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Sound Bites: St. Louis Sommeliers Debunk Wine Myths

Wine glasses
Slack12 via Flickr

It turns out wine may not be as highfalutin as many believe.

Wine has only been part of American culture for the last 30 years, sommelier Patricia Wamhoff said, while in Europe it’s part of everyday consumption. More people are looking at wine as a hobby, sommelier Andrey Ivanov said. “It’s very accessible nowadays.”

Credit Ashley Gieseking / Sauce Magazine
From L to R: Sommeliers Brandon Kerne, Patricia Wamhoff, Andrey Ivanov

So we put these experts to the test:

Do you look down at a $5 bottle of wine?

“Not if it’s well made, said Wamhoff, who is the beverage director at The Restaurant at The Cheshire. “I think there’s fantastic wines and champagne and sparkling wines that anyone can choose.”

What about Missouri wines?

“I’m a big fan,” Wamhoff said. She has judged wines for the Missouri Governor's Cup for 15 years.

What about bottles with screw-tops?

“Why not? Why not,” Wamhoff said. “When it is done in a correct way, when it is opened properly at the table in a correct way, there should be no reason. What is coming out of the bottle is what you want to have — a good, sound bottle of wine.”

“Corks are specifically better for wines that you intend to age for 10, 20 years. Most wines that we drink on a regular basis are not those wines,” said Ivanov, who is the wine director at Elaia, Olio and United Provisions.

Fine. But what about box wines?

“Why not?” Wamhoff said. “Again, it’s what’s in the box, the quality of what’s in there.” Wamhoff and Ivanoff said they are serving box wines in their restaurants.

Hear more about wine from the sommeliers and Sauce Magazine executive editor Ligaya Figueras.

Sound Bites is produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine.

Sauce Magazine produced a companion video piece to accompany the feature story.

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.