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Did you know we have a professional sommelier/wine educator on staff here at Acquiesce? Meet the next team member in our series of staff profiles, Norma Poole!
Poole is one of the more recent additions to our staff, joining us in March of this past year.
“A first time wine tasting trip to Lodi led me to Acquiesce as a recommendation from my first stop which was another winery in Lodi. That was a life changing visit in more ways than one!”
Before joining Acquiesce earlier this year, Poole lived in nearby Napa Valley for 17 years where she made her career in the wine industry there.
“Ten of those years was spent teaching at the Napa Valley College, instructing wine tasting classes which included Sensory Evaluation of Wine, Wines of the World, Wines of California and Food and Wine Pairing. I worked at Cakebread Cellars, Cardinale/Lokoya and Cuvaison as a tasting room manager and sales over the course of those years.”
So just how did she end up in the wine industry in the first place?
“Just about 30 years ago I read a book called A Year in Provence on a plane from my hometown in upstate New York, to my new place of residence in California. The book, by Peter Mayle, was written with such humor and enthusiasm about the French love affair with food and wine, that it hooked me completely! I wanted to immerse myself into the food and wine culture! I became a serious follower of Julia Child and Alice Waters, avidly reading the weekly food and wine columns in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, scrapbooking recipes, which I still have and frequently refer to. At the same time, I began visiting wineries in Amador, Sonoma and Napa, tasting, examining and learning about how wine was made. My dear friends from New York moved to Sacramento and we made wine out of their garage, and then spent our time trying out new recipes and pairing with wines we had either made or purchased from local wineries.”
Norma notes that the turning point in her career, which at the time was in sales, occurred after meeting her husband at a restaurant in Sacramento known for their excellent gourmet French-inspired food and French wine list.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could about great food and wine pairings! Shortly after, we decided to move to the Napa Valley, where he began working as a captain and sommelier at the French Laundry and I became a student of wine, taking the exams for the advanced level of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), and studying at Napa Valley College in the Viticulture and Winery Technology School where I became an instructor for over 10 years. In the meantime, I had passed the Certificate Level for the Master Sommelier, studying under the direction of great Master Sommeliers and falling in love with French wine! Hence, my food and wine journey has ultimately and happily led me to Acquiesce, where I can fulfill my life’s love and dream, sharing the greatest hand crafted white Rhȏne wines, with which we serve our guests exquisite little food pairings.”
Poole moved to Lodi with her husband earlier this year. “We love the sense of community and the farming lifestyle. And I suppose I should mention, most importantly, that Acquiesce brought us here!”
And which Acquiesce wine is Norma’s favorite?
“Every single wine that Sue Tipton crafts is ultimately exquisite! My current love is Ingénue, a brilliant blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc, and Picpoul Blanc, showing multiple delicate layers of stone fruits, Asian spices and nuances of Amaretto liquor.”
So what are the benefits of having a sommelier on staff at Acquiesce? Not only can Poole tailor and guide a tasting for your group, she’s also a gold mine of wine knowledge and is happy to share that to improve your experience in the tasting room.
“Over the years teaching classes on how to pair food and wine, I have found that there is a great deal of anxiety and frustration associated with choosing the right wines to serve with food, especially during the holidays. Food and wine pairing is an examination of the individual components of the food as well as the wine of which I can assist our customers at Acquiesce with. I can help them learn the meaning of cause and effect of the acid, tannin, alcohol, sugar and salt in foods that can affect the overall wine that they choose. Our customers are welcome to bring their menus to the tasting room where I can sit with them and go over each item. I can then make suggestions as to which Acquiesce wine to serve with each course. I recommend an appointment to ensure the quality time that I can spend with our customers at Acquiesce, working the appointments into my regular schedule at the Acquiesce tasting room, if necessary.”
Poole believes there’s something special happening here at Acquiesce, and loves being a part of it.
“There is not enough space in this article to write all the reasons I like working at Acquiesce! To top the list: the privilege of representing the most exciting white wines on a daily basis and working for Sue Tipton. I have a deep admiration for her pioneering spirit, hard work and unfailing dedication to truly fulfill her promise to make world-class wines. Sue Tipton has created a wine tasting experience, by virtue of making unequaled white Rhȏne-style wines, that naturally makes for an amazing experience above and beyond anything that people normally get wine tasting anywhere.”
We couldn’t agree more, and think Norma is an important part of that experience. Say “hi” to her next time you stop by the tasting room, and don’t be shy about asking for her assistance and expertise!