Chef & Sommelier, a premium tabletop brand of Cardinal International, has launched a new “Sip & Study” program to help sommeliers who are studying for their next level sommelier certification. With this program, a series of tasting study groups will be organized nationwide to give sommeliers an opportunity to further their knowledge in a group, peer-sharing setting.

Study groups have been a mainstay in academic circles for everything from finals to rigorous bar exams. This popular learning strategy provides a supportive atmosphere and helps students with common goals accomplish more in a shorter time period. For ambitious sommeliers, there’s the added advantage of sharing the cost of the numerous wines they must taste to develop expert palates. In the Sip & Study program, Chef & Sommelier will provide $500 toward the cost of wine and gift stemware to use throughout their studies.

Chef’s Roll and its sister network Somm’s List, together with Chef & Sommelier, invite sommeliers to apply to join one of the upcoming study groups. The first Sip & Study group made up of 10 professional sommeliers recently met in San Diego, to participate in a six in 25 style blind tasting. This program changes the daunting format of rigorous study into an exciting, educational peer opportunity.

“I love the fact that I will study the rest of my life and not ever know everything about wine,” says Tami Wong, wine director, Mess Hall, San Diego. But the wines she sampled here added to her library of taste memories. Taking home the stemware is an added bonus for participants in these study sessions.

“I love great stemware,” says J.M. Woody van Horn, GM and wine director of Bracero Cocina de Raiz in San Diego. “It’s important to showcase these great wines properly.”

“Think of this program as a scholarship,” adds Cardinal CEO/president Bryan O’Rourke. “Buying wine and providing superior stemware is like buying textbooks for these students and Cardinal is proud to contribute toward their education. We’re also pleased to be working with sommeliers more closely in glassware selection and development. Sommeliers are a very important audience for us. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for Cardinal, as we will be introducing innovative new stemware to the market.”

Fostering a spirit of camaraderie is also important. “Enjoying wine is a social event,” says Alexandre Bollengier, Cardinal VP sales and marketing. “These Sip & Study groups give sommeliers the opportunity to taste and compare notes together. It’s a win-win for all of us in the hospitality industry.”

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