Andrew McNamara

8/28, Master Sommelier Andrew McNamara

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Less than 15 minutes before #SommChat with @andymcnamarams see you all there

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Welcome to #SommChat everyone! Tell your friends to join us to learn from Andrew McNamara, VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage Florida @andymcnamarams!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: We’d like to introduce you to Andrew McNamara, VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage Florida @andymcnamarams! #SommChat

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: We're about ready to dive in w/questions, so shout out to Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams! Make sure to say hello so he knows you're here! #WineWednesday #SommChat

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Don't forget that EVERY tweet during this chat should include the #SommChat hashtag in order for everyone to see it!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: As we ask our Qs, you can ask Andrew your Q’s as well! He'll do his best to answer all Q’s in the order they come #SommChat

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: With so many participants lots of great Q's are asked! Even if u don’t ask 1--give a S/O 2 @keepercoll and @andymcnamarams 2 let us know u are here! #SommChat

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Let's start talking #wine with Andrew McNamara, VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage Florida @andymcnamarams #WineWednesday #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Excited to be here!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: @andymcnamarams What inspired you to become involved in working in the #wine world? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I was in the midst of a career change and took a part time job at @arthurswine in Charlotte, NC. My father @Winodad collected a great deal of wine so I had a good background to start with. The @arthurswine was a temp job in my mind. Got the bug!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams What was the toughest part in the journey to become VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage Florida?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat learning how to take lots of wine knowledge and lots of business knowledge and combine the two. That and a lot of travel. It takes time to develop relationships and see what interests you.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams would U describe the #wine mkt in #Florida both consumer and industry and how it compares to other markets U have worked in?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Florida is a retail driven wine market, where most wine is sold through grocery stores. On premise sees a lot of tourism dollars, but it is still a domestic and red wine dominated market. One would think we'd sell more white wine than we do, but red wins.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: .@andymcnamarams we heard you have attended @TEXSOM for many yrs - how many and how have you seen #Texsom change? What do you think makes this conference so special? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I lost count how many times I've presented at @TEXSOM - I believe it's either 8 or 9. It has changed in size and in scope dramatically. There are so many more seminars offered on a wide array of topics. Used 2 b that everyone would go to the same seminar...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat @TEXSOM now, you have your choice of what topics are important to you. The breadth of seminar topics has also grown dramatically - beer, wine, spirits, sake, business, chemistry, certification - it's all on the table.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm can you share your journey to become a Master #Sommelier and what advice would you give to someone working on this now @andymcnamarams ?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat My journey was relatively quick, but involved working in both a high-end retail shop where I got significant exposure to the breadth and depth of the world of wine, and @TheBreakers where I had the opportunity to learn (and serve) some of the greatest wines...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat My advice is to persevere and view it as a journey. Get great experience and focus on being a great sommelier - that's what's most important.

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: I took the Introductory Course in 2003, passed the Advanced Sommelier Examination in 2005, and the MS exam on my first attempt in 2007

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm does the #florida market identify the need for floor #Sommeliers and are there job opportunities and if so what is the best way to learn about those positions @andymcnamarams ?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat As a tourism-based economy, Florida absolutely has lots of great sommelier positions. Many restaurants all over the state have sommeliers on the floor. Best way to learn in my mind is to view the jobs board on @guildsomm or

