Master Sommelier and Wine Director Steven McDonald, Pappas Bros Steakhouse

9/19 Master Sommelier and Wine Director Steven McDonald, Pappas Bros Steakhouse

Steven McDonald

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Welcome to #SommChat everyone! Tell your friends to join us to learn from Master #Sommelier and #Wine Director at @PappsBros Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald !

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: We’d like to introduce you to @stevenpmcdonald #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: Hi everyone! Looking forward to it! #sommchat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: We're about ready to dive in w/questions, so shout out to Master #Sommelier and #Wine Director at @PappsBros Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald to say hello & so he knows you're here! #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Let's start talking #wine with Master #Sommelier and #Wine Director Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald #WineWednesday #SommChat

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald You recently passed your final @MasterSommUS Exam and are now part of the most prestigious #wine club in the world, Can you tell us your preparation for the exam and how it felt to pass it? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat my #houston tasting group is one of the best in the country and we pushed ourselves really hard. I work 5 days a week on the floor practicing service

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @stevenpmcdonald Why do you think the Master #Sommelier @MasterSommUS exam is considered the “world’s toughest test”? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat partly because the pass rate is so low but the mental game is so intense, it is similar to high pressure performers or athletes. Hard to find your Zen

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @stevenpmcdonald how did you prepare differently than the last time you took the @MasterSommUS exam?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat this year #houston saw more somms that were working for MS tasting and that group met with more frequency and intensity. Again, make sure you trust your group and keep pushing

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how did you find your tasting group @stevenpmcdonald and did you keep the same ppl for all of your MS journey?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat several of them work for #pappasbros and a new steakhouse Mastros. The somm world is so small, we found each other quite quickly

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @stevenpmcdonald Can you describe your duties as a #Wine Director @PappasBros? What have you learned about #wine while being the #Wine Director? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat I oversee a team of 5 somms and work the floor 5 days a week. I also have to maintain the WS Grand Award and order for this mammoth list.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @stevenpmcdonald can you share your #Aligote passion and your recent song with the #SommChat Community? Why Aligote and how would you describe this grape to others wanting to learn?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat #aligote !!! the best examples live in a space between chard and SB. Planted in the best sites, with the right clones can taste like really good burg without paying too much

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how do you select for your #wine list @PappasBros is it you solely or committee and How do you choose BTG vs Bottle program your @PappasBros locations @stevenpmcdonald ?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat great question regular list placements are up to me and I'll get input from my talented team. BTG goes to committee with wine directors for all 3 steakhouses and @jamasoniii to decide so we're all the same

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@stevenpmcdonald what is the oldest Aligote you have had and how would you describe it? You should try older @DomaineLafarge Raisans Dore with #texas #BBQ - out of this world BTW #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat the best old #aligote I've had I mention in the song 1998 Pierre Morey. He used to make Leflaive... So fresh it's unreal!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @stevenpmcdonald What are a few bottles of #wine would you want to add to your personal collection if you could? Do you have a collection and if so how would you describe it?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat I actually own very few bottles. BUT, I would be stocking away #burgundy and #rhone and #barolo. There are still some I can afford and could wait an see what they all do with age.

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@stevenpmcdonald What are some of your favorite #wine and #food pairings right now @PappasBros? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat getting people to try some #cheninblanc with our lobster deviled eggs is FIRE!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm did your palate/wine tastes change in #wine you liked from the beginning of your studies for @MasterSommUS and if so how @stevenpmcdonald

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat totally. I started from a place where intensity ruled my palate and then grew to become more aware of nuance and then all the details that are important for deductive tasting. Like how I grew my ear for music

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @stevenpmcdonald Now that you are a Master #Somm, what are some of your upcoming goals in the #wine business? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat more songs!! sounds funny but #nebbiolo will drop in a couple weeks. Other than that I want to get broader and broader looks at logistics and the import side of the business. No fear, I am not going anywhere yet!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm do you plan to do songs for other varietals other than #Aligote and if so what would be your first choices @stevenpmcdonald ? How many Aligote do you have on your list?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat we have about 12 #aligote listed. #nebbiolo is going to be on fire! I got help from my fellow somm @LFThomas10 !!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: What was the first thing you did after being told you passed the #MS @MasterSommUS exam?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat give Madeleine Triffon a huge hug and then hug @ccollinsms and @mmonosoff huge hugs as well!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm @stevenpmcdonald What do you think is the most difficult part about the #blind tasting at the #MS exam? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat great question. Manage your mental noise. If you did the work and have been crushing practice flights, you have to show up on game day and perform in those 25 min. Find your Zen

