left to my own devices. The flip side of this is that I could use some procedural guidance from the powers that be as I learn my job, its responsibilities etc. The good news is that sales are up 35% since I started and the wine dept was expanded. Thank you so much for checking in with me, it is greatly appreciated!

  3. Our Total Wine and More store just reopened after taking over the entire space of an empty Borders Books store. It is a huge space. We went to the grand opening a few weeks ago, and it is fabulous! We can walk to it, it is so close. It also has the most amazing selection of beer which my husband greatly appreciates and my sons when they come and visit.

    • Big fan of theirs here. When it comes to selection they cannot be beat. Luckily the store I work for is 2nd to them in selection in our community 🙂 Keep an eye out for Total’s wine classes; very informative and fun.

  4. Nice to here someone taking so much from the classes at Total Wine. I teach the class at our Goodyear store in Arizona and I’m glad to here that they are so well received elsewhere also. Thanks for liking my most recent article about blind tasting. Cheers!

      • Having been in a different phase of retailing for most of life, I understand the concept of needing self control. You will find that the urge will taper off after the “need” part is fulfilled.
        Enjoy it to the fullest.

  5. Pingback: Calling All Wine Ninjas « The Food and Wine Hedonist

  6. Thank you very much for liking my post on sulfites and wine: greatly appreciated.
    And congrats on a very nice blog and of course content, and also for going through the certification process to be a wine steward! Much like in your case, In the years past, before moving back to the U.S., I have gone through all three levels and final exam to become a certified sommellier with the Italian Sommelier Association, which is the Italian representative of the WSA (World Sommellier Association), and the whole experience has been a blast – you learn so much and they really teach you a culture of professionalism and appreciation for (good) wine and the wine world.
    Well, thanks again – I will be following your blog!
    Take care

  7. Hello!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the like!

    The whole wine thing is new to me. I am trying to get into it a little, but on a limited budget I do not want to make many costly mistakes. Add onto that the fact many wines I have tried that were recommended by others left a rather bad taste in my mouth – pun intended.

    I also am interested in the purported health benefits of red wines and finding some good reds without sulfites to take full advantage of those benefits without drinking something that tastes like I am licking asphalt.

    • Hello Shawn thank you for your visit and comment. Yes it’s true. picking the right wine isn’t always easy and it can also be expensive. If you have nearby stores or restaurants that offer wine tastings this may be the best way for you to go. Low cost or some are even free and you get to taste many wines prior to buying them. Of course the adventure of finding one on your own can also be exciting. Here’s hoping there is more wine than whine in your future!
      Best regards.

      Those are some beautiful photos you recently posted!

    • Thank you for the visit and great comments! Think of you often and your love of vino too. Yes the last couple of years have been quite a ride and the adventures continue. Here’s hoping to be cheering with you soon!

  8. I found your blog via The Winegetter and decided to check it out. I simply enjoy trying new wines and visiting wineries when I can. How wonderful for you to have found your calling! I think I will follow you blog and perhaps learn from you. Cheers and best of luck!

  9. Thank you for “liking” my post. I’ve taken a quick tour of your blog. Having just moved back from Italy, I am definitely in need of a voice of wisdom to direct me to good (and affordable) wines available here in the U.S. It looks like I may have found just the right place. I look forward to reading more!

  10. Truly a remarkable website. Power packed full of knowledge and artwork. The pleasure was all mine.
    Visit my website, I would love to do business with such a well rounded individual such as yourself with an extraordinary wine background!
    -Adam Mizrahy

  11. This is the blog I was looking for! I have just started studying and drinking wine recently and I got a certificate of WSET level 1 a few months ago and I am going to study for WSET level 2 and higher. My knowledge about wine is still very limited and your posts must help to improve my knowledge. Thank you!

  12. “Right place at the right time” The Martini family and story is one for the books, I am very jealous that you were able to experience this, but of course, so happy for you that you did! Regardless of how my career winds through this world, the Gallo family and its brands that they bring to the table will always be special to my heart, and we appreciate your passion and support every day!

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