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm any @MasterSommWW study skills you can share that are helpful for theory and blind tasting @andymcnamarams ? Do you continue to hone your skills and if so how do you do this?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat My advice for theory is that the rabbit hole doesn't have an ending - you can always go deeper. It's learning what makes each wine "tick". Blind tasting is a theory examination for your senses. You have to know why regions use the varietals and winemaking techniques...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat they use and what that means to the finished wine. The best way to learn to be a great blind taster is to practice tasting non-blind. Pro golfers don't play 18 holes all the time - they spend hours doing drills, etc. Same thing w/ blind tasting.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams you said #Florida is mainly Red wine consumer driven. With an abundance of fish, what are they pairing with fish dishes?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I find that many consumers simply want to drink what they want to drink and eat what they want to drink and many times they don't go well. That's ok. Drink what you like.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: @andymcnamarams What does a day in your work life look like as VP of Wine Development at Breakthru Beverage Florida? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat every day is different. I travel to different markets and work with our sales people quite a bit. I also develop educational training presentations for our sales force. I also do some wine dinners, consumer events and host lunches or tastings for buyers...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I do spend some time searching for new suppliers, visiting existing suppliers (and potential new ones). I spend most days out of my office (except today!), but also have a sales team that reports to me.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q Fr #Somm @andymcnamarams do U see #wine consumption increasing or decreasing in #Florida and what are the biggest age groups purchasing wine there? If not wine, what is being consumed? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat great question - wine consumption seems to be increasing, as are spirits - especially on the higher-end. People come to Florida to go on vacation, so they tend to drink both what they like and try new things. Biggest age groups are driven demographically...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat it varies from region to region in Florida as well as from season to season. I see more and more 25-35yo drinking wine, and not afraid to try new and different varietals and regions. Florida is evolving as a drinking state.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams Did U attend any breakout sessions @TEXSOM outside of your presentation that you learned a lot from & can you share big takeaways #TexSom?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I attended @EmilyPickralMS and @ccollinsms seminar on Heritage Brands. What's old is new again and there's a reason the wine brands have done as well as they have for as long as they have @TEXSOM Other takeaways - somms want to learn and are not shy about asking ?s!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm would U pls share some best practices for staff education @andymcnamarams any quick tips to help absorption of #wine information to impart to consumers?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I spend a lot of time doing staff education. Biggest thing is to keep it as simple as possible. Guests are looking for advice - the staff is the tour guide for the menu and wine list. Be curious - you can learn a ton from the back label of many wines.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams What are some of the biggest trends you have seen in the #wine world in the last year? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I'll answer about the last few as it often takes a few years for trends to make their way across the world. First, lower alcohol wines are the rage (not necessarily low-alcohol, but lower alcohol compared to previous years ie. 13.5% vs. 14.5%)...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Second is the move towards understanding the 25-35 year old age group is the first generation where many of their parents drank wine at home. It's more familiar, leading the way for a wider array of wines making their way into a broader range of store and restaurants

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm with so many people moving to #Florida from the east coast as a permanent resident, have you seen the #wine consumption change @andymcnamarams ? if not why do you think not?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat More and more people are moving to Florida in every age group and demographic. Restaurants and retail shops have had to adapt to less of a seasonality in many markets - there is no slow season anymore (!). People are drinking more wine in Florida overall - I don't...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat that the demographics have changed that. Our tourism growth still outpaces the permanent resident growth.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: @andymcnamarams you said that #florida is retail driven purchasing. Do consumers buy their high end collectible #wine there as well? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Everyday wine is bought generally (and this is a broad generalization) in grocery stores. We sell a lot of our "fine" wine to independent retails shops/ country clubs/ etc. Most grocery stores don't have the selection most collectors are looking for.

Sandy Wasserman CS @SandyWasserman: Good morning @andymcnamarams How did you get your start in #wine business and who are you mentors? Thanks #Sommchat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat some of my mentors are @VirginiaPhilip John Blazon MS, Fred Dame MS, Jay Fletcher MS, @snottysomm, Robert Balsley @arthurswine Larry O'Brien MS - too many to mention. I'm still learning every day from everyone I meet. It's a great industry for learning!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm appreciated your insight on past trends, @andymcnamarams Is there anything in the #wine world you foresee becoming a trend?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat What's old is new again. Bordeaux is coming back, Spain remains a great value, we're seeing great wines coming from "off the beaten path" countries and regions - Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Portugal to name a few. Napa cab is as popular as ever though, as is SB, Chard

Mauricio Sanchez @msanchezchef: Thoughts on Washington wine and Oregon? I love both of them but I see that here in the states Napa clearly still dominates market shares! #sommchat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat WA and OR are great regions. They are overshadowed by the history and broad reach of CA. I think the wines are fantastic and fully feel that Oregon Chardonnay and all of WA State wines are some of the best values in the world!

