{ #WCW }: Sommelier Cristie Norman :: Wine Professional, YouTuber, & NPC Bikini Athlete!

It is no secret I love instagram! By being more social on social media, it has really started a ton of friendships.

Enter Cristie Norman.

If you’ve stalked my ‘sup it’s shannon page {aka my about which I hope you’ve done!!}, you’ll know that I am a Certified Sommelier, hence the name Champagne at Shannon’s. You can read my 2015 two-part interview on champagne here & here!

I spent the early part of my career studying wine, working in restaurants, taking tests… you get it. I no longer work in the industry but the wine world is something I have a MAJOR love & respect for – always will.

On instagram when the sliders first were introduced, I’d use them to post recipes & wine pairings! Check them out here, here, here, here  { ps should i bring these slider recipes back?! } To promote each post, I always use related hashtags – especially wine. I try really hard to engage with anyone engaging in my pictures – likes, comments, you name it. It always piques my interest whenever I see somm in the instagram handle… & Through that, I met Cristie.

I was actually sitting with Erik as I was scrolling through her profile & I even told him: I freaking LOVE this girl.

She is also a certified sommelier {& testing for her advanced!} & I really loved her fun approach to wine – she makes it relatable & fun while still appreciating the story each glass tells. I also love her insta-wine tips – they are spot on & a really cool way to use instagram as a somm – check them out here. I had to give her a follow. We instantly connected & just really vibed with each other.

As I’ve gotten to know her, she really blew me away with her professionalism, knowledge & passion.

I hope you enjoy meeting Cristie as much as I did!!

Now without further ado-

Meet sommelier, Cristie Norman!!

Introduce yourself & let’s talk your somm journey!

Hi everybody! My name is Cristie Norman, I’m a certified sommelier working in Beverly Hills and creator of the YouTube show “Adulting With Alcohol”.

I was a food runner at a steakhouse and realized that if I ever wanted to become a waiter, I needed to learn about wine. I was twenty-years old at the time, I studied for months and passed level one a couple weeks after I turned twenty-one.  I took the next level six months later and passed. I’m now working at Spago in Beverly Hills under the guidance of Phillip Dunn and Rina Bussell, studying for the next level.

What is your favourite part of being a sommelier?

My favorite part about being a somm is showing people new styles of wine that they’ve never heard of, or had a bad experience with in the past and converting them into a huge fan.

You also model part time! How do you balance both working as a sommelier, studying for your tests & modeling gigs!

I’m definitely not a model! Way too short at 5’2”! I did do an NPC bikini show, which is the lowest level of women’s bodybuilding, though.

I lost a lot of weight (about 80 pounds) in the past few years and doing one of those shows was always something I wanted to do. Working out and studying are just a part of my everyday life now.

It was difficult at first, but just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth, you just start to forget about it being a chore. It’s just something you do. {<<< love this! It was very hard for me to balance in the gym when I worked in hospitality so mad respect}

What are some of your goals?

Short term, I’d like to become an Advanced Sommelier {<<< for those unfamiliar, this is a VERY challenging test & the last one before master, which you may be familiar with from documentaries like SOMM} and finish a few more seasons of Adulting With Alcohol. The show is a combination of wine education and humor. I was always searching for dynamic wine videos, that kept me interested as a millennial, but still explained concepts thoroughly. I realized the person who could make that happen was actually me.

Favourite books?

Pride and Prejudice and Zraly’s Windows on the World, which is my favorite book for wine-beginners! {<<< this was my first wine book too when I started in 2007! That & The Wine Bible!}

What are some of your fitness / diet tips?

Never punish yourself with more exercise to justify drinking more. If I have an extra couple glasses of wine, I never go to the gym and do extra time on the treadmill the next day. {<<< love love love}

Exercise should always be something positive and something that makes you feel better, so I always encourage people to disassociate occasional indulgence and fitness.

OK & biggest Style / Beauty Secret? Spill!

Black never gets stained from wine. HA! No seriously, I always wear black to tastings cause I am ridiculously clumsy.

I also use regular mascara as the first coat, then waterproof on top of it so it’s easy to get off at the end of the night, but won’t smear on my face when I’m crying cause the brunello was so good. {<<< #TRUTH}

What are some of your favourite wines & why?

That fluxuates hourly, but right now I’d say the ‘99 Ciacci piccolomini d’aragona Brunello di Montalcino. Why? Because it made me start dancing. Barolo is on my radar right now too.

One of my favourite things to talk about:  go-to pairings?!

Champagne and mornings. {<<<!!!} Chablis and pizza. Sweet Riesling and spicy food.

When you’re not drinking wine, what are you drinking?

Probably some kind of whisky. Nikka Japanese whisky is ridiculously good {<<< ONE OF MY FAVES}. Dalmore. Ardbeg. Knob Creek. It never upsets my stomach!

& finally: what is your advice for anyone wanting to become a sommelier or to enter the world of wine as a career?

I would say start reading a lot; not only about wine, but hospitality and service. Sommelier means “butler” in French, after all. Also remember that the guests come first and they are always right, even when they’re oh-so-very wrong.

I’d tell them to never be afraid of pronouncing things wrong and not to drink too much on the job. You gotta learn to love working in a cold cellar and moving boxes all day long.

And never, ever, EVER make anyone feel stupid for not understanding the fundamentals of beverage. Be an approachable resource for others and sometimes the BEST answer is “I don’t know”.

Follow Cristie

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:: Some of my favourite wine books ::


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