Tonight’s interviewee can navigate a wine list better than anyone we know. Brian McClintic is a Master Sommelier and if he looks familiar, you must be a wine lover too. He was featured in the 2013 Netflix film “Somm”, which documented four guys going through the highly revered Master Sommelier certification process. Below, Brian talks wine, travel, and what’s next for him.
Photo Cred: Jason Wise
as a master sommelier, wine is obviously your passion. when did you first know you wanted to work in the wine business?
I’m still trying to figure that one out. Wine has a way of seducing you without you really knowing it. I ended up in the rabbit hole and I just keep going.
The Master Sommelier certification process seems pretty hardcore. What was the hardest part and did you learn anything about yourself along the way?
The hardest part for me was honestly realizing our study group would never be the same once someone passed. The rest was just garden-variety masochism.
The film “Somm” followed you through the MS process. Was it annoying to have a camera in your face the whole time? Did it hurt or help you on the exam?
It helped me. The exam is very social and in the process of studying you can get in your head easily. The camera helped get me outside of myself.
We’re excited to hear that the sequel to ‘Somm’ is premiering this weekend. What can we expect to see and learn from watching ‘Into the Bottle’?
Lots. And prepare to be thirsty.
Wine and food are such an important part of travel for a lot of people these days. What is the neatest experience you’ve had a a result of your wine career?
There are few moments but the best experiences involve visiting some of your favorite producers and finding out they’re the nicest people. Makes the wine taste even better.
For people looking to include a wine experience as part of their next vacation, do you have any favorite destinations or places to stay that you recommend?
Santa Barbara. I’m biased but it’s perhaps the most underrated wine region in the country. It’s humble and rustic the way the best European wine regions are. Bien Nacido Vineyards is a can’t miss tour.
Wine is a big part of Santa Barbara culture. What makes this region distinct?
The valley runs east to west which is distinctive for the west coast. This leads to cool nights and inherently more elegant wines.
What are your favorite Red and white varietals?
Syrah is my favorite red and good old faithful Chardonnay when made well is at the top of the list for whites.
For all us regular folks who simply enjoy wine without a vast knowledge of it, what’s the easiest way to expand our horizons and try new wines?
You just said it. Trying new wines = expanding your horizons. If you are open you will learn and with wine the education is endless.
What’s in store for you next? Any new ventures?
We met up with Brian for a glass (or two) of wine in Santa Barbara recently!
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