I began in the hospitality industry bussing tables in a diner. Ten years, an English literature degree, some student loans and a few barista jobs later, I again found myself bussing tables. This time, I was on the floor of a restaurant with an award-winning wine list and a team of beverage professionals.
Eventually, I osmotically absorbed enough back-vintage Barolo, Saar riesling and obscure amari to start to "get" the whole wine and spirits thing.
I am forever indebted to the mentorship of the hospitality and beverage professionals under whom I trained and the guests who lacked the hepatic fortitude to finish the last half glass in their decanters.