Woman knows her grapes

Sarah Almand takes a reservation at Indulge Wine Bar. Almand serves as the front of house manager but her title is executive sommelier. Almand created the wine list and cellar for the restaurant. Photo by Robyn Lydick
Almand manages a cellar of 30 by-the-glass bottles and more than 100 full bottles.Photo by Robyn Lydick
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Kids play at many games of what they want to be when they grow up.

Sarah Almand perhaps played school as a child, dreaming of teaching children.

Today she has a master’s degree in teaching, but teaches about wine.

She is a certified sommelier, one of very few women who have the title through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

She hopes to earn her Master Sommelier in April.

Now, only 15 women worldwide have the rank.

Almand built the wine cellar at Indulge Wine Bar, 1601, Mayberry Drive.

Her palate can tell how much or how little rain that a crop of grapes received while growing, the soils it grew in, and from which country the vineyard hails.

She’ll teach part of that system of terroir, French for soil, where produce is marked by all the factors in its growth from soil to rain.

Before Indulge, Almand served wine at Spruce and the Ritz -Carlton in San Francisco.

She moved to Colorado and spent time as a consultant with other restaurants before finding Indulge owners Delinda Romero and Peter Fatinow.

They wanted a full-time wine manager to birth their dream. Almand wanted a full-time position and this blank slate of a concept excited her.

“I built the entire cellar, and I’m loyal to small boutique wineries. I support small companies that make one thing well,” Almand said. “So many wineries, especially in Colorado, have a few rows of this, a few rows of that. They are not known for anything. Do one thing. Do it well.”

In creating the list to stock the Indulge cellar, Almand tasted 280 wines.

She culled that list down to 30 wines by the glass and a bit more than 100 by the bottle, including some half-bottles that hold two glasses worth of vino.

She spread the price points, offering 30 mines for less than $30, and paid homage to good local vineyards.

Each noon finds her ripping into boxes filled with bottles, checking invoices and flattening boxes for recycling. Not the glamour portion of her job, she admits. She keeps the wall-built cellar, encased in glass and under humidity control, full and chills the bottles that need to be colder in a two-door refrigerator also set into the wall.

No dusty basements with forgotten bottles for Almand. Wine is art at Indulge, Almand, the curator.

Almand also serves as front of house manager, securing reservations, assigning servers and balancing the work flow on the floor.

Wine is her passion, and she can talk about taste notes others cannot discern in a bottle.

But she has a teaching degree, remember?

Almand designed a series of classes about wine and wine regions for the devotee to the dummy.

Classes will detail the laws around wines and their names (champagnes come from a region in France. California makes sparkling wines) the features of the terroir, history and development of the wine industry, grapes and styles.

The lessons will start in France, through Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and off to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina and finally to United States regions.

You’ll know your Willamette from your Sonoma when you finish with this course.

For information or to enroll in the courses, contact Almand at sarah@indulgewinebar.com.