Sommeliers from around the country share their wine goals for the New Year.
As December draws to a close, most folks start reflecting on what they'd like to do differently in the New Year. Exercise regularly, cook more at home, kick the caffeine... We've all set resolutions for ourselves at one point or another. But for those whose lives revolve around wine, New Year's resolutions might have a more vinous bent, be it a wine category they'd like to add to their restaurant's list, an appellation they'd like to integrate more into their own cellars at home, a region they plan to finally visit, perfectly-aged bottles they mean to finally open, or a broader goal to keep themselves and the drinking public inspired and invigorated.
Food & Wine polled sommeliers around the country for their wine plans for 2017. Think of this list as a preview of the trends that will shape our drinking culture in the New Year. And while it suggests that obscure grapes and regions will continue to be championed, it seems even clearer that the classics will make a comeback.
Here, 17 Wine Resolutions from the country's top sommeliers:
"I plan to drink more wines from the Languedoc. It may sound a bit silly, but I've visited a few times in the last couple years and have realized that there is incredible wine being produced there that rarely gets noticed. The problem is that the region is so large and is often associated with the bulk wines that give it a bad rap. I see a lot of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan in my near future!" – Carlton McCoy, The Little Nell, Aspen
"Pay more attention to what's happening in the southern hemisphere. So much great wine is coming out of places like Australia and South Africa that are not getting enough attention." – Arvid Rosengren, Charlie Bird, NYC
"I'm definitely resolving to go through my home cellar and pull the stuff that I should be drinking now and not aging any longer. And at the restaurant, I resolve to keep trying to get new wines into the city. We're seeing more and more importers here, but it always takes a little while for some of the 'gems' to make their ways down south. We need to show support from jump street so they realize what a serious wine town New Orleans really is." – Joe Briand, Herbsaint, New Orleans
"Learn to love IPAs again. I got really tired of the over-the-top aggressive style that was really popular, but now it seems like people are dialing it back. Time for me to jump back in!" – Brahm Callahan MS, Grill 23, Boston
"Get a legit wine fridge. A box in the closet does not count." – Natalie Grindstaff, Craft Restaurants, NYC
"To source, taste, drink, and promote more Portuguese wines. Awesome native grape varieties, great terroir, made by a new crop of talented winemakers... They're not only bargains price-wise but deliciousness-wise too, and they've been underrated for too long!" – David Sawyer, Husk, Charleston
"I am resolving to help those on my team travel more and try more wines where the wines were made. You simply can't teach how special certain wines are unless you have them at the winery with the person who made them." – Andy Chabot, Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
"I'm hoping to re-orient myself with the ins and outs of domestic wine. I really want to dig in to get to know the producers and appellations in my own backyard more intimately. As far as consumption goals, I'm always looking to try more Champagne... I've heard it prevents Alzheimer's!" – Jack Mason MS, Pappas Restaurants, Houston
"I need a year of enjoying wine without constantly insta-f@*#ing those bottles. Don't get me wrong... I love how information-sharing has changed the game, and I'm reasonably active on social media. But sometimes it's a real distraction and killjoy." – Josh Nadel, NoHo Hospitality, NYC
"To reacquaint myself with the wines of Bordeaux. When I first began the sommelier journey – over 20 years ago – Bordeaux was a major cornerstone of the profession. Nowadays, the wine world is more diverse than ever before, so I tend to focus on newer, undiscovered regions. A few weeks ago, we did a Bordeaux class for the staff, and it's been on my mind ever since to get more into it on my nights off next year." – Bobby Stuckey MS, Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder
"I would like to integrate more Baltic wines. Those regions produce some awesome wines of great quality and value but that haven't hit the American market as strategically as they could. Many pair well with food and are still overlooked. I want to support them." – Rachael Lowe, Spiaggia, Chicago
"I resolve to learn how to pronounce German vineyard names correctly!" – Kathryn Coker, Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants, Santa Monica
"My resolution for 2017 is to give Australia a chance. There are a lot of great things happening in Victoria that we know about here. That just means there's a ton more going on that we don't know about yet. I'm really excited to explore a massively diverse wine region on the other side of the world." – Jonathan Ross, Eleven Madison Park, NYC (moving to Australia early 2017)
"To continue to champion under-appreciated wine grapes from around the world." – Jeff Vejr, Holdfast Dining, Portland
"To explore the connections between wine and other cultural fields by hosting a series of dinners and tastings at the restaurant. My next big thing is also tea and sake, so we will dive deep into both at Rouge. And of course, I plan on drinking more Chenin, Cantillon and Chartreuse than ever!" – Pascaline Lepeltier MS, Rouge Tomate, NYC
"I want to follow my own advice that I always give to clients, which is to step out of my comfort zone. Since I work predominantly with Italian wines, I always (naturally) gravitate to Italy. But we opened our second shop in Palo Alto two weeks ago, and I've veered over into French selections there. I've always loved the Jura/Savoie and the lesser-known native grapes, but like Picasso, you have to study the classics before you can go abstract. So, my goal is to totally geek out on 'Classic French': Burgundy, Rhone, and even Bordeaux, with some Jura in there to keep me sane." – Ceri Smith, Biondivino Wine Boutique, San Francisco
"My resolution for 2017 is to drink more outside of my comfort zone at home. For me, that means more New World wines." – Jordan Smelt, Cakes & Ale and Bread & Butterfly, Atlanta