Gomer’s Wine Tasting
By Brad Lucht
Wine can be intimidating. Red, whites, dry, sweet; how can you tell the difference?
Fortunately Michael Querrey, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), at Gomer’s Fine Wine and Spirits can help.
Each Saturday Querrey (rhymes with “worry”) hosts a wine tasting from noon to 3 p.m. Five wines are usually sampled, along with a “Mystery” wine. Cheese is provided for nibbling and baguette slices are served to help cleanse the palette.
Querrey has been interested in wine for a long time.
“I grew up in a family that appreciated wine…I’m half Italian!” he exclaimed.
Look. Sniff. Taste.
It took Querrey a year and a half of study to prepare for the certification test.
“The test is specifically about wine, not growing, pruning, disease or fungus of the grapes,” explains Querrey.
“This is merlot. This is cabernet. This is chardonnay. This is pinot. This is…what have you. It is identifying the look, smell and taste of grapes. Some of them are unmistakable, fairly easy, some are very complex and difficult.”
Querrey learned the wine business in Chicago while working for Sam’s Wine and Spirits. “I started in customer service. Once I passed the CSW I was on the wine floor; everyone on the floor had that. That kind of what separated us from all the other wine shops.”
He then moved on to work as a representative for three small distributors who had pooled their resources. “They were mom & pop distributors, working out of their home. I called on wine shops and restaurants.”
In April of 2010 a friend came calling.
“Rick Ghilardi, a guy that I had known for years, needed someone he knew and could trust to help run the bar at a restaurant he had purchased, what is now the Grand Street Café,” explained Querrey. “I was looking for a change, plus I had a brother and sister that both lived in Kansas City.”
Querrey worked as the assistant general manager for two years, handling the bar and dealing with the vendors. A visit to his sister brought yet another change.
Finding a Home at Gomer’s
“My sister lives down the street from Gomer’s Lenexa,” Querrey remembered. “I went in one day and started talking to the owner. He said ‘I could use a wine guy.’ He hadn’t had one for a few years, then he hired me.”
Querrey has been with Gomer’s South for 18 months now. His goals of the Saturday wine tasting are as follows:
“One, I want to introduce people to wines, grapes and blends that they may not know.
“Two, I want to show people that wine is accessible; it is not a purview of the wealthy intelligentsia. Ever since antiquity people have been drinking wine; every day people drink wine from all over the world.
“Three, everyone’s palate is different. There are no wines you should automatically like. When you find wines you like, take them home and enjoy them; that is all that is necessary.
“Four, make it a weekly community event. Thirty to forty people drop by from noon to 3 p.m. each Saturday. Regulars have been coming for years; people discover us and return on a regular basis. [Tasting] allows you to sample before you buy, and then take it home and you won’t be disappointed.”
Frank Biersmith, general manager of Gomer’s South for nine years, adds, “We’ve had the Saturday wine tasting on and off for at least 20 years, but we’ve had it consistently since I have been here.”
Longtime regular customer Buren Crawford has been coming to the wine tastings since 1990, when he first moved here. “It gives me an opportunity to taste different wines and determine what I might like to buy in the future,” said Crawford, as he enjoyed a 2013 Waterstone Merlot.
Lauren Hodgson has been a rep for Classique Wines for 3 1/2 years. She recently was in Italy for eight days, visiting seven different family-run vineyards.
“I really liked Emilia-Romagna. It was amazing to look down on the walled towns. Ask any Italian for the best food, and they’ll tell you Emilia-Romanga,” Hodgson reminisced.
Hodgson also recommends the vineyards of Roccafiore. “Their two whites are amazing; their reds are even better!”
On this Saturday customers were drawn to several of her offerings including Perelada Reserve Brut Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain, a 2013 Waterstone Merlot out of Napa Valley, and a 2013 Field Stone Cabernet Sauvignon out of Sonoma County.
Querrey offers this final thought, “Make Saturday a fun day!”
Gomer’s has six locations in the metro area, all independently owned. Gomer’s South is located at 9902 Holmes Rd., Kansas City MO. They are open seven days a week.