Out of 170 Master Sommeliers in the world, 105 of them are in the United States. Of those, only one lives in Ohio. So for someone pursuing this coveted accreditation in a state unknown beyond the Great Lakes for its wines, what reason is there to stay? According to Chris Dillman, Ohio is exactly the place for him to carve his own market where little currently exists.
I stood 1,200 miles away from home, in a dimly lit ballroom, at a historic hotel in Walla Walla, WA, clutching two bottles of the inaugural vintage of our family’s homemade wine, which until quite recently rested safely in neutral 60-gallon French-oak barrels in my garage. I was about to pour the very first public taste of this wine, for a celebrity Master Sommelier … in front of a crowd.