April 10, 2019

Chatting with Somm Cristie Norman

If you are into the social media wine scene and follow all the hip and cool somms, then chances are that you know Cristie Norman. Cristie is a bikini athlete, a sommelier at the world-renowned Spago in Beverly Hills, and today is launching her Online Wine Course. One thing about Cristie is that she ain’t your daddy’s somm. She’s young, energetic, entertaining, AND knows her wine shit. I mean, working at Spago you HAVE to. Across her Instagram feed she’s opening things such as: Guigal (the LaLa wines), Domaine de la Romanée Conti, and Krug Champagne. If that doesn’t give you street cred, I don’t know what does.

The road was not always easy for Cristie. When she first got started (and even still today!), she would get responses like “Can you send your boss over to help?” or “Are you a real somm?”. There were times she cried in the cellar. She has since grown more confident and is more comfortable in her own skin. Cristie now sees herself as a sommelier/leader first, and a woman second. And she demands that others look at her the same.

Let’s talk about her current venture the Online Wine Course, which launches TODAY. Cristie wanted to help people build a foundation of knowledge when it comes to wine. In her experience, people try to taste and learn about wines sort of “ad hoc” and are missing some of the fundamental building blocks of wine, which will allow them to understand wine better and taste more effectively. Her goal with the Online Wine Course is to give them the building blocks to start with and that they can build from.

You may have seen her fun “Adulting with Alcohol” YouTube web series. Let’s call the Online Wine Course the more “adult” version of that. Minus the swearing! It’s hilarious….you should seriously check it out.

How does the Online Wine Course work? Well, it launches today! The program is $149.99 OR she has a lifetime access option for $299.99. I have a 50% off promo code (SOMMSPIRATIONS). The course is broken down into 2 modules/sections and gives you over 2 hours of solid content, including quizzes in each “mini-section” and an exam at the end. And once you pass the final exam…you get a pin!

After sitting with Cristie, it is clear that is HER BABY. She spent her own money on this (she even turned down sponsors as she wanted the content to be unbiased and all her own). She enlisted the help of a WSET educator to write all the questions. Each section/module has a learning objective. The background music (including music during the exams) was created all original for her by friend, Gosh Father. The music used is intended to keep you focused.

What’s next for Cristie? Well, she’s crossing her fingers with the Online Wine Course. So far, pre-sales have been strong. A natural progression would be to create a new “201 Level” course to follow this initial one. Perhaps something more focused on how to taste wine. Speaking of tasting wine, she’s also in talks with VineBox about creating an at-home wine tasting kit featuring wine in test tubes. Stay tuned. She’d love to stay at Spago as long as Wolfgang will have her, as that has been an incredible experience. Looking to the future, she wants to create more job opportunities for those with an MS/MW. Enrichment trips for somms, scholarships, etc. She hopes to grow the Online Wine Course and one day be a big player in the wine certification arena.

Cristie seems to be expertly clearing her own path in this industry. Is she a respected sommelier at Spago in Beverly Hills? YES. Is she also a millennial wine influence? YES. And she’s confident and unabashed in both of those roles.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you are looking to Drink Better and Up Your Wine Game, check out my latest virtual wine tasting offerings, including both public and private wine tasting events. For virtual events, my tastings feature a small-format wine tasting set sent to each attendee for a shared tasting experience. What can you expect from a Virtual Vino event? Fun, approachable, interactive, and unpretentious wine education as we share smiles and wine!
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier based out of Los Angeles, California.
She has been producing events and weddings for over 10 years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and also offers her services as a wine educator, writer, and consultant to inspire people of all ages.

Brianne completed the entire curriculum with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and traveled to London in order to receive her Diploma certificate, which is one of the most coveted and difficult wine certifications. Most recently Brianne judged at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the International Wine Challenge in London.
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As a wine blogger, I frequently accept samples for review on the blog and on my social media channels. Please contact me at brianne@briannecohen.com to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions. 

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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