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@stevenpmcdonald did @PappasBros played a role in your certification as a Master #Sommelier and if so how? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat they have immense resources and make sure that education is a high priority. They value somms and show it in their support for our journey

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what R some of the biggest differences you have seen in the #Houston #wine scene as compared to #NY wine scene @stevenpmcdonald

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat NYC was really intense also and alot of those guys and gals have passed. #houston scene is just as intense but more spread out. You have to travel more to get to group usually

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm can you share some of your top selling BTG recently and how many BTG do you keep on your list @stevenpmcdonald? does your clientele buy more BTL or BTG and why is that?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat 50 btg currently on the list. That's alot but Napa Cabernet still rules the day. People actually drink more Loire than I had anticipated. Here, there's a btl on almost every table. That's where the soms really get to shine

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @stevenpmcdonald any top #wine regions you have visited and any that are on your dream list? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat fortunately we have almost everything from everywhere but I would like to dig deeper into Piedmont and see what I could find to bring in special

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: @stevenpmcdonald any top #wine regions you have visited and any that are on your dream list? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat I need to get to South Africa and Australia! there is so much to discover!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: .@stevenpmcdonald how did you celebrate with your family upon returning from the @MasterSommUS announcement - do the kids understand what it means to have passed? #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat they kind of do. They are 3 and 7 yrs old. They woke me up the morning after I came home screaming and jumping up and down. My wife and I had a little bubbles

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how long did it take you to pass @MasterSommUS and did anything change at work after you passed @stevenpmcdonald

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat this was my 6th attempt. Work got a WHOLE lot busier. Everyone wanted to celebrate and talk. Talk about IN THE WEEDS... all #worthit!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how has your #houston #wine consumer changed if at all in the last 5 years @PappasBros @stevenpmcdonald ?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat great question! There's a younger crowd (#Millenials ) that are exploring some classic regions.. finally!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what inventory system do you use for such a large wine list and how often do you do inventory? How many ppl help in the process @stevenpmcdonald

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #sommchat every 4 weeks. It takes 6 of us 12 hours! we use Eatec

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm - how do you intend to keep up with #wine studies post pass of exam @stevenpmcdonald Any pearls of wisdom on theory study

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat theory study is all about elbow grease and diversifying your sources. I need to keep reading all the current and most relevant book and articles. Now the real work has begun!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how do you deal with the dance of reps wanting to meet - any help for someone newer to that process @stevenpmcdonald want them to show me what i want not what they want to sell me ?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat definitely always be polite and organized. You need to expect the same from them. Know how to say no and be honest in what you're looking for. BE organized and professional always

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how many #English bubbles do you have on your list and what has been you experience with selling to customer @stevenpmcdonald

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat just 2 skus. It's afun category to explore. We love our #bubbles here, so the somms have no trouble giving that experience to a curious guest

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm how many on your #wine team and how often you taste with your team , i.e. education/ training you use @stevenpmcdonald ?

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat 5 full time somms just for us at Galleria and another 4 full time downtown. We taste at least once a week and have somm education once a month. Not including the server education once a month

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm - now that you have more time available with less requirements to prepare for exam, how have you filled that time @stevenpmcdonald sleep,family, ???

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat both! Aside from working on songs I promised my lovely wife a 'thank you' trip anywhere. We're going to spa it up!

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Q fr #SommChat #Somm what is your process @pappabros if a #somm Opens a bottle and thinks it is flawed - is there a second opinion or how is that told to customer if opened at table @stevenpmcdonald

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat great question. We don't usually need a second opinion. If one of our somms thinks it's off we tell the guest and fetch another bottle. Our systems are in place to deal with corked btls. And it's all about getting the guest the right wine

KeeperCollection @KeeperColl: Time to wrap up! Hope you enjoyed this hour of #wine talk with Master #Sommelier and #Wine Director at @PappsBros Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald #WineWednesday #SommChat

Steven McDonald @stevenpmcdonald: #SommChat It's been a wonderful time! Thanks @keepercoll for the opportunity to talk wine and #pappasbros and MS journey. See all y'all in the restaurant soon! Have a great day!