Kate More is a Level 2 Sommelier and a Sales Representative for Charton Hobbs, a Canadian distributor of premium spirits, wine and beer, namely the Luis Vuitton – Moët Hennessy portfolio. Her role is to represent and sell a wide range of international wines and premium spirits to fine dining restaurants and bars.
What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
Roll out of bed around 7:30 a.m. carefully, as to not clunk myself in the head with the bottle of wine I fell asleep next to…just kidding. Not all Sommeliers are drunks. Usually I drink a big cup of coffee with my dog on my lap and read stuff online. I like to check out the Living section in the major dailies and see what’s making news in the food and drink world. Next I go through my emails and make sure I’m up to date with everything I need for that day’s appointments—which wines I need for tastings, what I need to pick up at the LCBO and generally just review what was discussed at the last meeting I had with each account. I have accounts at about 65 restaurants across the city, and by accounts I really mean relationships with the people that work at and own each establishment. Every spot has unique needs and qualities – it can feel like dating 65 different people at once! But in an absolutely wonderful (and not exhausting) way.
After that I get ready, throw my notebook, tasting sheets and iPad into my briefcase and get into my car for the day around 10 a.m. On any given day, I might have five to ten different accounts to visit in the morning. Usually I start with a Consignment wine tasting at a fine-dining restaurant to help the Sommelier rebuild his wine list, with perhaps some Cakebread Cellars, St. Francis, Sequoia Grove or Benziger Family Winery wines. After, I’ll grab a coffee and squeeze in an hour of study time between meetings– I’m still finishing up the final leg of my Sommelier Diploma at the International Sommelier Guild. The whole program is about two years to finish, but the learning NEVER ends!
Next I drop into a bar to brainstorm with the mixologist to come up with some yummy Hennessy or Belvedere drinks for their upcoming cocktail list. Following that I have lunch with a client to plan a scotch tasting for his company party, and I’ll piggyback that lunch with an impromptu sit-down with the owner at the restaurant – the Australian winelist was impressive, so I chat with her about some upcoming Jim Barry Wines Vintages Releases she might love. Next I stop into the LCBO to purchase a case of Moët & Chandon Champagne for a promotional event later that night, The afternoon meetings start with a meeting at one of my hotel accounts to discuss with the Sommelier and the chef which Perrin et Fils wines to use for an upcoming French-inspired banquet. If I have an hour to kill I’ll pay a visit to a nearby account to shoot the breeze with a bartender friend, try the No. 3 Gin Negroni he just created and answer emails at the bar. My last meeting is around 4 p.m. and is usually the longest one – this meeting involves the whole Charton Hobbs portfolio and starts with reviewing that accounts back bar spirits, we revise the wine and cocktail lists, plan for sponsored events and discuss designs for branded pieces for the bar – I call that the whole shebang! Last stop is an after-work party at another restaurant – Moët Imperial is sponsoring an exclusive event there so it’s my job to make sure the bar is stocked with the proper flutes, the DJ is in place and the place is looking sharp. And when people arrive it’s time to drink!
I head home around 7:30 p.m. to open up a cookbook with my boyfriend, make a mess in the kitchen, listen to records and enjoy a glass of great wine. That’s how I unwind after a day out in the city.
But who knows, if the weather’s nice – I’m ready to get on my bike after dinner and cruise around to my favourite spots at night! I genuinely love to sit at bars and talk to bartenders about what they’re pouring, but then, that’s not work, just play.
What was your first job out of school?
After grad school, I was always working a few at once. Back then, I was a server at The Drake Hotel, an Account Coordinator for a PR agency in Yorkville and a freelance Food and Drink writer for City Bites Magazine.
What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?
Genuine passion for wine, spirits and culinary culture. Chameleon confidence – you will work with many different people, in many different environments with many different brands, you have to be able to adjust! And last, humility – people put their heart and soul into producing a wine or creating a restaurant, and it’s important to always appreciate that and really just provide great service.
What do you love most about your career?
The people. My ever-growing network of quirky, passionate, fascinating, hilarious, frustrating, esoteric, complicated, eccentric, and fabulous drinking buddies in and outside of this industry is priceless. A close-second would be the stories they all tell after a bottle of wine.
Do you have any warnings?
Don’t drink the wine just because you’re pouring it or tasting it. Swirl, swish and spit when you’re on the job. It’s hard to make an alcohol sales pitch when you’re slurring.
If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to host a morning show.