Associated Press: Taking wine as gift shouldn’t be a chore

It’s a look wine shop clerks know well. That overwhelmed, glassy-eyed stare that afflicts people as they wade through aisle after aisle of wine in search of the right bottle to bring to a party.

But arming yourself with a little advice and doing a bit of planning can make it easy to break out of the wine shop stupor and get the right wine for the right event for the right price.

Step 1: Relax. It’s just wine. And most shops are jammed with great $10 bottles, so it’s hard to make an awful choice.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Inquirer: Sommeliers: A rare vintage

At the five-year-old Wine School of Philadelphia, located in Fairmount, 60 students are taking sommelier courses, even though director Keith Wallace decries the profession as “the worst position on the face of the earth. At most places, they’re glorified restaurant managers, talked down to and condescended to.”

Beverage managers, responsible for all libations served, make “marginal income,” between $30,000 and $40,000 after long hours, Wallace says, “at the very top, you can make $60,000 to $80,000,” but the hours are punishing. “The wine industry itself is an amazing place to work,” Wallace says. He directs students to industry positions, advertising for a large wine company, importing, running portfolios for distributors all offering the possibility of better pay, travel, nights and weekends off. (Contrary to assumptions, there are import and distribution jobs in Pennsylvania, but only one buyer.)

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