Mauricio Sanchez @msanchezchef: #sommchat indeed! I come form South America and Argentina Malbec is really popular...I didn’t really like Malbec until I met WA Malbec!!! Pinot Noir also great from both regions!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: welcome to #SommChat @msanchezchef and thanks for the thoughtful question

Mauricio Sanchez @msanchezchef: Thank you!!!! Great to catch up with you guys!!! #sommchat

Courtney Quinn @Path2Wine: Q. @andymcnamarams Thanks for talking on #sommchat What do you think make wine suppliers successful?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Thanks Courtney - I'm assuming you mean as it pertains to working w/ distributors. First - communication. Set realistic expectations and know what "good" looks like to you. All of that, and come work the market and tell the story of your brand(s).

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Welcome back to #SommChat @Path2Wine - great guest today in @andymcnamarams !

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams are you involved in how your company selects #wines to represent or can you speak to the process? have always wondered how #wines get on a distributors list!

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I am involved in how our company selects wines. It's relatively simple - we need 2 know we can make enough money selling the wine to balance the mindshare the it takes in our sales force/ management. Quality, quantity, clear expectations and good communication are key.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: @andymcnamarams Do you have some good advice for people who are unsure what #wines to taste if they are new to the #wine world? #SommChat

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Great question! Yes - EVERYTHING! Taste it all! The only way 2 know whether you like something is to try it. Try key varietals from key regions - Napa Cab, Cali Chard, Red & white Burgundy, Bordeaux, Chianti, etc. But you need to taste as much as you can to really know.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams When you’re not drinking #wine, what are you drinking? When you go to a resto, do you pick the wine 1st or the #food and then pair the beverage?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat my wife @EmilyPickralMS is also a Master Sommelier, and we really like to drink tiki drinks - mai tais, margarita's and daquiri's are our favorites...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I also like brown spirits - Bourbon, Scotch, Rum, Aged Tequila. I usually pick the wine first, and worry about the food 2nd, if at all. I'm not always looking for a good food and wine pairing.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @andymcnamarams What is something that you want to see from the #wine industry that is not prevalent today and same question about #Sommelier world?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat Wine Industry - truth in advertising. Wine is a business, we've just made it romantic. I want to see more education for all - novice to expert. Somm world - looking more at what a guest wants to drink rather than what the somm wants them to drink. and Business accumen.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what are some top publications and books you recommend to study for #Sommeliers @andymcnamarams

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I am on the BOD for @guildsomm so I'm biased. But I am also in my office looking the hundreds of books on my bookshelves - @JancisRobinson books, Hugh Johnson, region specific books - big fan of Clive Coates for Burgundy - @foodandwine , @WineandSpirits are great pubs.

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm wow - husband and wife MS team! just read on the feed @andymcnamarams how do you two balance that intense work and personal life?

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat I married my best friend so we are supportive of what we each need to do for our lives and careers. We try 2 travel 2gether when it makes sense, but we also take our vacations away from the wine world and love to hike. Our kids are our #1 priority and they always win...

Andrew McNamara @andymcnamarams: #sommchat We rarely argue about what we're going to drink at home or when we go out though - we have similar palates. It's fun to be in this industry with wife @EmilyPickralMS

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Time to wrap up! Hope you enjoyed this hour of #wine talk with Andrew McNamara, VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage Florida @andymcnamarams! #WineWednesday #SommChat

Courtney Quinn @Path2Wine Thank you @andymcnamarams for sharing your insights! Excellent #sommchat hosted by @keepercoll

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Thanks and always better when you are in the mix on #SommChat have a great day and rest of your week!

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: It was great to have Andrew McNamara, VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage Florida @andymcnamarams join us today for #SommChat. We hope everyone learned as much as we did! #WineWednesday

Keeper Collection @KeeperColl: Please join us in thanking Andrew McNamara, VP of Wine Development/ Master #Sommelier at Breakthru Beverage #Florida @andymcnamarams for his time #SommChat

Mauricio Sanchez @msanchezchef: #sommchat thanks Andrew. Shame I joined a bit late!